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The Zakhem GU deal

Elders at the helm of long-suffering Gaborone United (GU) management are reported to be planning to turn down Nicholas Zakhem‘s proposal in an overwhelming effort to transport back the club to its glory days, WeekendSport has been told.

The move follows the insistency of GU branch chairpersons who demanded that the team be put in the hands of business mogul, Nicholas Zakhem. GU had hit rock bottom at the close of last season and was declared to be in crisis. As per the constitution, the club was taken to the elders to run its affairs pending special elective congress. The pain-attacking the club, commonly known as Moyagoleele, now appears to be deep-rooted.

Dated 2nd August 2018, Zakhem gave GU elders a proposal to ponder as the season nears commencement date. However, reports coming from GU boardrooms tell a picture of doubt and misgivings about the intention of Zakhem. The Lebanese born business guru has proposed that he loan the club money amounting to P 700 000 to pay for the team liabilities that have become overdue. The other money was to be used for preparation for the upcoming season.

However, this loan was to come under somewhat stringent conditions.  Zakhem want the club to hold a special meeting within 30 days or within any period of time mutually agreed by both parties for the purposes of endorsing some certain resolutions. One condition is that ZAC construction through its principal, Nicholas Zakhem takes over management of the affairs and running of the team for a minimum period of 15 years.

ZAC also want the club to make a resolution that all management decisions shall be taken solely by him and the role of the executive committee be advisory. The proposal indicated that management decisions shall include player recruitment, coaches and administrative staff together with making decisions on behalf of the club.

ZAC also pledges to ensure that the club is professionally run through recruitment of players, coaches and other staff. He shall ensure that all staff and players are paid well on time and in accordance with their contract of employment, and to avoid negative publicity for the club. ZAC also promises to take care of general welfare of players, including finding accommodation for them.  To further demonstrate his seriousness, ZAC promises to buy a 60 seater coachwith amenities such as toilet, aircorns and Television within the first three years of the agreement.

In a possibility that the club secures a piece of land, ZAC offers to construct a mini stadium to be used as a training facility and further be used for hosting home games. The offer also includes building a club house. Such a project was to commence with the first five years of the agreement and be completed within seven years subject to the availability of the land.

When coming to an end of the paper proposal, ZAC wants the club constitution be altered to cater for the above developments. To cap it all, the multi million pula investor demand that all court proceedings against the previous executive committee of the club be withdrawn.
When reached for further clarity, GU interim Secretary General Kennedy Ramojela admitted to have received Zac’s proposal. He went further to state that the club will be shortly writing back to Zakhem to acknowledge receipt of the proposal.

“The club has received Zakhem’s proposal, we will be informing him that we received it.”  He further state that the management (elders) will carefully scrutinize its contents and possibly take it to lawyers to help. “  It is a loaded  document, and it has be thoroughly examined, the club is thinking to rope in a legal brain to further comprehend it,” Ramojela concluded. There seems to be reluctance on the part of GU to accept Zac offer. However, it is noted that Zac overlooked serious issues. He will be reminded that a society is never controlled by any entity as he yearns for total control of The Reds.

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Sport

Rakgare addresses BFA presidential candidates

21st September 2020
Minister Tumiso Rakgare

Amid the confusion surrounding the date of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, met with three presidential candidates on Thursday morning to discuss a plethora of problems bedevilling the domestic game.

The candidates are Maclean Letshwiti, the current President, Tebogo Sebego, the firm challenger of the BFA throne, together with Ookeditse Malesu who enters the race for the first time in his sporting career. There were other two unnamed officials who are said to be representatives from the sport ministry.

The Sport minister is said to have adopted a hard-nosed approach to register his disappointment and worry that the uncertainty of the upcoming elections have injured the administration of the local game.

Highly placed sources at the Sport ministry say that the minister’s ‘no gloves barred’ approach comes at the behest of the BFA’s constant negative headlines regarding their leadership style as of going into the elections.

It is said that Rakgare was also worried that the current administration is keeping the other two camps in the dark regarding the planning and processes bordering on election issues. This, he said has led to unnecessary speculations and back biting that is not needed to lift the game at a time when it is on its knees.

He was to rattle a few feathers at one incident when he called all the three leaders of the game to put their houses in order. As if that was not enough, the minister called on the three lobby groups to desist from serving personal interests but put focus on developing the game.

Interestingly, sources point out that the minister was livid but urged both Letshwiti and Sebego groups to refrain from tarnishing the good image of the ministry. This, he said in response to wide ranging allegations that he is taking sides as campaigns are ongoing.

The Sebego group accuses him of de campaigning Sebego and having a soft spot for Team Letshwiti while the same Letshwiti group is saying the same thing about the minister as having taking curious interest in Sebego camp.

The minister is alleged to have told the leaders that if they do not change their leadership style of protecting those looting public funds, his ministry would intervene even if it means attracting the wrath of FIFA, which is known for its notorious sanctions when countries do not toe the line. He urges BFA to be accountable at all the times they will cut the annual subventions that goes to them, sources claim.

This is not for the first time that the BFA was lectured on good governance. At one incident in 2015, former Minster of Sport Thapelo Olopeng dressed down the then Tebogo Sebego leadership regarding good governance.

BFA was at the time closely monitored by the ministry. Instead of the usual transactions that normally go through BFA, national team players received their allowances straight from government in the form of cheques. To demonstrate that government has taken a firm stand against BFA, players’ allowances were no longer routed through the association.

Nobody from the said meeting will address this publication enquiry all indicating that the consultation is never meant for public consumption.

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Sport

Virtual meet for BFA elections

21st September 2020
Malesu

If everything goes according to plan, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual general assembly next month through a virtual conference.

There has been much uncertainty as to how and when the congress will be held seeing as how COVID-19 protocols remain stringent on gatherings.

Sources speaking with this publication say the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association has agreed to hold the congress within COVID-19 zones, consequently dispelling all the lingering doubts surrounding the life and soul of the assembly.

As it stands, there are nine COVID -19 zones in Botswana. The association is therefore contemplating to rely within four zones where live streaming will take centre stage for the first time in the history of BFA elections.

The congress was first billed for August 8th but was postponed to August 22nd. However, the second date could not see the light of the day as the country recorded a second rise of coronavirus cases that promptly led to greater Gaborone going into yet another lockdown.
BFA President: Letshwiti
The association has been procrastinating over the virtual congress idea with the election agenda remaining a sticky issue. Many advices came flooding that the association is free to make any decision about the congress but should be very careful not to compromise the integrity of the vote.

Sources indicate to this paper that the association is likely to rely on four COVID-19 zones, namely Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Palapye. The need to plant the meeting on virtual technologies hinges on the fact that the COVID -19 health protocols do not permit people to cross zones to hold meetings.

Information gleaned from various sources is that the association is looking to rely on four zones primarily because of the limited number of personnel under the electoral board. There are five members consisting of this committee and by the look of things; the association will not be allowed to outsource more election overseers at the eleventh hour.  Sources argue that the whole cautious exercise is meant to avoid complaints that may arise after elections are held.

The virtual meeting comes after many failed attempts by the association to convince the Kereng Masupu led Task Force to give out a special dispensation.  On many occasions, the Task Force refused to allow for the assembly to go on saying “football is not a priority.”

The assembly is expected to be held next month but the exact date still remains a subject of speculation. In the end, Tebogo Sebego will stand again for the second time to unseat Maclean Letshwiti while Ookeditse Malesu is standing for the first time to try and wrestle for BFA power.

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.

The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.

Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.

The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.

The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.

“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.

In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.

He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.

When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.

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