Makhwengwe back at his desk
Troubled Botswana Football Association (BFA) technical education Officer, Philemon Makhwengwe is expected to be back in office after his suspension was uplifted following a gruesome chapter of investigating his stay at Lekidi football centre drew a blank.
WeekendSport sources confirmed that the longest BFA serving member has been slapped with one final warning letter and will resume his duties as soon as possible. Ironically, it is reported that instructions from above authorised Benny Kgomela, who was initially suspended with Makhwengwe to write the warning letter to Makhwengwe.
While the technical education officer is happy for the reprieve, there are some serious misgivings in the Makhwengwe camp, worries are that he is sitting on a time ticking bomb while other plans to frustrate him out of the BFA are at play.
It is not known why Kgomela had to be directed to write the warning letter to Makhwengwe yet as they both were seen as black sheep of the association. However, some pundits say it could have been a deliberate move to provoke Phil’s character and further demonstrate that Kgomela was hired by the BFA as his line supervisor and he (Makhwengwe) should therefore respect him.
Makwhengwe’s suspension came after the former education officer reportedly contacted the Confederation of African Football (CAF) office through an email complaining and questioning Kgomela’s appointment along with his qualifications.
Information this publication further gathered from sources suggested that Kgomela had accused his line supervisor of being “clueless and knowing nothing about football.”
When CAF followed up on Makhwengwe’s complaints, through the BFA President, Tebogo Sebego, it is said he refused to furnish CAF with Kgomela’s credentials but instead instructed BFA CEO, Kitso Kemoeng to slap both Kgomela and Makhwengwe with suspension letters.
Kemoeng previously declined discussing the issue with this publication saying that the association would not divulge any information with regards to it until it had been thoroughly dealt with. “We have previously refused to take your interviews regarding this issue and even now nothing has changed as this is an internal issue,” Kemoeng told this reporter.
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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.”