Rollers saga reaches BDP
Township Rollers internal wrangling and fight for football powers that have recently rocked the football fraternity had reached the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) offices before the football club went for its annual general meeting recently.
WeekendSport has it on good authority that the committee crying foul had written to the party Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane to sway other stalwarts into discussing the issue of the club ownership with business mogul, Jagdish Shah – who is also the party deputy treasurer.
Some members of the embattled committee, who were eventually vanquished at a general members’ election when speaking with this publication on Thursday morning confirmed that they have written to the party for intervention and are currently awaiting a reply.
Publicity Secretary of the defeated committee, Ken Tshupelo stated that they have been asked by the Registrar of Societies to exhaust all possible routes of truce as this is a society matter. The group says they have written to the party with the certainty that it has a ‘wide capacity’ in tying Shah to the same table with them.
BDP Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane was reportedly out of the country when approached to validate the committee’s correspondence. Sources however say the incumbent committee has also written to discredit and disregard the letter of the disgruntled committee swearing that all is well at Popa.
According to those close to the developments, some BDP high flying cadres are now on opposing ends on what should be done about the team. It is said Philip Makgalemele and Gus Matlhabaphiri, BDP elders, once discussed the matter in passing and their intention is not known as yet.
But when contacted for clarity, Makgalemele denied ever discussing the issue at any point and referred this publication back to Ntuane. ‘‘I do not know nothing about that, please seek assistance from the Secretary General,’’ he said.
Jagdish when fielding this publication‘s enquiry regarding the letter having reached BDP offices said, it would not be fair if it was happening, and as a matter of fact, he should not be implicated in the wars of the society.
‘‘Look, I am not aware, the society does its things without my approval and to be honest it is not fair to implicate me because I’m not one of them,’’ he said.
Township Rollers newly voted chairman, Walter Kgabung could not divulge any details when asked about the alleged communication with BDP.
Information suggests the two groups were once scheduled for an interview at Mass media complex, RB2 but the discussion had to be cancelled curtly. It is further said Shah is under the scheme of things, but when a complaint reached Makgalemele‘s office, a meeting was held at the broadcasting department to reschedule the interview. Further-more, an agreement was made that the two committees discuss their issue on The Eye programme but one committee did not show up.
The letter of the disgruntled lot reached BDP offices on the 12th of January received by one Ame Makoba. It raises a couple of issues and one paragraph reads, ‘currently the administrative and financial operations of Township Rollers are firmly held in the authority of Mr. Jagdish Shah from CA Sales offices under Township Rollers holdings (Pty) Ltd.
This has proved so problematic for the current interim ex-committee such that it has not been able to perform its duties.’’
Township Rollers society elected Kgabung and his team to lead the team, but Tshupelo and his friends are still not satisfied with the process because they feel that Township Holdings organized the election and continues to run the Society affairs.
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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.”