Rollers headed for showdown
Rollers Charman, Walter Kgabung (Left) and PRO Phempheretlhe Pheto (Right)
Trouble torn Township Rollers will traverse the last week of January with hardship. There is bitter-sweet emotion prevailing at the side as they prepare for elections that will eventually usher in a new committee to run the affairs of the society. The Gaborone west based football giant society is working tirelessly to sell members who could be entrusted in leading the club out of troubled waters.
Already, two factions battling it out for the soul of the club- are reportedly playing a tense game behind closed doors to win the hearts of the voters come January 30th. The team’s society has been led by two chairmen following a bitter fall out that saw a court redress pronouncing that any entity administering the club affairs should stop doing that with “immediate effect”. The announcement briefly set the fire burning inside Palestine’s boardrooms to an extent where a compromise had to be reached, albeit it proved to linger momentarily. Walter Kgabung was allowed to lead the sitting committee while former league chairman Spencer Mmui was elected to spearhead the disgruntled one until the end of this month (January).
WeekendSport moles have said that the campaign leading to the elections has now gathered a massive pace while lobby lists have already been penciled. It is reported that the group that is led by Kgabung, has former football guru-Dickson Gabanakgosi in the thick of things, eyeing the position of the presidency. Kgabung himself is steadfast in his position of chairman while former gospel music expert Phempheretlhe is set to defend his current position of public relations. Khumo Masonya, too is expected to defend his position as the club secretary general.
It does not come as a surprise that Mookodi Seisa is also seeking revival as the president of the club. The man has been a low-lying leader of the faction that approached the court. He is reported to be with Nfolo Nfolo who is eyeing Kgabung’s seat and Oscar Tshupelo who wants to be the club secretary together with long time darling Kaizer Sekaba who wants redemption as club media liaison.
The elections are expected to end a raging war that somewhat left club chief financer Jagdish Shah confused. The meeting is however faced with serious misgivings owing to reports that there are those who intend to block the agenda item of the elections.
Township Rollers boardroom bickering has however not disturbed the rhythm of the team on the field of play. The club is perched at the summit of the log standings though a solitary point is standing between them and pretenders to the throne, Orapa United. They are basking in the pride of not tasting defeat in premier league games, although in all competitions, Police XI remains the only club to have made them bite the dust.
Incumbent club Public Relations officer, Phempheretlhe Pheto said elections will go on according to schedule and supporters would have had a remarkable say at the end of the day. ‘Yes elections will go as per the schedule and the date of January 30 is the chosen one, a new committee will be voted in office by the supporters,’’ he said.
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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.”