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BAA blocks Thebe

Burgeoning egos within the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) have cost sprint sensation, Baboloki Thebe an opportunity to train in Spain. The athlete’s envisaged move to Spain collapsed at the last minute after negotiators failed to engage BAA in the process, WeekendSport has learnt.


This publication has learnt that various countries/universities have been keeping tabs on the runner since rising to stardom in 2014 with anticipation of signing him. His custodians, Orapa Athletics Club, agreed a deal with International scouts, Agon Sport International in January this year who promised to offer Thebe a scholarship at Universidad Catolica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM) in Spain.


Documents seen by this publication show how Agon Sport in a letter dated January 2016 was willing to offer Thebe a scholarship to pursue a four year degree course of his choice, with a coach, physiotherapist, dietician and all other necessary elements included in the deal. His mentor was to be Llorenc Solbes Ponsoda who is also mentoring Onkabetse Nkobolo. Thebe, it was also negotiated, would have an experienced personal manager, Monica Pont Chafer who was to be paid 15% commission in all the events he would compete in. The manager, according to the letters, had already negotiated the runner an endorsement deal with Adidas.


The agreement however collapsed after BAA sent a delegation to Thebe’s parents to block the move as they were not involved on the deal. “Spain is one of the entrances in Europe for human trafficking; hence we couldn’t allow the athlete to go there when we know nothing about the whole process. We went there to ask the parents if they also knew anything but they were clueless.

 

We were only engaged last minute when the negotiators (Orapa Athletics Club) asked for help for flight tickets and Visa application and learnt that things have been happening behind our back and that’s when we went to see the parents,” said BAA Sport Development Officer, Gable Garenamotse. The visit to Thebe’s parents, according to Garenamotse was to inform them that if they allowed the sprinter to go to Spain, BAA should not be liable to anything that could happen to the runner there.


Kenneth Kikwe of Orapa Club, who is regarded as one of the antagonists of the current administration, is accused of negotiating the deal without including his principals, something tantamount to insubordination according to athletics top echelons. “But that’s a nonstarter because we sent Nkobolo to Spain using the same formula,” he said. BAA further argues that they froze the move after learning from Nkobolo’s ordeal which they say has also proven to backfire. The Moroka born Nkobolo is expected to resume his Physical Education studies at the same UCAM.  


 “Take Nkobolo’s deal for instance he is unlikely to go back because the centre now wants 930 Euros (P13,020) per month or P156,240  for a year and the club (Orapa) wants BAA to foot that, how can we do so while we are bankrupt. So after learning from Nkobolo’s move we calculated the moves and don’t want to fall in the same trap again,” Garenamotse said before departing to Angola on Tuesday.


For his part Kikwe has played down the money issue saying BAA just needs to offer Nkobolo a flight ticket. “No there is nothing like that this two just need a flight ticket that’s all.” Kikwe maintained that Spain has a lot of opportunity and advantages for the runners than in Botswana or Africa.


“You see this runner is on another level he needs the right mentoring and other supporting staff that will help him to grow, like physiotherapists, dieticians of which they are not accessible here. That move was to turn his life around because again there are lot of competitions there which he could compete in and make money through unlike here,” Kikwe posited.


Thebe who completed his knee surgery in Italy recently will be under the care of coach Mogomotsi Otsetswe and will only go to foreign countries if BAA strikes a deal for him or they are taken through the negotiations. The Ramonaka born runner will also miss the AUSC games in Angola as he is still healing from the surgery.

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Sport

Rakgare addresses BFA presidential candidates

21st September 2020
Minister Tumiso Rakgare

Amid the confusion surrounding the date of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, met with three presidential candidates on Thursday morning to discuss a plethora of problems bedevilling the domestic game.

The candidates are Maclean Letshwiti, the current President, Tebogo Sebego, the firm challenger of the BFA throne, together with Ookeditse Malesu who enters the race for the first time in his sporting career. There were other two unnamed officials who are said to be representatives from the sport ministry.

