Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng and Gaborone Mayor, Kagiso Thutlwe welcomed Amos at the Airport on Tuesday
In the wake of his IAAF triumphs Nigel Amos just a few hours after touch down on Botswana soil uttered a tragi-comic proclamation threatening to ditch Botswana and take a Mo Farah-type relocation. The runner has decried the lack of support locally and asserted that he would take up any good offer to represent any country, even Lesotho.
“I’m not afraid to transfer and go run outside the country, it is all about good offers, just like in football. People think transfers only occur in football, even in athletics there are transfers and I would do it if a good offer is on the table,” Amos said. “…Perhaps going to represent Lesotho.”
The disgruntled athlete articulated his displeasure with the lack of support home grown athletes receive in front of President Ian Khama, Minister Thapelo Olopeng and the national sporting administration’s top helmsmen, comprising Solly Reikeletseng and Tuelo Serufho. He went on to chastise a ‘trend’ where local athletes are seemingly supported only when they perform well in international competitions but the same support lags when they do not perform well.
The Olympian revealed that he had already approached the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture Thapelo Olopeng about the matter and he has assured him he would look into the matter. Amos further said, “We have our good and bad performances and when we do not do well you give us your backs.” Adding that, “We have the athletes but we do not have the support back at home.”
Amos’s Coach Jean Verster who is also Manager of High Performance Institute for Sport based in the University of North West, South Africa also bolstered his sportsman’s convictions of scant support citing pricy physiotherapists, athletes’ nutrition, sports psychologist’s, travel, communication and medical services for professional athletes whose billing can easily top R10 000 for an MRI scan.
Verster who called for Government and private sector backing marvelled at why large corporations, most of which have links to South Africa where Amos is based could not come to sponsor the finest class Olympian stressing their need for backing in communication, petrol, and sporting companies.
Verster recalled an occasion when his sole communication dais with Amos when he contested at Glasgow was by means of WhatsApp instant messaging, exchanging thousands of messages as he could not travel with the athlete to the competitions. He went on to say that a professional athlete the status of Amos ought to have pre-habilitation injury prevention sessions where he is studied by sports scientists, bio-kinetic specialists among other boffins, “before an injury happens because it takes you back every time you have built up nicely.”
The coach also warned that Kenyan David Rudisha is not finished. “For an athlete who has won the Olympics and broke a world record, he will come back. He is not finished.” warned Verster.
Jean Verster is also convinced that, “there is only one place for Nigel to go after the 2012 summer Olympics-and that is a gold medallion at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Verster also said Amos had already proven that he can win a gold medal at the Olympics but is alive to the reality that “they still have to put in the work because other people are working hard too.”Verster expressed optimism of Amos’ gradual ascension to running fast times and becoming the first person to run under 1minute 40 seconds saying, “He can break the world record, he can become the first person to run under 1minute 40 seconds but for now we are aiming at maintaining consistency.”
For his part Amos said as a natural sprinter, he is intent on working on his staying power and endurance as well as taking the road to Rio step-by step and ultimately breaking records at the 2016 summer Olympics games. Amos also buttressed his commitment to do his best and his contentment with being regarded as an underdog as it gives him room for confidence and comfort.
As the IAAF is currently roiling in a sweeping doping controversy, Verster assured Batswana that Amos eats naturally, steering clear of banned supplements and uses far too little vitamin supplements while ensuring through their pharmacy that he does not take any banned supplements and always lets known his whereabouts to the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation marshals and the IAAF.
A delegation from FIFA, the world football governing body, has left heads rolling after concluding what some call ‘early findings’ that Botswana Football Association (BFA) secretariat has not misused FIFA funds contrary to widespread reports and criticism. This comes to the fore against the much peddled P8.8 million which disappeared within the coffers of the association.
However, FIFA delegation led by David Fani, a former BFA boss himself, finds out that the funds have been used to projects they were not initially meant for. The delegation cited money for covid-19 which was meant to cushion clubs from distress due to lack of playing and was used to pay BFA employees. However, the findings by FIFA are said to have left the world of football divided on the way forward. They are those who are skeptical about the manner in which investigations were carried out but are afraid to voice out for fear of being victimized or being relieved of their duties.
While FIFA is adamant that the funds were misallocated, BFA finds itself at pains to answer a difficult question where some staff members at the finance department were sacked. More complicating the already strained situation is the decision to suspend the Chief Executive Officer, Goabaone Taylor and threatening to expel her while she had an over-riding duty to prioritize BFA funds when corona had ravaged the administration and operational wing of the association.
It might be that the National Executive Committee was building a case for her and would now want to look as if they were saving face when they sidelined her. “During the four day visit, the delegation carried out its assessment and interviewed BFA staff and former employees. At the end of the investigation, the delegation briefed the NEC on initial findings. The delegation informed the NEC that it found no evidence of misappropriation or embezzlement of funds,” reads part of BFA statement.
