Botswana’s best performing referee, Joshua Bondo is reported to be seeing his ‘African whistling future’ slowly fading following a brigade of calls and complaints about his continental officiating.
After officiating in a game between Senegal and Madagascar, the former, through their football federation, are planning to reject the Botswana referee should he be assigned any of their matches in future. In fact, they intend to write an official complaint to CAF on the matter. Senegal strongly believes that they were denied a clear penalty in an AFCON qualify game that eventually ended in a 2 all draw.
It was not the first Senegal had criticised Bondo’s officiating. “We are planning to challenge this Botswana referee next time,” Federation of Senegalese Football (FSF) president Augustine Senghor was quoted as saying. Bondo’s ‘poor’ officiating follows that of last year’s COSAFA edition. In 2017, Bondo was sent home from the COSAFA Cup tournament after controversially handling Zimbabwe’s match against Madagascar.
COSAFA referees committee said Bondo performed below par last year and was sent back home for poor officiating. Ironically, the same month, Bondo received the honor for best referee on home soil. His star allegedly came crumbling down when he officiated in a game between Zimbabwe and Madagascar. The said match ended in a goalless stalemate. Bondo was heavily criticised by Zimbabwean media for what they called ‘diabolic’ refereeing.
It is said the Botswana referee erred by not awarding Zimbabwean National Team two penalties. “COSAFA, who have a zero tolerance on bad officiating, wielded the axe on Bondo after reviewing the referee’s pathetic performance which marred the group Group top-of the- table clash between the Warriors and Madagascar that eventually ended 0-0,” report claimed before Bondo was shown the door.
Joshua Bondo was duly criticised across the COSAFA region and also on the continent for his poor show. It was said that the regional body’s referees committee that is using the tournament to develop match officials from Southern Africa stuck to their principle and took a last resort to punish Bondo. The last year’s performance is believed to have cost Bondo a place at this year edition of COSAFA, but it is indeed ironic considering the magnitude of games the Senete-born referee has officiated across the African continent.
He rose to stardom after he officiated an AFCON qualifier prime game between Ivory Coast and Mali in 2016. Contacted for comment on Bondo performance, the chairman of referees’ committee Eatametse Olopeng said, “If Senegal have a complaint, they know that they have to route it directly to CAF and not the association.”
He sees Bondo as the best referee Botswana has ever produced but admitted that the match official can make mistakes like any other human being. The chairman is of the view that even when critiquing Bondo, a thorough analysis has to be done to examine if local referees are developed accordingly. Bondo is the only referee from this country to reach the Category B of worldwide match officials. The band consists of referees who will officiate only on the African continent, one notch away from the global stage.
Bondo started as a football player for his local club Hartlepool FC in the third division of the Selebi-Phikwe region. In a 2001 game while still at his local club, he got so angry with the referee and decided to quit playing football and become a referee. His refereeing career started in the lower leagues where he gradually rose to where he is now. Bondo was voted best referee in the 2007 Africa U17 tournament that was held in Namibia. Last year, it was Bondo’s first appearance at AFCON Final tournament when he officiated in a game between Ghana and Uganda after officiating a series of qualification games.
The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.
Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.
This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.
According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.
In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.
It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.
In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.
Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.
“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.
When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.
To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.
Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.
But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’
Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.
The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.
The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.
The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.
The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.
The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out. The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.
The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele. In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.
“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system. The stadium will therefore be out of bounds when contracted companies begin their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.
The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.
The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.
Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.
The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.
This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.
“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.
The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.
Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.
Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.
However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.
Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.
Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.
All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.
Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.
Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.
The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.
Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.
Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.