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Govt to close 3 stadiums

The new broom is seemingly sweeping clean at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Development with fresh information indicating that Tshekedi Khama is considering to close down at least three stadiums for maintenance.

It is said National stadium, Serowe Sports Complex together with Masunga complex will temporarily shut down. While it is commonly believed that the Minister contemplates to refurbish the named stadia, sources very close to the Minister told WeekendSport that Khama is not entirely pleased with amount of monies channelled every year for their daily administration.

It is said that the minister smells maladministration and lack of accountability on the part of Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), a sport body that is responsible for maintenance and management of all government stadiums. This move has now re- opened a raging debate that BNSC fails to provide good care of these stadiums yet millions are requested every year.  It is still not yet clear what Minister Khama wants to achieve in the long run.

Before the fall of Solly Reikeletseng who served as BNSC chairman, it was widely thought and debated that government should assume full responsibility of the stadiums and relieve the burden from BNSC. “The problem is how the money is used and channelled, it moves from the Ministry’s pocket to BNSC. You will remember well that BNSC conducts it’s tendering and financial requisition can be over looked,” a source shared.

 “The ministry should run its tendering processes so as to assume fully responsibility as before,” a source shared. The shutting of the stadium, should it become a reality, will effectively interfere with premier league fixtures. The elite league, still struggling with stadium availability, relies heavily on the use of the National stadium and Serowe Sports complex. When approached for comment, the chief executive officer of the Premier League Thabo Ntshinogang acknowledged that stadium availability has been a problem for them.

He is of the view that this comes from afar and if the move to close them sees the light of the day, it is will be a devastating blow. “I have heard of the move to close those stadiums, but if indeed it is true, it is will of course affect our schedule. You know very well that our clubs struggle to use them because they are not always available,” Ntshinogang conceded.

All the while, sources state that the turf at the national stadium is very old and worn out. They argue that it has to be replaced. But as early as last week, the Ministry was running helter-skelter to pay both water utilities and Botswana Power Cooperation (BPC) to re-connect services at Lobatse Sports Complex. A last minute request was made by BNSC to the Ministry of Sports to pay a bill amounting to P1 million, informants claim.

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

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.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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