BAA in nepotism quagmire

18th May 2018
QUICK SAND…BAA president Thari Mooketsi Source:The Midweek Sun

The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) wish list for the 2018 Africa Youth Games team has sent shockwaves through the local athletics community. The controversial wish list has raised eyebrows after Elizabeth Mooketsi was submitted as the potential Team Manager. Elizabeth is wife of incumbent BAA president Thari Mooketsi. The BAA list was leaked to Sun Sports this week. The list is dated the 3rd of May 2018 and addressed to Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer. As it stands, Elizabeth is likely to lead the BAA team heading to Algeria for to the Youth Games starting from 19th until 28th July. BAA affiliates are reported to be at wits end as to how the President’s wife made it into wish list.

According to those close to the matter, Elizabeth is very supportive of her husband’s work and always attends track and field events. However, to some BAA affiliates, little is known about her capabilities in managing a national team. This week concerned BAA affiliates who preferred anonymity due to fear of victimisation questioned how the BAA executive committee arrived at the decision of tasking Elizabeth with the responsibility of managing such a youthful team.

“Development is very important and the Youth Games are essential to groom some of our upcoming stars. We need to be careful when dealing with school aged children because the future is in their hands.” As the best performing sporting code locally, their worry is that BAA needs to be careful and have leadership personnel that is well informed and familiar with the International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF) rules and regulations. A team manager above other things is expected to be able to work well with both children and coaches. The team manager is expected to provide advice to coaches should any crisis crop up during competition.

The team manager is expected to attend technical meeting and understand all technical aspects of the competition. Some of the BAA affiliates claim to have tried to reason with the BAA president and his committee to no avail. However, it appears the decision might be final on the issue. For his part, the BAA president said his wife is equally deserving and should not be denied an opportunity to be a team manager simply because she is the wife to the president. Mooketsi said his wife is not new to athletics circles and should not be treated as a stranger. He explained that his wife has been with Lefika Athletics Club for a long time and managed it during his absence. “I am not interested in petty talk, we are empowering women and the decision was taken by the committee and not me alone,” a seething Mooketsi charged.

Meanwhile BAA additional member Moses Raphutshe, noted that they wanted to empower women and Elizabeth is deserving given that she has shown that she can be a leader through her club Lefika. Raphutshe said people should not be worried because at her age, Elizabeth will be able to mother the team. “We are trying to have more ladies participate in athletics and she was chosen after considering her abilities,” he said. He further revealed that the president was initially against the idea however they reasoned with him until he agreed. “He was afraid this would backlash because he is the president of the association and did not want his family to be implicated in anything. However, we saw potential in the wife,” Raphutshe said.

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