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Nato returns to Rollers

Township Rollers hard tackling defensive midfielder Ofentse Nato is set to officially resume training with other Rollers players following the departure of head coach Nikola Kavazovic.    

 Nato is believed to have endured a torrid spell under Kavazovic’s watch. The identity of his fall out with the coach is yet to be established, but Rollers highly placed source confidently confirm that Nato is in good space to resume training. The former Zebras captain had absconded from training for some time and vowed never to play for Rollers as long as Kavazovic was at the helm.


It is said the Mogobane born player contacted the technical staff about his intention to return.  Some informants had previously reported that the player went AWOL because of lack of game time.  But it has since emerged that the midfield anchor was in no speaking terms with the Serbian coach. Nato last featured for Rollers in a CAF champion’s league game in August and since then he never kicked the ball again.

It was mentioned that Nato, in the meantime, indulged in intoxicating waters- a character that made him lose a thousand opportunities. Nato whom many believe should be the bedrock of today’s Zebras squad, has however emitted mixed feelings since his controversial move to Rollers two years ago. Most disturbing was his way ward behavior whenever he was called for the national duty.

Sometimes in 2016, the player showed up for the Zebras camp that was held in Jwaneng in an unstable condition where he was suspected to have ingested intoxicating waters. According to a concerned Zebras source, Nato‘s way ward behavior comes from far.
 It is said the Mogobane born player’s same behavior played itself out when the team was in camp in Morocco in 2017.

Again in Francistown, Nato was also brought under the same scalpel where Zebras former coach Peter Butler relegated him to the bench the whole 90 minutes during Botswana’s first AFCON 2019 qualifying game against Mauritania. Nato could not be reached for comment as his phone was off-line at the time of going to print.

Nato first joined Rollers in 2016, but played few games after both Mochudi Centre Chiefs and the now relegated Gilport Lions protested that he was not legally registered. Then, he penned a 4 months deal in 2016, and his earnings were believed to be around P25 000. He came back last season under Nikola Kavazovic and it was anyone’s guess to see if Nato was to be a first-choice selection in a midfield often times bossed by captain Maano Ditshupo.

But Rollers management hoped that his personality and experience would serve to inspire the rest of the dressing room, most notably the younger players. When signing Nato, Rollers said they always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief.

Nato joined more because his contract with Athletico De Kolkota ended and he signed to play, not to inspire, as he once declared he is quitting international football. Rollers say there has never been an option built into the deal for him to commit further after his 2 year deal lapses in June of next year.

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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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