After enduring a pitiable 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 which saw him omitted from the 4x400m relay team representing Botswana at the ongoing IAAF World Relays in Bahamas, Nigel Amos is expected to jet off to the United States of America anytime from now to kickstart preparations for the 2017 World Championships slated for August in London.
The nomadic runner was previously based in South Africa under the tutelage of Jan Verster, but later came back home to be mentored by Mogomotsi Otsetswe before a short stint in Kenya. According to sources, Amos could have long made the journey to Uncle Sam after penning a new deal with his personal sponsors, Nike, after the Rio Olympics, but the then Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) leadership blocked the move.
It is said the argument by then was that the 800m runner should polish his running talents in one of the African countries renowned for crafting long distance athletes, precisely Ethiopia, however he later went to Kenya to ready for the World Championships. The new BAA committee led by Mooketsi Thari is aiming to clean the mess left by their predecessors and has already started the process – they are adamant that Nigel should go to America. Further they don’t want any flaws that will rub Nike, which is also the technical sponsor of the association, the wrong way. In America the runner will be under the guidance of one of the highly rated coaches, who according to BAA, will ensure that the runner notches his maiden medal at the World Champs.
At the time of going to press, BAA Sport Development Officer (SDO) Gable Garenamotse, was yet to meet with the runner to discuss the nitty gritty of the deal, “I’m still awaiting him,” he said and added, “We will talk about the trip and obviously understand his challenges and how we can assist especially on the build up to the World Championships.”
The World champ medal has eluded the runner on two occasions; he was injured in 2013 when he was only 19 years old and had expected to continue his fairytale following that historic night in 2012. In 2015, Amos stumbled at the semi-finals, a development that left many commentators reading complacency on the athlete’s part. However, Amos who is occupying position nine in the all time leading times of 800m after clocking 1:41:73 at the 2012 London Olympics hopes to notch the medal at the his lucky hunting ground in August.
But will USA really Amos?
The prospect of Nigel relocating to America has nonetheless divided opinions as some believe it is the right development move while others want him to remain in Botswana. America, renowned for producing exceptional sprinters is seen as a perfect springboard for the athlete in his ambition. “I believe America is okay for the boy, the country is coming up well in 800m because they have for long time dominated the sprints so they want to widen their capacity. So the boy will reap more by going there,” Coach Justice Dipeba said.
However there is another belief that the runner should remain home if he wants to achieve better, “as his best performance was when he trained in Botswana. Ever since moving outside he’s been a shadow of himself,” said an administrator who cannot be named. The worry that engulfs many is that the athlete could be destructed by other things hence he may never recover on the field of play.
The relocation to America is expected to help the athlete compete in all the IAAF Diamond League meets for this year. The last time Amos took part in the league was in 2014 when his superlative performance saw him set records and he also put a genuine challenge against the 800m race king, David Rudisha in Monaco. The first meet of the season will be in Doha, Qatar on the 15th of next month and it will end in Brussels, Belgium on the 1st of September.
GC International meets next weekend
Meanwhile the eagerly awaited Gaborone International Meet is on next weekend. The Meet which is still in the process of being turned into a Diamond League meet has attracted top athletes from various countries and as the preparations suggest, it will be an event not to be missed. All the athletes that are representing this country in Bahamas will take part with an interesting contest between Karabo Sibanda/ Baboloki Thebe and Amantle Montsho/ Lydia Jele expected. Entrance to the event will be P50 and with top athletes continue to honor the meet. The national stadium is likely to see a capacity crowd.
The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.
Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.
This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.
According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.
In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.
It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.
In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.
Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.
“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.
When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.
To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.
Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.
But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’
Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.
The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.
The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.
The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.
The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.
The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out. The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.
The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele. In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.
“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system. The stadium will therefore be out of bounds when contracted companies begin their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.
The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.
The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.
Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.
The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.
This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.
“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.
The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.
Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.
Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.
However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.
Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.
Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.
All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.
Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.
Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.
The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.
Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.
Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.