BMC FC at crossroads
Ghodrati, Nare have left the club
BMC FC is engulfed with a sense of total upheaval after the team parted ways with some key forces that played a pivotal role in the team’s excellent start to the 2014/15 season, especially coach Daniel Chicco Nare who left the club early this week. The former owners, Ghodrati family have also thrown in the towel, leaving only one man, Kelisitse Gilika at the helm of the club.
Ezinkomo started the league like a house on fire, brushing aside every side that came their way until on the 11th week when they first tasted defeat at the hands of pace-setters, Township Rollers. Currently the team still has a measured chance of winning the league, but with the ‘mayhem’ that is surrounding them the club is likely to struggle in the remaining half of the season.
Gilika will find it tough to find a fitting replacement to Nare whose knowledge of local football is second to none – arguably. Chicco (as Nare is affectionately known) who has since joined premier league rookies Letlapeng on a three year deal is reported to be planning to pull a coup by moving with some instrumental players to help him achieve his mandate of saving the Ramotswa side out of the relegation zone, something that is likely to put BMC in a precarious position at the end of the season.
With the Ghodrati family having pulled out of the team, Gilika’s financial muscle will be put to the test if BMC is to maintain what it has been doing. However, the Ghodratis when handing the club revealed that they will assist here and there and they will continue to give players accommodation. But will Gilika manage to run such a club alone? The team failed to sign players at the beginning of the season, thanks to ‘rejects’ that were loaned to them and performed wonders, this, like analysts say could be a sign that the team could be headed for crossroads, something which will see the Sonny Phiri’s anti-privatization faction having the last laugh.
The new owner, Gilika, has revealed that he will change everything in the team starting with the name. He said that the team will be called Gillport Lions and their colours will change to pink, orange and purple beginning next season.
This has received negative criticism from football fraternity especially from the business perspective. Those not impressed contend that he must inherit the BMC brand because it was established. ‘’Attracting people to your team is not an easy thing and when you overhaul everything it become very difficult, they should not entertain the thought of changing names and colours, they should use the current name, look at what Ecco City Greens even after being dumped they were not excited by irrelevant things.’’
How will GillPort Lions attract new supporters? They say they have travelled around most tertiary schools talking to SRC’s to mobilize students to become fans of the team and again the idea has been thrown to the dustbin by football commentators as they say ‘’tertiary students are responsible people and already have teams they have support, so it is senseless to be targeting those people, rather they should come up with strategies that will make everyone like their team.’’
Gilika who once helped in the management of Gaborone United will be closely watched to see how he is going to transform the fortunes of the team. The team will play their first four games of the second round home something which has been welcomed by the club as they will be sorting out their problems without much travelling. The team is currently occupying third spot on the log with 28 points after 15 games.
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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.”