By Andrew Bonani Kamanga
The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) goes to elections on 29 November 2018 on the sidelines of the Association of National Olympic Committees to be held in Tokyo, Japan.
There is no doubt that ANOCA is a very important organisation on the sporting landscape of Africa.
Being the official leaders of the Olympic Movement in Africa since 1981, this organisation deserves dynamic, vibrant and visionary leadership.
This is because sport is no longer just fun and games. It is now a globalised multi-billion-dollar industry, capable of transforming lives, generating employment and wealth on the African continent.
The decades-long fight for turf supremacy with the then Supreme Council for Sport in Africa, which is now the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) has drained ANOCA of its energy and focus.
It is heart-warming to note that there is now an agreement on who should be in charge of the African Games after years of unnecessary wrangling. Ownership of the games is still vested in the AUSC but ANOCA will be in charge and in full control of the African Games starting with the 2019 edition to be held in Morocco.
The continental games, previously known as the All Africa Games, had of late become a monumental joke. Instead of being a great gathering and celebration of the best of sporting talent on the continent, the African Games have been a major embarrassment.
In most editions of the games, the world-class Africa superstars did not bother to attend the African Games.
It was a sorry waste of their time! Hopefully, the leadership that comes in after the elections will transform the games and make them a real major event on the African sporting calendar.
There is no doubt that the tension and turf war between the AUSC and ANOCA has been largely driven by self-serving officials who have no interest of the African athletes at heart.
If the officials driving this public spate had the interests of Africa, and of sport development on the continent, at heart, they would have seen the need to compromise a long time ago.
The fact that all over the world, major multi-sport continental games are driven and organised by National Olympic Committees is recognition of the role of the Olympic Movement in the development of the elite sport.
Why should Africa be an exception? However, on the other hand, ANOCA should respect the role of African governments and national sports authorities in terms of the development of the African Games to be a recognised brand. ANOCA should, therefore, come in to add value to that brand and legacy.
ANOCA should not seek to destroy it by diluting the influence of governments. Memoranda of Understanding cannot replace genuine goodwill and desire to collaborate. They are just pieces of paper.
The two organisations need to work together to improve the organisation of the African Youth Games and the African Games.
To this end, ANOCA needs to put its house in order. There is a saying that, “If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there”. This is so true for ANOCA. There is a lack of proper strategic direction to the efforts of this organisation. ANOCA is the only continental Olympic organization whose funds are administered by the International Olympic Committee Olympic Solidarity in Lausanne, Switzerland.
This is because ANOCA cannot be trusted to handle the hundreds of millions of dollars which is supposed to be in its custody.
This is a damning indictment of the African Olympic Movement. It is a crying shame which needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
It can only be rectified through good governance, leadership and transparency in the management of ANOCA affairs. It is therefore like God-send that a qualified economist, accountant and auditor is running for elections for the ANOCA Presidency.
Negroes Malealea Kgosietsile, a Southern African, has thrown his name into the hat of candidates for the upcoming election.
His track record and credentials in the Olympic Movement are not in doubt.
Whether he will actually be elected to this position of high responsibility is another thing. Hopefully, the voting patterns of Anglophone and Francophone Africa will gel for this veteran sports administrator from Bobonong, Botswana.
There is no doubt that ANOCA needs fresh leadership and ideas in order to achieve the much-needed transformation.
It is time for change, not just cosmetic change at the helm of ANOCA. There is no doubt that over the years, ANOCA has actually been a disservice to the millions of young and talented African sportsmen and women.
However, everyone deserves a second chance. ANOCA is not beyond redemption. It can be restored to its rightful place amongst other effective and powerful continental Olympic organizations such as the Pan American Sport Organization of North, Central and South America, the Olympic Council of Asia and the European Olympic Committee. As a proud Southern African, The Southern Times Sports Forum can only wish Negroes Malealea Kgosietsile all the best of luck in his efforts to get elected as President and transform ANOCA.