BFA replaces fired Tarig
Akoonyatse elected VP- Admin
After the long silence regarding the Botswana Football Association post of Vice President-administration, the National Executive Committee (NEC) met on Tuesday and elected Basadi Akoonyatse to replace the fired soccer foot soldier, Tariq Babitseng.
WeekendSport is informed that the secret meeting was held at Lekidi football centre, and for the first time in many years, the elections had women pitted against each other.
Reports suggest Akoonyatse who has been sitting in the executive committee as an additional member was elevated to the position of the Vice President – Administration at the expense of Susan Montsho.
Highly placed NEC sources say Akoonyatse garnered six votes while Montsho only managed four votes, much to her disappointment. The soft–spoken Montsho has been holding the post on interim basis for the past 10 months.
According to sources, both ladies have a lot to offer, and the often stubborn NEC was visibly divided on deciding whose credentials and knack, between the two ladies of football to go with. Some members had wanted Montsho to carry on with the post until a well grounded individual was identified.
Some, according to WeekendSport sources, felt that Akoonyatse is well trained within the medical field of sport and should not leave her portfolio to suffer at a post that is demanding and often times requires a leadership brain.
Sometimes in September of last year, Akoonyatse was rejected by a handful of NEC members as an individual who could replace Ernest Nthobelang as the Vice President technical. This was after Nthobelang was relinquished of his duties due to absconding without reasons.
It is clear that explanations by some NEC members in disregarding Akoonyatse are on the same template from last year.
This latest development point to a house very much riddled with factions, some feeling Akoonyatse, in all fairness, is mature enough to fill the second plum post of the association. Akoonyatse was nominated as an additional member when ‘friends of football’ white-washed David Fani’s troops in July of 2012.
However, names of Mike Molefhe and Segolame Ramotlhwa have previously been pencilled but it seems the association entertained another thought.
Convincing either Molefhe or Ramotlhwa (which was highly unlikely given the stance he took against friends of football) was to be a mammoth task but Akoonyatse’s way in to the position was without many hindrances this time around although factions still prevailed whenever a decision had to be made.
Those who are believed to be admirers of Akoonyatse have no misgivings with her succeeding Babitseng. It is said that the association has been eager to reward Akoonyatse for her dedication and standing in the often stubborn NEC.
Her footprint in sport comes from afar, she has sat in various committees specialising in the medical field. Believe it or not, the lady was never a star athlete in her youth. She tried her mettle in various sporting codes, but she never actually discovered her real talent.
Contacted for clarity, BFA CEO, Kitso Kemoeng only confirmed the meeting of the NEC but could not reveal more regarding the agenda. “I can only confirm that NEC met, but I am not going to tell any media what transpired until the right time comes,” he said.
Akoonyatse has a portfolio so rich she can walk into a top sports administration job. A physiotherapist by profession, with a master in sports physiotherapy, she was certified a CAF sports medicine instructor five or six years back, and has worked with different national teams – ranging from football to athletics.
She has been the physiotherapist of Botswana teams at various events such as African Youth Games, Youth Olympic Games, and the Commonwealth games. Hers is the face of the many heroes behind the country’s sporting legends – the volunteers who contribute their expertise and time from behind the scenes and away from the limelight.
In recognition of her service to sport, she was a recipient of the 2010 Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) Chairperson’s Award, but still, according to reports, this does not excite a considerable number of NEC members until a time her CV is compared to other suitable candidates.
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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.”