By the look of things 2013 is starting with a bang and much controversy. The indiscipline and 'unprofessionalism' of the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) stands out as the peak of the kick-off of the sporting year. The association without shame went into overdrive in labelling star athlete and youngster, Nigel Amos an undisciplined lot; claiming that it does not know where the 800 metre Olympic silver medallist was.
For me it was quite a shocker that while the BAA accused the athlete of all sorts of indiscretion, the association itself displayed the highest form of indiscipline and lack of professionalism by relying solely on rumours that Amos was a "difficult lot". The association has since said in retrospect it thinks it could have handled the issue better instead of just issuing an apology to the athlete for character assassination. The association accused the athlete of alcohol while the athlete himself says that he does not imbibe the holy waters.
The association through its spokesperson Ipolokeng Ramatshaba claims that it was caught off guard and was pressurised by the media. I fail to understand how the media pressurised it because if it did not know the whereabouts of the athlete it could have simply said it did not have anything to say rather than claim other things that are very damaging. Even if the athlete were having challenges on account of his newfound fame, it would still have been wrong for the association to go into overdrive. I still challenge the association to come out clean about the whole issue than hide behind some so-called media pressure. I smell a rat and think that there is more to this than we would know. If there is anyone who should be complaining I think it should be his coach Jack Mafefe.
Coaches usually know a lot about their athlete than perhaps the officials.
Not long ago the association mistreated its athletes during the Africa junior championship and when Glody Dube revealed that athletes were forced to share certain attires he was slapped with a suspension for indiscipline but I think now we can know that we cannot always trust what the BAA tells us.
I mean handling the media and answering questions is part of its duty. There is need for the association to move quickly and mend fences with the athlete. Any scramble for the player can only harm him both socially and from a sporting perspective.
On a different note, the 200 percent increase in stadium levy by the University of Botswana Stadium management is quite a shocker, to say the least. I do not know how the UB arrived at the figure of P30, 000 from P10, 000.
At best it looks like the UB management is either trying to discourage local teams and sports organisations from using the facility or at worst it is just plain insensitive because I consider it (UB) part of the community and it is funded by the community.
I mean how else does one justify this exorbitant increase when majority of teams and sporting organisations cannot even raise P15, 000 from gate-takings? I have a feeling the idea is not intended to defray costs but rather to limit or chase some people or institutions from using the facility. I therefore challenge the UB Stadium management to be reasonable and revise its fees.
It is part of the community and should come to the party. At the same time this puts greater pressure on sporting institutions including the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) to build world class stadiums for its various affiliates so that they can have facilities of their own. For years there has been a dream to have a multi-purpose hall, which can interchangeably be used by sporting codes like volleyball, badminton and other indoor sports.
With UB Stadium management having now put the stadium out of reach for many, it means that pressure goes back to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Infrastructure to speed up the completion of both the National Stadium and the City of Francistown Stadium.
The delay and ineptness has just been mind-boggling and so far no one has taken responsibility for the mess, neither does the government want to sincerely come out clean on the saga.
Following the non-appearance of Dirang Moloi at the Zebras camp, the national team's technical department is quoted as saying it will never call the player. I think that is wrong. What the management of the team ought to find out is why the player failed to honour the first call because in the first place if there were issues, it means that those issues have to be resolved first before he can be called.Equally the continued talk that Zebras coach Stanley Tshosane could step down must be resolved once and for all. The association should not be seen to be vacillating. Already the Zebras have lost ground and I think Tshosane must be a frustrated lot. The support seems to be questionable.
All eyes will, starting on Saturday, be on South Africa as the Orange Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicks off in Johannesburg.
The question uppermost is: who will win the cup? Ivory Coast on account of its galaxy of stars is touted as one of the favourite if not the bookmakers favourite. However, what I have realised is that in any major tournament there is always a surprise team. Last year it was Zambia, which ultimately won the cup and is the defending champion.
I however, do not think Zambia can successfully defend the cup neither do I think that the host, South Africa can win it.