By: Justicia Shipena
Coach Henk Botha claims that South African agent Bradley Agnew of Namibia’s golden girls, Beatrice Masilingi and Christine Mboma, is trying to get rid of him to misuse the girl’s ability and funds.
This comes after Athletics Africa had posted on its social media that the pair had parted ways with Botha.
Botha has since dismissed the allegations and said he still remains the coach.
“We are still a family and a team, and we will push forward through this together.”
According to him, at the end of last season, he realised that certain things were not in line with the two athletes’ agent.
He said he then started putting pressure on Agnew regarding specific issues regarding the pairs’ money.
“The agent has tried to get rid of me because I was in his way to misuse the athletes,” said Botha.
He added that after both girls were injured, Agnew told him he thought it would be better if they did rehabilitation in Pretoria, South Africa.
Masilingi got injured midway through the women’s 100m at the Gaborone International Meet in Botswana on 30 April with a hamstring problem. A few days later, Olympic silver medalist, Mboma tore an upper thigh muscle during the 100m at the Kip Keino Classic in Kenya.
“Little did I realise that he had false intentions of keeping our girls in Pretoria,” said Botha.
He said he then met with the medical team and decided it would be the best for both girls.
Shortly after the decision to recover in Pretoria, Botha said Masilingi called to inform him she wanted to stay in Pretoria after recovery to train there.
MASILINGI STRUGGLES TO TRAIN WITH MBOMA
He also said Masilingi expressed that she was struggling to train with Mboma.
“To me, her well-being comes first before winning. I want to make sure that she is in a good space and taken care of. This being said, I love her a lot and do understand that she is in a difficult place.”
Speaking to The Villager on Tuesday, Botha said he believes Agnew planted the seed into Masilingi to think that way.
“Obviously, I cannot confirm that, but I am sure that happened. They misused the fact that she is in a bad space, and they just went in and planted the seed,” he narrated.
He added that Masilingi’s thinking is driven by an emotional space, not a career.
“I think that is the biggest problem here; Beatrice is not thinking about her career. It’s more emotional decisions. We are here for her, to support and help her. We just don’t want her to be misused by the agent, and we don’t want her to be in a situation where she falls, and nobody helps her stand up again.”
In this vein, he said he and Masilingi still have a contract until the end of the year.
“But I will never use that to force her to train with me. I will help her get to a safe place where she will develop to her full potential and not be misused and thrown away,” he expressed.
When The Villager reached out to Masilingi, she said: “I’m sorry I can’t talk now. Can we wait for this thing to calm down?”
Botha also aired that the conduct by the agent is in the process of being reported to World Athletics and the Namibian Olympic Committee.
MBOMA DOES NOT WANT TO LEAVE
Furthermore, he said Mboma had never indicated that she wanted a different coach.
He added that she is unhappy about the press release and will decide her next steps.
Botha concluded that the statements by Agnew were false.
“The false statements by the agent reveal his lack of integrity and dishonesty,” concluded Botha.
Meanwhile, Athletics Africa had posted that the Namibian athletes have now teamed up with renowned sprint coach Hennie Kriel after leaving their foundational coach Henk Botha as they step up their preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“The past year has been the most incredible journey for both of us, and we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from around the world,” a statement read.
It further said: “As we have had time to reflect on this journey and plan our steps to Paris 2024, we have made the difficult decision to change coaches and join renowned sprints coach Hennie Kriel.”
In the statement, the two also thanked Botha for his support.
“We want to thank Henk Botha for all his guidance and support as we made our first move into being professional athletes and know he will continue to contribute hugely to Namibian athletics.”