Monday, August 8, 2022

Athletics coaches cry foul over pittance pay

Coaching is one of the most demanding and rewarding jobs but at the same time can be one of the most unappreciated jobs one can ever have.

While coaches are normally slated for athletes’ poor performances and failure to bring desired results, they are however forgotten and side-lined if and when there is a celebration of good results.

Sad as it maybe, it seems a team’s final performance is far greater than the sum of efforts invested in by a coach.

As the nation pours out all sorts of donations to the Botswana 4X400m relay national team that managed to bag a bronze medal at the just ended Tokyo Olympics, the story is a different one for coaches. In Botswana’s pursuit for glory, coaches, it seems, are always the biggest losers.

Justice Dipeba, national athletics coach during the Olympics said as a coach by far the highest and biggest incentive he has received as a coach is of Debswana. This being the sum of P20 000.00 awarded to coaches.

“We still do not know what we are going to receive as coaches for our achievements,” Dipeba said.

In hindsight, Dipeba says he is content with what they have received by far, pointing out that they did not have too much expectation due to how they have always been treated.

“We are fine with what we have now because we are being treated the same way as the athletes during the games in terms allowances and hospitality kit and others apart from incentives,” he highlighted.

One important aspect that many do not know is that unlike athletes, coaches are volunteering to assist athletes.

“I think the people who are responsible for deciding on the rewards or giving information about how to reward are either not having all the information or not giving all the information that we are volunteers. We are not hired as coaches, and in most cases, we spend our money and time to help these athletes. I will be glad to see the value that we add to Botswana sports being recognised,” Dipeba explains.

As coaches, they have the understanding that they may never be awarded as athletes; however, Dipeba is of the believe that it would be an honour for them to show something tomorrow as an achievement from major games like the Olympics.

“If we do not get any recognition, it is going to be difficult to encourage or convince more coaches to volunteer their time, and help our sports grow. Remember we spend more years, working with these athletes, other stakeholders come at the last minute and take over,” he voiced out.

In addition, Dipeba pointed out that it is high time that the time they invest in training athletes should be recognised.

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