Head coach overlooked for boxing Coaches’ commission
Botswana will lose a medal at the Africa champions, former national team head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi has said, lampooning the Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA’s) executive body for his exclusion as head coach in the coaches’ commission.
The commission is responsible for selecting boxers for international competitions.
Setlalekgosi was speaking in reference to the boxing association’s arrangement, where boxers are selected for international boxing competitions looking at their past international performance and not their latest performance. He holds that the arrangement robs well performing late comers a chance to prove themselves at international competitions.
The disgruntled coach related the Moabi Ngaka – Mohamed Otukile affair where the former has been trailblazing his way through successive interclub tournaments, winning all his fights by way of stoppages contrasting him with Otukile, who has had a lukewarm presence in the ring in 2015, but assured of an international competition appearance.
Setlalekgosi confirmed to WeekendSport that as a head coach he was not included in the coaches commission that selected boxers for the recent Zone 4 tournament held in South Africa, eventually reaching a stalemate with BoBA.
Botswana Boxing Association’s competitions manager, Phetogo Tsheko confirmed to this publication that according to normal convention at the association the head coach is to be part of the coaches’ commission that selects boxers, working with the technical team eventually reaching the executive for approval.
Contacted for comment Botswana Boxing Association President Dr Thato Patlakwe confirmed the exclusion of Setlalekgosi from the commission saying the panellists are chosen looking at their abilities, parrying off suggestions that the association was in a coaching crisis. He asserted that the replacement of coaches at the national team level is meant to improve raise the standard of boxing at club level and was purely a matter of bringing in people who improve results and “talk less”.
However a highly placed source at the association portrayed a near-crisis picture at the association saying, “We can’t say we are on the right track as can be seen by pockets of satisfied people, especially on the coaching issue,” he said.
“Head coaches have always been here, and now money is cited as the problem (for the absence of a head coach), one may wonder why this issue is cropping up now? If coaches keep coming in who will take the honour of boxing, say at the awards, since boxing has been doing well?” He pondered.
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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