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Rollers, Drago reconcile

Serbian born gaffer Dragojol Stanalojvic is expected to return to Township Rollers dug -out as the club’s technical director after he was given the boot last season for allegedly conniving with the Jwaneng Galaxy who were battling Rollers for the championship.

Rollers were pushing to win back- to –back championship. Drago is believed to have played a pivotal role in turning Township Rollers pot of gold into silverware particularly during Kavazovic’s early fixtures in the premier league season 2017/18.  However, other sources state that the Serbian was approached because Rollers could not keep their newly recruited technical director claiming he experienced medical complications.

WeekendSport established that Drago became a ‘victim of circumstances’ when he was seen and photographed in the company of former Jwaneng Galaxy Coach Zlatko Krmpotic at Lobatse Sports Complex last season. This is ultimately what led to the fallout between the Serbian and Township Rollers hierarchy.

 It was widely believed that Drago was helping Krmpotic, who also hails from Serbia, to plot tactics which helped Galaxy beat Mochudi Center Chiefs in their last premier league of the last season. But luck was not on Galaxy’s side as Rollers eventually won the championship after victory over Extension Gunners in their closing fixture.

By assisting Galaxy, Kavazovic and some of Rollers technical team members believed that Drago was sabotaging them and had sinister motives to put Rollers under unnecessary pressure.  Kavazovic was not impressed by Dragojol’s wayward behavior, hence pushing for his expulsion. However, some in the Rollers camp believe that the team can still mount a serious title challenge under the mentorship of Kavazovic and his assistant, Leutwetse Tshireletso. This view may turn out to be the biggest obstacle to Drago rejoining Rollers.

Drago had an appetizing package during his time at Rollers, but sources claim his return could be met with a reduced version of the original package.  But sources close to the negotiations have suggested that money would not push Drago away. Indeed, he considers that the move will give a great challenge professionally.

Yet, having  said to have let sleeping dogs lie with Rollers  management, other obstacles still need to be cleared if he desires to return to a club where people appreciate change and let patience lead the way as he once  stated after Gaborone United (GU) gave him the boot three years ago. But principal among his concerns is the amount of power he would be permitted to wield. Both Drago and Kavazovic were employed around the same time in June last year as Rollers showed some measure of seriousness to defend the title.

While a handful of Rollers supporters were not entirely convinced about Kavazovic’s football philosophy, they believed that it was Drago who won some games when the head coach appeared to be on a ‘wild goose chase.’ Drago was seen as a strait talker. It is said he never concealed his disappointment when Rollers axed Jerome Ramatlhwakwane who is now with Orapa United. Prior to his fall, Botswana Football Association (BFA) appointed him to lead national Under 20 team- a job nomination that also ruffled few feathers.

Drago first came to Botswana to lead Mochudi Center Chiefs in 2013. He was fired largely for failing to control Magosi’s dressing room before the season could end. He also had stints with Extension Gunners, Gaborone United and Sankoyo Bush Bucks- all ending with bitterness.

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KBL closure scuppers BFA deal

25th January 2021

The negotiations involving Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) over elite league sponsorship have suffered a setback as the local brewer this week took what it termed a ‘difficult’ decision to shut down operations.

This effectively means that football sponsorship is back in
its dark corner as all efforts to go back to the field take another nasty twist in the midst of ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is regrettable that this latest total ban on alcohol sales has resulted in the suspension of KBL operations, which will remain in place for as long as the alcohol ban persists. KBL continues its efforts to engage government on this critical issue, which is having an enormous impact on the industry and its extensive value chain,” the company explained.

Although not proudly maintained at Lekidi Football Centre, the company is said to have abandoned talks on explanations revolving around ‘lack of funds.’In the initial agreement, sources say that it was settled that KBL would sponsor the Botswana Football League at a tune of P30million for a period of three years.

It is maintained that the deal was to be relooked and redefined to fit the sponsorship modalities of today’s game.Highly placed sources speaking with this publication however state that BFA is assisting BFL to cajole other companies to come on board as football is about to return to the field.

Top of the list is ABSA Bank who have remained afloat despite the impacts of the virus. The bank is said to be committed to football but sources say it will take a considerable amount of persuasion to see the bank increasing sponsorship.

KBL, in the first phase, were willing to commit without much difficulties but after the storm of COVID-19, the company was to take a back seat and played a waiting game. They reasoned that the continuous lockdown the country has gone under has left them with little income than expected.

But according to sources, KBL is still expressing pleasure to engage with the association again and will further illustrate their willingness to come on board as soon as the corona virus situation subsides.It is said KBL has requested further information regarding sponsorship value from the association and once satisfied, negotiations will resume.

