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BFA stiches TV deal

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is negotiating possible terms with a local production company to produce footage for National First Division leagues in the next football season – this publication is informed.

The company known to this publication is expected to seal a deal with the association in the near future. As the association prepares to make an announcement soon, sources say the deal is expected to be around P500 000 per season. It is also indicated that parallel discussions are still on going with the identified production house to ensure that the association eventually chooses between two other local television stations where to sell the content.   

Sources mention the names of state-owned television (Btv) together with newly launched station known as Maru TV as out right candidates to buy the feed.  Sources stress that whoever buys the feed will only be able to broadcast main highlights of the games. This, informers say, is a welcome development that will play a pivotal role in giving Debswana Diamond Company who are the title sponsors of the league the much needed mileage.

However, it is said that they are high ranking members at the association who still have some misgivings about the capacity of Botswana television to beam both the First Division and Premier League matches. It is believed that the state owned television may not be able to air the highlights shows because of limited airtime, but on the other hand, it is indicated that the station has the financial muscle to buy and cover production costs. Maru TV too comes with doubt regarding its popularity and audience. Some feel the station is has no buying power compared to Btv.

The association will therefore seed the Debswana First Division football rights while money accrued from all these production will be given to the clubs for sustenance. Tumo Mpatane, who is the BFA spokesperson said, “It is true there is an effort with the association to produce First Division highlights, but as it is always the case, it is will not be right to reveal information while negotiations are still on.”

BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) claimed ignorance on the issue and refereed the enquiry to Marshlow Motlogelwa who is the associaiton’s second Vice President. The football administrator also refused to share details stating that he is engaged in unending meetings. Debswana began powering First Division North and South leagues in 2013.

The lower league had endured seven turbulent years without a sponsor. In 2013, the association successfully cajoled the diamond company to agree to the ever-changing dynamics of the local sport.  At the time of penning a three year deal, Debswana splashed P6 million.  Former BFA Vice President in the administration wing of the association, Boyce Sebetlela was praised after playing a fundamental role in bringing Debswana on board.

In 2016 when the terms of the new deal were negotiated, sources say not much was done as the company did not increase the prize money. The First Division is categorized into two bands called North and South, each comprising of 12 teams.  The winners from each group go away with P20 000, runners up each get P10 000 while those finished on the third spot are entitled to P5 000. Many football pundits describe these prize money as an insult to the clubs that participate in this league.

“P20 000 cannot even pay salaries of a club for one month!” said one of the First Division football administrators. During the first few years of the deal, teams were receiving monthly grants of P12 000, but with the passage of time, they complained that the grants fell way too short to meet their ever ballooning demands of administration. The association heed their cry and resolved to give them P50 000, not on monthly basis, but for the entire season. The tv rights deal is expected to consolidate the Debswana sponsorship and teams are expected to smile all the way to the bank.

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Sport

GU wins title after 13 years

23rd May 2022
GU

Gaborone United was this week crowned 2021/2022 Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions following their 1-0 win over the holders, Jwaneng Galaxy. Thero Setsile’s 13th minute’s goal was enough to seal the league championship, ending 13 years of drought from the Old Naledi outfit.

With two games to go before the top-flight season wraps up, Gaborone United opened a seven points gap to second placed Township Rollers having accumulated 63 points from twenty eight games. The Money machine were the first team to open a new chapter in the history books of Botswana football, when they were crowned the inaugural 2008/09 be Mobile Premiership champions, that came up with P1 million as prize money. Thereafter the club has been on the league drought as it could only manage winning Coca Cola FA Cup in 2012, Mascom top 8 twice in 2013 and 2015. They also won the Orange FA cup last season.

The return of Zackhem as the club financier signaled a new era with a number of galactic signings for the 2021/2022 season. The team brought into their fold big names in local football; Kekaetswe Moloi, Lesego Galenamotlhale and Joel Mogorosi. The arrival of enterprising left wing back Mothusi Johnson, dribbling wizard Mpho Kgaswane and hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele made the job easier for the coaches.

Attacker Onkabetse Makgantai also joined the marauding attackers in Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Thero Setsile to make their front line combination the deadliest in the league. Both Kgamanyane and Setsile have netted 34 goals this season with the goal minder Goitseone Phoko keeping 20 clean sheets thus far while conceding just 10 goals. GU is still on the Orange FA Cup race and football commentators believe that they are the favorites looking at the quality of their squad.

