BFA swaps Montsho for Mphoeng
Botswana Football Association (BFA) influential brains have replaced Susan Montsho with another influential woman in sports, Tshepho Mphoeng.
The decision, according to sources was arrived at last Friday in a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting which was also the last assembly of the association this year. The substitution was not a forced change contrary to some beliefs, but rather a voluntary move as Montsho is now relocating to Japan due to family commitments. ‘Suzie’ as Montsho is normally called, won the intensely contested football elections in August; defeating Tapapiwa Gaebolae with 33 votes to 22 for additional membership.
The official letter confirming the ‘amicable’ parting of ways of the two was expected to have reached Montsho’s desk by Monday or latest by Tuesday. Vice President, Segolame Ramothwa was tasked with typing the goodbye letter. Montsho’s shoes will be filled by the competent and experienced Mphoeng who has also served the football association in the past.
Although Mphoeng was far from the picture in replacing Montsho, the change was a tactical one of ‘woman for woman’ so that the issues concerning women in sport, which Montsho was already dealing with would be carried over to Mphoeng. The hope is that the baton exchange will be done with ease. The expectations were that the BFA would have opted for incumbency and appoint Gaebolae who lost to Montsho at Tlotlo Conference Centre. However, information from Lekidi emphasizes that ‘experience counts’ and Mphoeng seemed as the best alternative in the available list of options as she held the same position in the past.
Apart from the experience possessed by Mphoeng, the reshuffling of the National Executive Committee (NEC) is expected to pay dividends and help in the development of the game. Montsho, though dedicated, was still regarded as an opposition member who would block any progress in the cabinet as she is one of the only two who stood for elections under the fallen Tebogo Sebego’s corner.
Mphoeng who is regarded to be non partisan is expected to pull to the same direction with other horses in the NEC. She is expected to fill the vacancy with immediate effect. BFA is expected to meet again next year to finalise pending issues including the suspension of premier league accountant, Osenogile Mpiwa, Bennet Mamelodi and brainstorm the 2017 calendar of events.
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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer
The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.
“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”
Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.
“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”
HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?
By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.
Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.
“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”
“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”