No hope

Neo Masanako & Isaac Pheko - BG reporters
Friday, 21 October 2016
No hope

Goodhope senior secondary school, which was identified as a track and field centre of excellence by government a few years back, is said to have gone without a coach for sometime.

The school, located in the Barolong district, was expected to produce talented athletes that would represent the country at international stages. However, the school has reportedly been without a dedicated athletics coach for some time with athletes failing to train. This week, BG sources close to the matter alleged that exceptional athletes who were admitted to the school have found themselves in a peculiar situation as they have to either train themselves or miss out on track and field activities at the school.

“You can go there in the afternoon when the children are supposed to be training you will not find anyone training them there,” a source who prefers anonymity said this week. The source   explained that this situation has been going on for months but local sports authorities have not taken any action. “Some of the students were admitted to the school so that they are able to train in track and field activities and thus far they have been disappointed. Recently some   students requested transfers from the boarding school so they could move closer to their parents.” 

This week investigations into the matter established that the coach who has been working with the athletes in Good Hope is the well-known Mogomotsi Otsetswe. Otsetswe   shot to prominence after engineering Botswana’s first Olympic medal by guiding 800m runner Nijel Amos to the country’s greatest sports achievement to date at the London 2012 Olympics.  Recently the prolific development coach was assigned to guide local athletes at the just-ended Rio, Olympic games. This meant Otsetswe had to leave his duties in Goodhope behind in favour of the Olympic team.

In an interview this week, Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Public Relations Officer Roland Masalila confirmed that Otsetswe, a retired soldier was employed by the association to develop athletes in Goodhope but it appears that his hands might be full at the moment. Students who were hopeful and looking forward to intensive training at the performance centre have seen their dreams go up in smoke as they complete their studies and leave the school. According to Masalila, Otsetswe left the performance centre some time early this year to work with the national athletics team ahead of the BAA National championships and the Rio Olympic Games. Masalila explained that Otsetswe has not t returned to his base yet.

“Otsetswe is still by far in charge of those children, it is only that he has a wide pool of excellence, some of his kids are now out of school, he works hard to bring out results and it is apparent that his efforts are bearing fruits,” Masalila said. He added that even-though Coach Otsetswe is multi-tasking, to them he is running a successful operation and it is business as usual at BAA. “It is very possible, Otsetswe is a successful coach and he is doing really well.” Furthermore, Masalila explained that they are still in consultative stages to offer Otsetswe a seat as an elite athletics coach and find a suitable replacement for him to train children in Goodhope. According to Masalila, the association is yet to consult with the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to further address the matter.

Responding to the matter in an interview, Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Sports Development Director- Technical, Bobby Gaseitsiwe confirmed that Otsetswe is no longer a coach at Goodhope Senior School. Gaseitsiwe said Otsetswe left late last year and they have since written to the Ministry of Basic Education after identifying suitable coaches to come to their rescue.

“The Ministry has our request, however these things take time, the transfer of a school teacher cannot be processed within a blink of an eye, but there are two teachers who are currently looking after the situation there,” he said. Moreover, Gaseitsiwe said they recognise the significance of sport in children and explained that they recently held a mentorship workshop in Palapye to educate coaches on what is expected from them.

He went on to explain that Goodhope is not the only centre faced with shortage of trained personnel to coach the children, “There are many of them faced with the challenge nevertheless we have clearly outlined our plans to the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports Culture Development and they have never let us down,” he explained.

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