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Constituency leagues face chop

A sense of delight is sweeping across the sport fraternity boardrooms owing to the new and developing reports that the government of Botswana is considering to bring down the controversial constituency tournaments.

Although high ranking officials at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development have rebuffed such reports as ‘reckless and baseless’, sources speaking with WeekendSport indicate that talks are set to start between government and BFA officials. While some quarters are detecting a political ploy by the new administration to frustrate the past leadership, sources state that the tournament has pierced government’s purse for a long time.

Furthermore, it is argued that the tournament has led to the demise of some registered clubs at regional level. Annually, the tournament needs a budget of P 40 million to be run and administered in all 57 constituencies.  Close to 80 000 players participate on a tournament that see athletes from football, volleyball and netball. In November 2018, a circular that would later cause confusion and havoc was leaked suggesting that the constituency sport tournament cycle three and arts competition cycle two have been postponed.

The circular read in part, “ The Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture development- Gaborone district wishes to inform the general public that CST Cycle 3 and CAC Cycle 2 has been suspended owing to lack of funds until further notice…” The ministry however disowned the circular, but since then, speculation about the existence of the tournament has always gained traction.

In the past, the football constituency tournament has opened a can of worms between Botswana Football Association (BFA) and the government when FIFA, a world football governing body descended into the country, demanding answers on the logic behind government running football and not BFA.  A common understanding was however reached that BFA will be responsible for the technical administration of the game while the government, which is the main financer, will continue to police the league.

This issue has been debated for some time until it reached a boiling point in 2014. Former FIFA Development officer Ashford Mamelodi was once tasked with an assignment to devise a solution that would have seen government and BFA reaching an agreement. One other key mind was Kgosana Masaseng who is the secretary of Footballer Union of Botswana. He was tasked with coming up with a list of key strategists to help fast-track the discussions to break the constituency tournaments stalemate.

Politicians from across the spectrum were at the time at each other’s throat especially after information spread that FIFA had given the BFA until September 22 to come up with convincing answers to the issue of Constituency tournaments.  The BFA, according to those close to the game, had written to FIFA in Zurich, complaining about the impact of Constituency tournaments on mainstream football in Botswana.

FIFA swiftly sent a two-man delegation to Botswana on a fact-finding mission to assess the impact of constituency tournaments, which were introduced in 2008 in an attempt by Government to address youth unemployment, among other thorny issues.  It was called the constituency sport tournament programme as it coincided with the political constituency boundaries for its implementation and administration.

The FIFA delegation after meeting both Government officials led by the then  acting Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Vincent Seretse, and the Tebogo Sebego- former led BFA, wasted no time in giving feedback to key stakeholders. In no time, the mission was completed and a report compiled for the world governing body. However, the country waits in bated breath to see if the government will actually take the bold decision to stop it.

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Sport

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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Sport

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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Sport

A trip of a lifetime

25th December 2022

MultiChoice Botswana rewards Francistown branch Customer Service Agent an all-expense paid trip to the FIFA Qatar World Cup

With the just ended excitement of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, MultiChoice Botswana helped to make a few of their employees’ dreams come true with an all-expense paid trip to the most celebrated football event in the world.  Tebogo Marks, a Customer Service Representative employed at the MultiChoice Botswana Francistown Branch, was one of the few selected to win an all-expenses paid trip to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar alongside other top performing members of the pay-TV’s direct and indirect network of employees.

Marks was selected to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, based on the outstanding performance she displayed over the years as a Customer Service Representative, since joining the brand in 2018. Tebogo Marks’ role entails assisting potential and existing customers with understanding the products and services offered by MultiChoice, promoting and selling DStv content and hardware, solving technical problems that customers maybe experiencing and handling general customer queries and complaints.

Having to deal with an array of distinct customers at MultiChoice Botswana, Tebogo leaves no stone unturned as she ensures that she gives the best service to her clients. “I have made a choice that helping people is part of who I am. As a result I am always looking for solutions to make my customers happy. In everything I do at work, I go an extra mile to elevate the MultiChoice Botswana brand. I believe in helping the customer in a timely manner as I need to show that I value them, even if it means helping a customer at odd hours. For me it doesn’t matter because my aim is to represent my organization well, but most importantly, to give customers a memorable experience,” noted Tebogo.

Bursting in excitement and enthusiasm Tebogo Marks, recalls the highlights of being selected as the winner of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 trip courtesy of her employer, “The moment for me was surreal and I could not believe it, the selection of the competition was based on work competency and job satisfaction. Over the years, my dedication to my work, my ability to exceed customer service expectations and, most importantly, my active driving of internal activities for MultiChoice Botswana won me the trip to Qatar,” she adds. The selection of Tebogo Marks to attend the World Cup games in Qatar was also largely driven by her commitment to pushing MultiChoice Botswana’s JIKA Campaign. The JIKA Campaign, a customer-service focused campaign which looks at educating peers and external stakeholders on the business’ digital self-service options, was heavily dominated by Marks’ efforts and initiatives.

“It was a pleasure to be in Qatar, MultiChoice Botswana had made everything possible for the trip to take place. My employer went all out in making sure that we were comfortable and that we thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience during my short stay at Qatar. What was more exciting was being in the stadium and watching the live game of Ghana and Portugal. It was a heart-warming experience seeing Cristiano Ronaldo live. This was an experience I will never forget,” shared Tebogo.

“We are so sad to see the FIFA World Cup end but we are so glad that we were able to treat those that make it possible for Batswana to experience such amazing sport and entertainment on DStv daily, our employees, with the experience of seeing the games live in Qatar,” says Stephanie Pillay, MultiChoice Botswana Managing Director. “For us, our employees are truly at the core of everything we do. Without them, none of the magic we make through bringing the best in entertainment to our subscribers would be possible.”

Though the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has ended, MultiChoice Botswana is committed to bringing more world-class sport and entertainment on DStv and Showmax this festive season and always. For more information visit www.dstv.com/en-bw or download the MyDStv App on Apple Ios and Google Play stores.

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