The Sport minister is said to have adopted a hard-nosed approach to register his disappointment and worry that the uncertainty of the upcoming elections have injured the administration of the local game.

Highly placed sources at the Sport ministry say that the minister’s ‘no gloves barred’ approach comes at the behest of the BFA’s constant negative headlines regarding their leadership style as of going into the elections.

It is said that Rakgare was also worried that the current administration is keeping the other two camps in the dark regarding the planning and processes bordering on election issues. This, he said has led to unnecessary speculations and back biting that is not needed to lift the game at a time when it is on its knees.

He was to rattle a few feathers at one incident when he called all the three leaders of the game to put their houses in order. As if that was not enough, the minister called on the three lobby groups to desist from serving personal interests but put focus on developing the game.

Interestingly, sources point out that the minister was livid but urged both Letshwiti and Sebego groups to refrain from tarnishing the good image of the ministry. This, he said in response to wide ranging allegations that he is taking sides as campaigns are ongoing.

The Sebego group accuses him of de campaigning Sebego and having a soft spot for Team Letshwiti while the same Letshwiti group is saying the same thing about the minister as having taking curious interest in Sebego camp.

The minister is alleged to have told the leaders that if they do not change their leadership style of protecting those looting public funds, his ministry would intervene even if it means attracting the wrath of FIFA, which is known for its notorious sanctions when countries do not toe the line. He urges BFA to be accountable at all the times they will cut the annual subventions that goes to them, sources claim.

This is not for the first time that the BFA was lectured on good governance. At one incident in 2015, former Minster of Sport Thapelo Olopeng dressed down the then Tebogo Sebego leadership regarding good governance.

BFA was at the time closely monitored by the ministry. Instead of the usual transactions that normally go through BFA, national team players received their allowances straight from government in the form of cheques. To demonstrate that government has taken a firm stand against BFA, players’ allowances were no longer routed through the association.

Nobody from the said meeting will address this publication enquiry all indicating that the consultation is never meant for public consumption.

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Sport

Virtual meet for BFA elections

21st September 2020
Malesu

If everything goes according to plan, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual general assembly next month through a virtual conference.

There has been much uncertainty as to how and when the congress will be held seeing as how COVID-19 protocols remain stringent on gatherings.

Sources speaking with this publication say the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association has agreed to hold the congress within COVID-19 zones, consequently dispelling all the lingering doubts surrounding the life and soul of the assembly.

As it stands, there are nine COVID -19 zones in Botswana. The association is therefore contemplating to rely within four zones where live streaming will take centre stage for the first time in the history of BFA elections.

The congress was first billed for August 8th but was postponed to August 22nd. However, the second date could not see the light of the day as the country recorded a second rise of coronavirus cases that promptly led to greater Gaborone going into yet another lockdown.
BFA President: Letshwiti
The association has been procrastinating over the virtual congress idea with the election agenda remaining a sticky issue. Many advices came flooding that the association is free to make any decision about the congress but should be very careful not to compromise the integrity of the vote.

Sources indicate to this paper that the association is likely to rely on four COVID-19 zones, namely Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Palapye. The need to plant the meeting on virtual technologies hinges on the fact that the COVID -19 health protocols do not permit people to cross zones to hold meetings.

Information gleaned from various sources is that the association is looking to rely on four zones primarily because of the limited number of personnel under the electoral board. There are five members consisting of this committee and by the look of things; the association will not be allowed to outsource more election overseers at the eleventh hour.  Sources argue that the whole cautious exercise is meant to avoid complaints that may arise after elections are held.

The virtual meeting comes after many failed attempts by the association to convince the Kereng Masupu led Task Force to give out a special dispensation.  On many occasions, the Task Force refused to allow for the assembly to go on saying “football is not a priority.”

The assembly is expected to be held next month but the exact date still remains a subject of speculation. In the end, Tebogo Sebego will stand again for the second time to unseat Maclean Letshwiti while Ookeditse Malesu is standing for the first time to try and wrestle for BFA power.

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.

The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.

Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.

The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.

The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.

“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.

In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.

He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.

When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.

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