Notwane’s fate hangs in the balance
Notwane Football Club’s presence in the First Division South league is under threat. The team is virtually treading on thin ice following the decision by the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to file for an appeal with the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Appeal’s board this week.
WeekendSport sources say that the mother body is challenging the judgement of the disciplinary committee that saw the troubled outfit win a slight reprieve after taking football matters to the courts of law.
The court had ruled that Toronto, as they are affectionately called, be given a fairer opportunity to be heard as to why they eventually resorted to the court of law. Notwane had argued that the Association deliberately sat on their complaint until time had elapsed causing their slipping into the relegation zone. The team had complained that Sankoyo Bush Bucks had fielded a defaulter against them and as per BFA play rules and regulations they should have been given 3 points and 2 goals in the event the perpetrator was found guilty.
While the Selibe Phikwe based outfit, FC Satmos would later benefit from the same circumference of complaint, they cried foul that it was a doomsday’s conspiracy to see them exiting the elite league. They have proved that their complaint reached relevant BFA authorities well on time coupled with the required fee.
The committee found out that Notwane’s matter was not adequately deliberated on and they had no choice but to approach the court on a matter of urgency. The once mighty club was later fined BW P4000.
However, it is this judgement that has irked the Association who feel that Notwane‘s transgressions were as grave as those of BDF XI and heavy punishment should have been imposed. BDF, too, once took matters involving football to be tried at a court of law and were later fined BWP 10 000 and lost 6 points. Should Notwane escape the trap, observers say, BFA would receive harsh back lash since it would be seen to be applying double standards.
All the while, sources within the BNSC say it is a gamble and the case might not see the light of day because of the makeup of the committee. They say the committee has not been given powers to make key decisions and this case might as well turn into a ghost file.
A feeling of self-inflicted pain had pervaded Notwane Football Club family after the court of appeal dismissed the team’s plea of being given a fairer hearing before the determination of who survives the relegation and who stays in the elite league is made for finality.
Even though Justice Lesetedi threw out their plea arguing that they took a lengthy time to apply for a plea and also that they had already played the play-off match against FC Satmos, Notwane was brought under the BFA scalpel but surprisingly emerged victorious.
No further actions were taken until the time the team was relegated to the lowest division. Meanwhile, BFA, it is said, believes that the team should be severely punished or be expelled from football.
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AFRICAâ€™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 Worldâ€™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.
â€śAfrica 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.â€ť
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.
â€śThe sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africaâ€™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.â€ť
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.
â€śPolicymakers 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.â€ť
He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. â€śFortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.â€ť
However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. â€śFirst 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.â€ť
â€śPolicymakers 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.â€ť
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