GU may sack suspended trio
Gaborone United is reportedly bracing for a potential gruesome off-the-field battle with three players suspended three months back for undermining new coach, Rudolph Zapata.
As it stands, the three players, Ntesang ‘ Mirror’ Simanyana, Gaopatwe ‘Shoes’ Seosenyeng and Kgololo Kgogobi are still on suspension and unbeknown to them, are skating on thin ice as they may be dropped. The trio was suspended just a few days after the arrival of Moyagoleele’s new Argentinean coach Zapata. Media reports have described the new coach as ‘hard nut to crack’.
According to sources inside the troubled Gaborone outfit, the mentioned players felt Zapata’s training methods were outside football philosophy and totally not performance based. It is said, Mirror was told to tone down his body mass before thinking of breaking into the playing squad. United‘s inner sources say that players were taken to run up Kgale hill to build stamina-a move that the team management could not deny nor confirm.
However, the players’ contracts are set to expire soon, and by the look of things, The Reds have no desire to open talks with them. Seosenyeng who has been the captain of the team prior to this ordeal, is said to be in the wanted list of at least two premier league teams. Reports say Jwaneng based outfit FC Galaxy and Mochudi Center Chiefs are in a sprinter race for his signature. Seosenyeng was recently called to the senior national team camp before the axe fell on him when the final 23 men were picked.
When reached for clarity, the team’s Publicity Secretary, Lepholetha ‘City’ Senne said it was not yet the right time to discuss the issue until it is finally dealt with. ‘‘We are just about to wrap it up we will let you know about their fate,’’ Senne said.
Midfielder Mirror Simanyana is also said to be a wanted man at the Kgatleng based Mochudi Centre Chiefs. The kgatleng giants are eager for his signature to bolster their squad for next season championships. However, the two players are likely to repel any efforts from Center Chiefs unless the club is willing to change its recruitment financial policy. The team management now unbelievably does not offer ‘signing on fees’ which normally is enticement when players are recruited.
However, it could be a rough ride for Simanyana. According to sources, was extended last year December to June 2019. As for Gaopatwe, his contract was up to June this year. Nothing is however said about Kgololo’s contract.
Speedy Winger Kgogobi is linked with his boyhood club, Extension Gunners. His impeding move however will remain in the balance until Chico Nare is assured his position as head coach again next season. Elsewhere reports have suggested that once the transformation process is completed, Nare will assume new roles- talks both Nare and the team management have so far denied.
Gaborone United is still blowing hot and cold in the premier league having stuttered out of the ongoing Mascom top 8 competition. The newly appointed coach is still drilling the squad that failed to participate in the CAF confederations cup after pulling out owing to financial difficulties. In reality, Moyagolele as they are affectionately known, are in danger of finishing the season trophy less- again.
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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.”