Ditshupo, Mambo battle headline BPL awards
Rollers skipper, Maano Ditshupo
While the beMobile Premier League crown is question, with official winners Township Rollers uncertain due to Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ protests over Ofentse Nato, individual accolades will not be in doubt at the ceremony.
It is expected that the outstanding performers of the football season will be rewarded by the sponsor.
The attention-grabbing, and perhaps most sought after award will be the Player of the Season award which three players – Rollers captain, Maano Ditshupo; Olekantse Mambo of Orapa United; and Chiefs captain, Lesego Galenamotlhale – as nominees.
Despite the trio enjoying a good season, observers seem to put their money on either Mambo or Ditshupo. The two will re-ignite a rivalry previously witnessed at the GICC last Thursday when they fought for the Mascom Top 8 Player of the Tournament. Ditshupo took it home then.
Aboutreika as the Rollers skipper is affectionately known has played 29 of the premiership games. He anchored the Rollers first eleven together with his partner, Lawrence Majawa.
Besides, he has been one of the hard-working and consistent midfielders in the league who helped Rollers in their quest to win the league trophy. His ability to score goals from the middle of the park ultimately winning some Man of the Match awards are demonstration that he deserves recognition.
On the other hand, the towering Mambo born defender has played 28 premier league games this season eventually making the central defence position his own.
He managed to grab some Man of the Match awards on numerous occasions, especially against Rollers in Itekeng and Gaborone United. He also became one of the few players to be bestowed with player of the month recognition.
This outstanding performance even attracted national team selection. His presence alongside Thabang Mosige saw the Ostriches conceding only 17 goals making them the least conceding team in the league.
MARK’S TACTICS VS MIKE’S SHRINKING SQUAD
This category has pitted the top three gaffers in the Premier League. The three coaches will fight for the coveted price of P25 000.
Madinda Ndlovu, having led Orapa United to position three after winning 17 games, drawing nine and losing four does not make his record any better than of his predecessor Maxwell Moyo.
Although he made the league marathon interesting by maintaining the pressure on pace setters Rollers, it should be noted that towards the end of the season, Orapa United was not the same team that started the season in August.
They lost at home against Gilport Lions – It was the first loss to a premier league side in two years. This was followed by a loss to Township Rollers in the penultimate game.
Township Rollers English coach, Mark Harrison despite entering the local football scene as a closed book – without any league honor, he went on to feed the doubting Thomases a humble pie.
Under his mentorship Popa Popa registered 70 points to make him a champion coach. They won 24 games and his technical prowess could not be underestimated as he managed to overcome tough opponents like Centre Chiefs and Orapa United. His team list consistency and giving young blood a chance was another plus for the Briton gaffer.
Mike Sithole efforts at Chiefs cannot be ignored. The Zambian mentor had a tumultuous time this season when he had to race with a very thin squad that could not be trusted to defend the league.
However he defied the odds and fought until the last match. His team almost took home after a temporary docking of points against Township Rollers.
A small squad in comparison to his counterparts puts him at an advantage because his ability to switch players also paid dividends. When Arnold Mampori was injured he called on Galenamotlhale to destroy in the middle and bring stability in the team eventually lifting the trophy.
ROBERT’S SUPERIOR CLEAN SHEET RECORD
The trio of Kabelo Dambe, Mosimanegape Robert and the youthful Anthony Gouws will be tussling to claim the best goalkeeper accolade which attracts a P10 000 prize money.
Here statistics favor the reigning Mascom Top 8 goalkeeper of the tournament, Robert. He conceded only 17 and managed about seven clean sheets this season. Robert’s command in the 18yard box has made him one of the respected goal minders this season; a factor that saw him being selected for the national team.
Rollers goalie, Dambe conceded 22 goals this season. The number of goals conceded and the fact that he had an experienced defense could irk the assessors much more so he is also the number one national team keeper.
However it should be noted that he produced some critical saves during the course of the season. Some were the difference between Rollers winning and losing match.
Dambe’s main undoing has been poor communication and failure to deal with crosses.
As for Kanye born Gouws, it was just a motivation to the young man. He has conceded 33 goals which saw his team make it to the top eight with 44 points. In the first stanza he never enjoyed game time until Philani Mabhena took over the dressing room control and anointed him his number one.
Other interesting categories will is the Young player of the season award which has Gilport Lions winger, Kabelano Mooketsane; Orapa United striker, Thabang Sesinyi; and Rollers defender Kaone Vanderwesthuizen, as nominees. The winner pockets P10 000.
Referee of the season will see Joshua Bondo, Lekgotla Johannes and Tirelo Mositwane vying for the P15 000 prize money; while the trio of Oamogetse Godisamang, Bakwena Simankalele and Moemedi Monakwane will tussle for the P15 000 of assistant referee award.
Other categories like player’s player of the season and supporters’ player of the season winners will be announced on the day.
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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.”