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League on sticky wicket with sponsor

Failure to stage an end of season award ceremony has exacerbated the rift between Botswana Premier League (BPL) and their long standing partners, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL), as none between them is ready to accept the responsibility for the outcome.

According to sources, there was a gross error committed when the parties negotiated for the sponsorship renewal in June last year. It is said that the award ceremony was not included in the sponsorship package that was increased from P 10 million a season to almost P13 million. Other information indicates that BTCL is deeply concerned about the amount of money usually used at the ceremony and an audit has revealed that quite large sums were not accounted for in past seasons.

This, according to sources, is what caused the sponsors to not commit to including an awards ceremony in the new deal. However, both parties could not easily be drawn into commenting on the matter, particularly that the issue is sensitive and has the potential to further widen the rift between the two. BPL, nonetheless has issued a press release stating that the award ceremony has been over-taken by events, instead saying individual winners would be named with time.

Some say the shocking development should only surprise a few as it is not a new thing for the parties to rub each other the wrong way, especially at the when a season ends. Leonard Seone from the commercial sponsorship office of the BTCL says they still have a solid relationship with BPL. He is of the view that they have a mandate to grow the domestic football.

“We have a mutual relationship with our partners; let it be known that whatever they do or say first goes through discussions with our offices. We are with them every step of the way, that is why we are still sponsoring the league even at this hour,” he said. In 2015-16, BTCL, after writing a scathing letter, drew the attention of the BFA/ BPL to the provisions of clause 2.2.2 of Annexure “D” of the Agreement that BTCL has the right of first refusal to sponsor then beMOBILE Premier League end of season awards.

BTCL then said it resolved to withdraw participation in the 2015-16 beMOBILE Premier League Awards Ceremony to avoid any further embarrassment of a league that a clear winner was not declared. However, the sponsors promised to honour the disbursements of undisputed individuals and teams awards prize money after receiving official written confirmation from BFA of the 2015-16 season Title winners and individual prize winners as per clause 1 of “Annexure A” of the Agreement.

BTCL were adamant that they took that path to protect their brand to avoid suffering further reputational damage. Premier League Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thabo Ntshinogang says the relationship between the premier league and their sponsors is cordial and healthy. He takes a considered view that everything else is working smoothly between the league and BTCL because of their constant consultations. “Honestly, we have a cordial relationship and everything was planned right from the beginning, we have issued a release regarding award ceremony and will await advice from the board of governors to ponder on the next step of awarding individual winners,” he said.

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It’s do or die for Zebras

28th March 2023

The senior national team, the Zebras, is currently in Equatorial Guinea to for an African Cup of Nations Qualifiers tie. Before they departed, the team’s coach, Mogomotsi Mpote, had his troops train in Morocco. This was through the agreement between the two countries.

The agreement between the BFA and the Fédération Moroccan Football Association states that the two nations will work together to organize friendly matches between their respective national teams. It also allows the establishment of football camps for the youth categories (U-15, U-17, and U-20), this includes women’s national teams.

The national team has played over 180 minutes in its two qualifying matches against Tunisia and Libya. Currently, the Zebras, Lesotho and Liberia are the only teams that haven’t scored yet in the competition (this is correct by press time on Friday).

Before the match against Equatorial Guinea match, the local boys who were once known as the whipping boys of Africa in the early 2000s, were languishing at the bottom of the log standings in group J. They lost their first match away to Libya on June 1, 2022. However, they managed to salvage a point against Tunisia last year.

Before the team left for Equatorial Guinea, coach Mpote urged his players to focus on keeping their hopes of making a return trip to the AFCON finals alive after an 11 year absence since the maiden appearance in 2012. He noted that they would not allow their opponents to score and would ensure that they would get a draw.

Despite the various changes that have occurred in the two countries’ football landscape, the two teams have only met once before. In 2010, the local boys defeated the Equatorial Guinea team in a friendly match, which ended in an emphatic win for the visitors. Since then, the two sides have realised different fortunes in FIFA rankings, with Equatorial Guinea ranked 51 places above the Zebras.

Meanwhile, in their last six games, Guinea has only managed to win one of them. They drew with Rwanda and Togo in September 2022 friendlies. They have found the back of the net just twice in their six games. On the other hand, the Zebras, won one match against Zambia and lost four on their way to finishing at the bottom of the group with four points. At the conclusion of their previous AFCON campaign, the local boys traveled to Zambia and secured a draw.


Despite the recent results of the Guinean team, which have only managed to draw with Rwanda and Togo in their last six matches, coach Mpote is still confident that his team will perform well against the hosts.

According to the head coach, the local boys have the necessary skills and resources to perform well against any country. He noted that the team’s coaches have been studying abroad to gain a deeper understanding of the various aspects of football.

“Tactically they should also be ready. We need your (Botswana fans) usual support, when we come back from Equatorial Guinea, we will go to Francistown, and we will need you. You are our 12th player, and you are very important to us.”


This week, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Tuelo Serufho revealed that the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium will host the return leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the local boys and Equatorial Guinea. The venue had initially failed an inspection test conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). However, following the completion of the necessary works, the stadium was allowed to host the match.

According to BNSC Chief, Tuelo Serufho, the various requirements that the stadium must meet included having a designated parking area for the media and spectators, as well as having signage that will guide the spectators. He also noted that the venue now has a world-class media area.

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Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society

27th March 2023

Township Rollers, one of the country’s most decorated football clubs with 15 premier league titles, is finding itself in a precarious situation as its long-term chief financier, Jagdish Shah, threatens to dump them if the society does not bow down to his demand of forfeiting their 20 percent interest in the company.

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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon

21st March 2023

Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.

He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.

The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.

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