However, some administrators within the National Executive Committee believe KBL’s parting message does not inspire confidence. “KBL‘s phase is over, they gave us hope but it is difficult to keep track of them, COVID-19 has affected every plan,” one member shared.

At the close last season, way before the corona virus impacted the country negatively; BFA revealed that it had long compiled its situation analysis of sponsorship value for the local game. It was understood that the property that is the Premier League could be purchased at a value P 15 million over 43 premier league games.

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BFA proposes new league format

25th January 2021
Maclean letshwiti

Botswana Football Association (BFA) President, Maclean Letshwiti.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is engaged in protracted talks to stage a mini-league as lee-way to ascend into a proper football season by August this year.

The idea is to keep players fit and all football structures functioning as time pressure mounts.Informants say the idea is discussed at the competition office and will soon be forwarded to the National Executive Committee (NEC) for further deliberations.

This therefore means that all leagues across the country will be played for only one round until August where a new full football season will resume. Football has never returned to the field for almost 10 months now due to the corona virus.

The situation on the ground looks gloomy as COVID-19 cases continue to rise with each passing day.
Football clubs are also feeling the pinch with Sua Flamingos becoming the latest victims. The club has been forced to suspend operations as players and members of the technical team test positive for the deadly virus.

While playing a mini-league is a last resort, it is mentioned that no team will be promoted or relegated after the completion of the games.Sources say it is better than folding arms when teams are continuing to pay players without kicking the ball.

The idea of the mini-league therefore means that there will be no prize money but teams will likely survive with grants from identifiable sponsors. Already, the Botswana Football League (BFL) has secured a P 5 million television deal for over three years.

The BFL think tanks contemplate to augment the television deal with sponsorship grants from ABSA bank. According to information, this will keep the league and its secretariat running until everything gets back to normalcy.

“It is true we are thinking to stage a mini league looking at what we have but this is still an infant idea, we are discussing and we will engage NEC going forward,” a member of the association shared.BFA leadership finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place as the motion to kick start the league in February was shot down by the assembly in October of last year.

The movers of the motion argued that high temperatures usually recorded in the South of Sahara desert negatively affects player performance and their overall health conditions. However, there were intentions to commence the league at the earliest possible time but the task force together with the Ministry of Sport wanted players to be tested and football fields be fumigated regularly to avoid spreading the virus.

Early this week, the BFL leadership engaged the Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) to give an update on how football will return. However, this publication cannot adequately establish the detailed plan of the league.

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Orapa United re-sign Ramoraka from TS Galaxy

25th January 2021

Boteti based side, Orapa United were quick to snatch back Zebras left-back, Lesenya Ramoraka, tying him with a two-year deal after he was released this week by TS Galaxy.

The 26 year-old defender left The Ostriches in 2018 to join Highlands Park who later sold their status last year to renowned football agent Tim Sukazi of TS Galaxy. Ramoraka’s contract was to end this year July.

At the time of the sale, the team then opted not to register him for another season hoping to register him in the January transfer but his injury kept him out for longer than anticipated, forcing TS Galaxy to release him as he was free to start to negotiate with any team that may be interested in him.

“We have signed Ramoraka after assessing his injury and he is in Orapa as we speak doing his rehab.The injury is not bad and we expect him to resume light training anytime from mid- February,” said Kabo William, the club spokesperson.

Ramoraka left an impressive mark at Highlands Park where he played 29 games in all competitions and netting only once. Lee, as he is known in football circles, is one of the most trusted left backs in the country and has been a vital part of the Zebras with his absence felt at the national team.

“The team had wanted to keep him but they were just concerned that his injury was taking long to heal and they opted to release him as you cannot have a player out for too long more especially who is a foreigner,” said a source.

“He had survived the changes at the team and you have to also note that the coach who brought him, Owen Da Gama also just joined TS Galaxy and he is one of the players that he trusted and used so it is not a matter of performance but they couldn’t afford to have him on the side-lines for too long.”

Orapa United have also announced the signing of other players that include; Thabiso Boti formerly with Notwane, Kutlo Kolagano from City Eagles, Galagwe Moyana who was released by Township Rollers, Kagisano Mungu from TAFIC and the team promoted Phemelo Pushudi from their development side.

The Ostriches have released goalkeeper Bophelo Kealeboga who has signed a 2 year deal with Sua Flamingos, Mothusi Johnson who retraced his steps back to Gaborone United, Baboloki Makhura and Abdullah Hamisi.

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