Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC), battles familiar problems while Botswana Football Association (BFA) looks the other way. Simmering under despicable silence is the issue of branding at the national stadium that the commission has since undertaken and adopted as a measure of generating income.
It is noted that the commission has opened calls for companies to advertise in and around the stadium for purposes of branding themselves and later paying an agreed amount. Mascom Wireless became the first company to advertise themselves followed by other companies like AON and Banc ABC. While the appearance of other companies did little in causing commotion, Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC) however cried foul that Mascom branding (seen at the famous stand called Panda) infringed on their space as the title sponsor of the elite league.
BTC said and feared that Mascom got free mileage especially when there was a televised game. This is why, as a measure of caution, the Botswana Premier League (BPL), covered the Mascom branding whenever a league game is played at the national stadium. Annexure ‘D’ within the contract of BFA/ BTC, under the club sponsorship; General rights and Obligations, clearly stipulates that, “there shall be no rival sponsorship whilst playing in premier league, BFA games to enforce exclusivity of BTC games.”
While that seemed to be a temporary solution, it also appeared to have motivated BTC to follow Mascom’s route. The local network giants have also branded themselves on almost every stand, safe for Panda. This has instantly brought fears that Mascom top 8 games will not be played at the national stadium because of the emerging wars between the two league sponsors.
However, Tebogo Lebotse Sebego, the Chief communication officer at Mascom, when reached for clarity said; “As a sponsor, it will be agreeable to have the Mascom Top 8 played at all venues in the best interest of the teams, the game of football and as advertised by the BPL.” She further added, “We will ensure that Mascom branding guidelines on sponsorships are adhered to at all the venues and as defined in the Mascom top 8. These guidelines are premised on harnessing maximum brand exposure for Mascom at all times.”
It is said that Mascom has secured a written agreement to advertise and brand themselves. The network providers also pay a total of P 30 000 per month to BNSC. The agreement facilitated almost two years ago is part of the strategy by the BNSC to generate income. It is also stated that the same contract has been signed with BTC but with better revenues.
When approached for further clarity, BNSC’s Chief Executive Officer, Falcon Sedimo answered that, “The Botswana National Sport Commission has advertising contracts with Mascom and BTC.” But he refused to reveal the nature of the contract saying, “this is a contractual issue and can’t be shared with other parties outside the organization.”
He said the sport commission is aware of sponsorship clash whenever games are played at the stadium. The head of secretariat said; “we have looked into the matter and have agreed on how they will be compensated for opportunity cost if the need arise. However, at the close of last season, high ranking BNSC members were thinking to campaign for a ‘clean stadium’ as per the football norm. The move was likely to attract backlash on a large scale, considering the amount of revenue that goes into the commission’s account.
As it stands, a total of P360 000 is a profit of BNSC for the entire year as far as Mascom contract is concerned. “For a broke organization like BNSC, that is a lot of money and to terminate means more sacrifices will have to be made,” a source said. Of late, the sports commission has been failing to service their stadium around the country. Most disturbing was the issue of water supply.
The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of France’s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina
With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.