Namibia: Botha Holds On to Mboma

CHRISTINE Mboma is not splitting from her founding coach Henk Botha, the latter maintains.

However, his other protégé Beatrice Masilingi is seeking greener pastures, Botha said in a statement yesterday when dispelling reports that he has lost both star sprinters.

News that the prodigious pair dumped their mentor for South African coach Hennie Kriel sent the country into a frenzy last week.

Botha and the Newton Sport Agency from South African are in a public tug-of-war over the 19-year-olds.

The agency claim to have the representative rights of the athletes, and issued two media statements to support that position last week.

While Masilingi has remained mum on the issue, Mboma posted a statement saying that she is signed to Newton Sport Agency, and will leave Botha's guidance at the end of the year.

Botha vetoed that assertion yesterday.

It is unclear whether he spoke to Mboma or Masilingi about the issue.

"I can confirm that I am still the coach of Christine Mboma and that there is no indication that she will joining any other coach in the future," Botha said.

Both sprinters are recovering from an assortment of injuries, which kept them out of the recent African Senior Athletics Championship.

"Our main concern currently is Christine's health and therefore we have obtained a second opinion on her injury with local and international medical professionals. The team specialises in this particular injury and will therefore assist her in the recovery process."

Botha is, however, resigned to losing Masilingi, who was the first of the two athletes Botha took into his home and nurtured to stardom.

"Beatrice has indicated that she wants to stay in Pretoria, and I assume will be coached by Hennie Kriel.

"We respect the concern that the media and the public has shown for both Christine and Beatrice, but would like to state that both athletes are young and must focus on their careers to be able to represent Namibia internationally. Therefore, Christine and I would like to put this behind us and move forward," Botha said.

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