National Karate coach stalked by controversy

Neo Masanako - BG Correspondent
Tuesday, 11 June 2019
National Karate coach stalked by controversy

Ahead of the Region 5 games staged in Namibia a fortnight ago, Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) Coach, Christopher Ponatshego was heavily criticized and accused of favoritism when picking his final team for the competition.

This week, a report has surfaced alleging that Ponatshego insulted Chief Referee Llewellyn Rhoda during the Region 5 games. According to the AUSC Region 5 Swakopmund 2019 Chief Referee report, dated the 25th May 2019, Ponatshego insulted Rhoda in what appeared to have been an argument over the Botswana team list that was supposed to compete in Kumite.

“Coach Christopher started insulting verbally in the presence of the Region 5Treasurer Mr D Alton, technical commission chairman Martin and WKF RC Escalante,” reads part of the report.The report continued to note that Ponatshego’s behaviour should not be tolerated and requested that the executive investigate the matter and a sanction be placed on Coach Christopher. “This is a very serious offence and must be dealt with swiftly and in a manner that coaches will understand that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.  As per the rules of WKF, the behaviour of the coach could result in the expulsion of the entire delegation from the championship,” warned the report. 

However, a confident BOKA President Tshepo Bathai has rubbished the report, labeling it 100 percent  false. Bathai explained that he attended the tournament and such was never brought to his attention. “I do not believe it, it is shallow, they should have told me, whoever sent you that document was not present during that discussion,” argued the BOKA president.However, an official at BOKA informed this publication that the report has been making rounds and most are aware of it. The source that preferred anonymity explained that however the matter has not been discussed at executive level and they suspect that Bathai might be protecting the coach, even insinuating that Ponatshego and Bathai’s friendship can be traced outside BOKA activities. 

As if that was not enough those who attended the tournament complained that Ponatshego was full of surprises in Namibia as he randomly changed line -ups and picked those he preferred they compete. This did not sit well with some athletes as they felt that they were being disadvantaged. “We expected that those who did well during the final selection would compete, however, it was not the case, the coach would bring in a number three, overlooking an athlete that scooped first position,” they argued. Bathai, however, labelled the concerns as untrue, saying the team lists are loaded on the database before commencement of the tournament and it was unlikely that the team would be changed overnight. 

Already, there is a concern that the coach will not be using the Region 5 results for selecting a team that will compete in the upcoming UFAK championships to be held in Botswana next month. In the past, BOKA used the AUSC Region 5 performance to determine who made it into the team. Nevertheless, Bathai assured that the team list would be fully uploaded online in the next few days. Ponatshego ‘s phone rang unanswered at press time.

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