3 locals, 8 teams!
The BTC Premiership is off to a great start albeit teams are still struggling to knit strings of consecutive wins. But the greatest debate, which has now become precarious, is that the league is dominated by foreign coaches as compared to indigenous gaffers.
The problem is more pronounced in the Top 8 tournament (2015/2016 season log) which was launched this week, and kicks off next month. Only three teams in the top 8 are mentored by locals. David Bright remains the only local to out master the foreign gaffers when his star was still bright at Gaborone United.
British born Mark Harrison; Zimbabwean, Mike Sithole; another Zimbabwean, Madinda Ndlovu; and Argentinean, Rudolph Zapata, are in charge of the first four teams in the league. It is not a new trend but the number of local coaches is now at its lowest since the inception of the league in 1978.
In the Top 8 competition, that begins next month, none of the fixtures will pit teams coached by locals against each other.
BDF XI, nicknamed Matebele, appointed former player, Louis Setshwane as coach early this year – a decision that some pundits say relayed a positive message.
“We thought that Setshwane, having studied and helped previous coaches including Beston Chambesi was the right candidate,’’ BDF XI said through a press release.
Police XI has stuck to locals for a while: “Police XI followers have been calling for a local coach. It was a great opportunity for Letlaamoreng to take up the reins. He is bright and has a good insight about our football. He has done well so far after a difficult start, he is settled and can only get better,” said club chairman, Solomon Mantswe at the time Police XI coach, Maitumelo Junior Letlaamoreng was appointed.
A top 8 fixture that would have featured all-local coaches would have been Mochudi Centre Chiefs Versus Jwaneng Galaxy had the duo promoted their assistant coaches to senior positions when the slots became vacant at the end of last season. As it is, on the top 8 bracket, Madinda Ndlovu of Orapa United will once again battle with Russia Chaba of Miscellaneous. Chaba has masterminded his team’s qualification to the prestigious tournament for the first time since its promotion to the elite league.
In recent history, no local coach has won the premiership title, but the Mascom top 8 tournament has been won by a local born coach, Major David Bright with Gaborone United. He was later sacked after failing dismally in the CAF Confederation stages after been booted out by Super Sport United of South Africa.
Matshidiso Kowa, a former football administrator at BFA – also an inductee in the sports hall of fame – says the lack of faith in home-grown coaches has to change if the country’s football is to progress.
“I think we as clubs have to have more belief in our local coaches,” he said.
“Train them well and then have patience when we give them the hard task of coaching their national clubs, because the coach will know the players, the culture and it can be an advantage. It is hard work, though.”
“Coaches like Bright, Stanley Tshosane, Chico Nare can do very well, even if it is tricky at some point,’’ he said.
Next week, Chaba, Letlaamoreng and Setshwane will be battling to replicate Bright’s success in the top 8 cup. However, they also have a high mountain to climb to end a long mediocre record of the elite league. The top 4 sides that have won cups and tournaments have all done so with foreign coaches. GU, the 2009 league Championship under Mike Sithole is yet to manage a notable success under a local coach and have even sacked a local coach to bring in a foreign one. Both Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs have won league titles inter changeably in the last 5 seasons with foreign coaches. Chico Nare formerly with BMC FC once took the side to top 4 finish and deservingly won coach of the season award. It was a glimmer of hope to local coaches.
However, local coaches are still hoping to alter the status quo but more often than not, are seen to be fighting relegation quagmire at the end of every season.
Foreign coaches in elite league
Mark Harrison- Rollers
Madinda Ndlovu-Orapa United
Mike Sithole-Jwaneng Galaxy
Rudolph Zapata-Gaborone United
Drago Stanalojvic -Sankoyo Bush Bucks
Farasai Madivenga- Gilport Lions
Maxwell Moyo- Mahalapye Hotspurs
Dean Mwinde-Nico United
Chico Nare-Extension Gunners
Junior Letlaamoreng- Police XI
Louis Setshwane-BDF XI
Thaloba Nthaga- Security Systems
Chips Kootswele-Green Lovers
Rapelang Tsatsilebe-Black Forest
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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.”