BFA has claimed that its brand has been “deeply tarnished” and that its “ability to use its resources for positive actions throughout the country, and to meet its mission of supporting and enhancing the game of football” has been “impaired” as a consequence of the actions of the football officials and some sports administrators under their watch. “We are not out of the woods yet, we had made good strides in earning FIFA’s trust; we will wait to see what the remedial action will be. However, we will be tightening our gabs and ensuring that we regain the financial confidence we worked so hard for,” BFA president Maclean Letshwiti said.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place owing to the ever burning issue of mischievous spending at operational level.
While the association coffers have suddenly dried up, with some staff members getting the boot, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has threatened to place the Maclean Letshwiti led association under strict funding for unspecified period of time.
WeekendSport learns that the sport ministry is not happy about the financial status of the association and will want to act before everything get messy.
At the close of last year, the Ministry had to intervene for the Women National Football Team to travel to Ethiopia as BFA had no penny to cover for the travelling costs.
As if that was not enough, the BFA December wages were covered from the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) purse, an abnormality that BFA is at pains to explain.
All these incidents, however, coincide with a time when the Sport ministry is putting in place a new revised modeling for funding. The model requests national sports associations to explain in details the why they will need funding for their calendar of events.
Moreover, the Ministry is eager to prioritize funding basing on the performance of the sport code on a yearly basis.
“Things have changed, we are not going to splash money like we used to do, and we want a code to explain fully how they are going to spend the money,” a source shared.
Moreover, we will be funding looking at the overall performance of the code, we are not going to fund just because it is football and it is loved by many people.”
At worst, the ministry will want the association to account and should BFA fail to balance their books, the National Executive Committee(NEC) is likely to be dissolved by the ministry.
Sources further state that the Ministry’s patience has actually wilted away concerning codes that abuse funds. In the case of BFA, sources point out that they are likely to get half subvention until everything goes back to normalcy.
On a good year, BFA subvention reaches P 5.4million annually. Should the ministry persists, BFA will start operations of the year on a budget of about P 2.7 million. It will not be for the first time the association finds itself bearing the brunt.
Sometimes in 2018 when Tshekedi Khama was the Minister, the association’s subvention were cut down to pay an old standing debt that amounted to P3 million.
However, high ranking officials at the association believe funds can still be accounted for and refuses to accept that they have been reckless when it comes to spending. The official who does not want be named is of the view that the association had to halt FIFA projects and concentrate on incidental expenses brought by COVID -19.
According to BFA expenditure, the CEO gets the higher chunk and that’s where most of the money went. A national trip to South Africa by senior national team has also seen the association spending close to a million.
Moreover, the communication department of the association is bleeding more money after a certain PR agency was appointed nearly two years ago.
Township Rollers first ever Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bennett Mamelodi has reportedly turned down an offer from Botswana Football Association (BFA) to take over the reins at the association as the new CEO.
This comes to the fore following the ‘always expected’ suspension of Goabaone Taylor in December 2021, on account of internal investigations relating to the misappropriation of funds that transpired before her eyes.
Sources speaking to this publication indicate that Taylor will eventually vacate her position, barely eight months after her historic appointment as the first ever lady to lead the often stubborn BFA secretariat.
Masterminds behind her appointment and eventual fall from grace wanted to therefore give Mamelodi an opportunity to assume the role, but the soft spoken administrator is reported to have chickened out, opting to stay put at Township Rollers.
It is not yet known why an ambitious man like Mamelodi’s feet will turn cold over a job that commands respect across football circles.
However, it is reported that the once rejected Mfolo Mfolo will have a second bite on the cherry after BFA president MacLean Letshwiti confided to his close allies that he was misled at a time when Mfolo was sacked.
The equally soft spoken Mfolo, who too has footprints at Township Rollers was fired just after the October 2020 elections for allegedly failing to take charge when the national under 17 was disqualified from the COSAFA tournament after failing the MRI test.
All the while, reports indicate that Mamelodi is eyeing the Botswana Football League (BFL) post where he made his name, but close sources continue to deny that the brother to Ashford Mamelodi will want to go back to Lekidi Football Centre given the manner in which his dismissal was handled about six years ago.
At the time of going to print, he could not be reached for comment.
As things stand, Mamelodi has been appointed as the project manager of BFL while holding the fort at Rollers. He is anticipated to provide insight on how the league can source sponsors for itself and run smoothly without struggles. He is also expected to erect a working structure for the BFL.
Mamelodi has previously worked with Jwaneng Galaxy as well as interim spells with Orapa United to help both clubs turn professional. He is said to be in love with what he does at Popa and it is why he is no longer intrigued by BFA political positions.
However, sources mention that Mamelodi will be tried once again but are skeptical that the man will agree to the deal even if it is mouthwatering.