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Lobatse stadium catastrophe

Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) is racing against time to secure an estimated P 1 million pula to pay ballooning bills at Lobatse Sports complex ahead of the Mascom top 8 semifinal game between Jwaneng Galaxy and BDF XI. The match is scheduled for this Sunday.

Sources speaking with WeekendSport confidently confirmed that the stadium is surrounded by crisis of all kinds. By Monday, Botswana Power Cooperation (BPC) had proceeded to cut power supply at the stadium while water flow was also stopped, sources say. It is further reported that the Sports Commission has in turn requested, on urgency, close to 1 million pula from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development to cater for the bills incurred at the stadium.

This effectively confirms the raging debate that the commission fails to institute proper care for these facilities.  At a time when former Sports commission Solly Reikeletseng was still at the helm, there was a thinking that all stadiums be taken away from the care of commission.
Apparently all the playing facilities around the country weigh heavily on the back of the commission.This is a problem that comes from afar. In 2017, the premier complained bitterly that the failure by the commission to take a good care of the stadiums also affected their fixturing.

However, all other stadiums have always been available for premier league except Masunga Sports complex and University of Botswana field. Over a couple of years, the UB stadium has been a home ground for many premier league teams from the south, particularly at a time when the National Stadium was renovated.  However, the UB stadium became a white elephant because premier league teams felt the stadium levy was ridiculously high.  Then, the teams were expected to pay P15 000 as flat rate.

However, information turned out by this publication paints some BNSC top brass with dark paint. It is alleged that their egos are bruised and fighting internal battles for the control of sports in the country. Sources say the reason why water and power supply has been cut indefinitely is because the commission is yet to pay outstanding bills.  Information further states that the Ministry of sports has deliberately released the sports commission’s grants late and this explains why some stadium bills are not yet paid.

As of going to print, BNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Falcon Sedimo had not answered this publication enquiry following a phone call during the week.  He admitted to have seen the email address. This season they are 9 stadiums available on the hands of BPL. The country-wide, there are 12 stadiums. Only, Masunga Sports complex, UB stadium and SSKB field are not in use.

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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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