Local umpire returns from Australia

18th April 2018
UMPIRE EXTRODINAIRE: Kgaboetsile officiated in Australia Source:The Midweek Sun

The just ended 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia were an eye opener for local Badminton Umpire Emmanuel Kgaboetsile who was officiating at the event.

Kgaboetsile is a Badminton World Federation (BWF) Accredited Umpire who was privileged enough to form part of the four African Umpires who officiated at the prestigious event. Kgaboetsile arrived back in Botswana this past Monday. Speaking to Sun Sports in an interview this week, Kgaboetsile said his was not only about umpiring at the event but fishing out valuable expertise and skills, which he intends to share with umpires in Botswana, particularly Botswana Badminton Association (BBA).

In his observation, BBA has a long way to go as far as competing at major competitions such as the Commonwealth Games. The experienced umpire said there is need for change in the mind set of players and coaches. Kgaboetsile said the BBA must strive for active participation in international competitions. The BBA last participated at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland through Gaone Tawana. However, the BBA failed to send athletes to the 2018 games. “We are a bit far, our performance is currently low to an extent that countries that we used to dominate are now better than us in the game,” Kgaboetsile said. According to Kgaboetsile, African countries that are currently doing well in Africa include Mauritius, South Africa Ghana and Algeria. “We won two medals at the Gaborone Youth Games and we walked all over those countries but now we cannot even compare ourselves to them. We have dropped drastically in performance. One thing they are doing well is development and maybe we should adopt the strategy,” he said.

In addition, Kgaboetsile said local players also need to be thirsty for the game, adding that the level of player indiscipline was also a contributing factor to the declining performance. In some occasions Kgaboetsile alleged that athletes sometimes bring alcohol to the games and this behaviour impacts negatively on their play. The international umpire said given high level of competitiveness at the recent Commonwealth Games, it was evident that majority of international players had confidence while hitting the shuttlecock. “Athletes need to be kept active, we cannot produce desired results when we host one local tournament a year. Our players will never be able to compete on the international stage against better rivals.”Given his rich umpiring background, Kgaboetsile said he will continue sharing his experiences with local players, club representatives and officials during tournaments. Kgaboetsile was accompanied by another local Emmanuel Saakane to Australia. Saakane is a BWF certified Line Judge.

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