As it stands should the Money Machine win all their remaining games, they stand a chance to equal the highest championship winning points record of 76 points which set by Mochudi Center chiefs during the 2007-2008 football season. That record stood for 14 years and Gaborone United could equal that feat should they win their remaining games against Sua Flamingos and struggling Notwane. The Money Machine made the bold statement begging of the 2021/2020 football season when they won 11 games straight games without even conceding a goal.

The Reds, who are under the guidance of Innocent Morapedi, a seasoned coach and his assistant Pontsho Moloi, has been consistent in the title race. In the process, the Old Naledi side has scored 59 goals while conceding the least goals (10 goals) and has a superior goal difference of 49 goals. Gaborone United success breaks Township Rollers and Mochudi Center Chiefs dominance as the only teams to have won the league title more than any other club in the last 13 seasons. GU’s proximity to money and talent were key this season.

Domestically since GU last won the league title, Mochudi Center Chiefs have won it three times; whilst the most decorated football club with 16 titles, Rollers has been dominating the league, winning five titles on the spin in five seasons from 2013-14 to 2018-19.  Last season, Jwaneng Galaxy was crowned champions for the very first time due to being at the top of the table when the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be prematurely halted with ten games to play.

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Sport

Softball returns to play

23rd May 2022
Softball

After two years of no action across various sports codes including softball, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) is going back to the grounds to resuscitate the sport.

This weekend all roads lead to Selibe Phikwe for the top eight ladies championship. The eight ladies teams comprise the top four ladies teams from the south and north regions. They will then come together and form eight teams and battle it out this weekend at the Phikwe Softball Grounds and Area 2 Mowana Ball Park. The competing ladies teams are Titans, Police, Vikings, UB Giants, Rail giants, Scramblers, Carats and Ghetto Yankees. The champions will be crowned thereafter.

Softball Association Public relations officer, Boingotlo Marope explained that this tournament is not only for ladies, she said men’s championship will be held at Gaborone on the 28th May 2022.  She said they have noticed that everything is confined to Gaborone as their headquarters in the southern region. As a result they have decided to take other activities to the northern region as well. “We are trying to grow softball, we don’t want everything to surround Gaborone only which is why the ladies tournament will be held at Selebi Phikwe in the northern region to bring equality.”

However, she explained that the reason they were missing in action is because of Covid 19. “We saw government cautionary trying to protect everyone by putting certain restrictions as spots had to stop for 12 months, we welcomed 12 months to protect Batswana. As a results that lead to the closure as there were no games”.

In addition Marope said they currently don’t have sponsors however private sector has always come through. Bofinet has to cut the sponsorship but that is not due to Covid 19 crisis. “Bofinet has showed commitment, they promised that as soon as they are settled they will come to our door knocking again,” she added.

Marope further said as a results they rely on their tight budget. Few of players has been sponsored, some has to dig from their own pockets, some parents cannot sent their children as some had to quit. “We have worked with our tight budget to assist teams and hoping that in the coming season we can have somebody to assist”.

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Sport

Botswana ranked 4th in Zone 4 boxing tourney

4th May 2022
Boxing

The Botswana national boxing team recently returned from the zone 4 championship held in Mozambique. The team was led by head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi, two assistant coaches, Gibson Rauwe and Pearl Mooketsi. Two referees and judges, Gaseitsewe Ponatshego and Linda Mooketsi.

In the women’s category, Lethabo Modukanele was representing Botswana in the 48 kg division, while Phekie Bele and Sadie Kenosi were competing in the 57 kg and 60 kg categories, respectively. In the men’s category, Kobamelo Molatlhegi was representing the country in the 52 kg division, while Rajab Mahomed was competing in the under 51 kg category.George Molwantwa was competing for under 57 kg category and Treasure Moremi was competing for under 60kg category.

The boxers came home with seven medals, Modukanele came home with a gold medal, Kenosi, Rajab, Molatlhegi all came home with silver medals. While Moremi, Molwantwa and Phekie Bele all came home with bronze medals.

According to Moitshepi Nkabiti, the public relations officer of the Botswana Boxing Association, the team performed well and that they were hoping that Rajab would also bring home a gold medal. However, due to an eye injury, he could not participate in the finals.

He stated that, “though some people might think that how our team performed is not an achievement it is a big achievement to us. Other countries came with 19 boxers while we only came with our seven boxers, and they all came back with medals. That is something that we have to be proud of I really commend them for their performance. Having 5 players making it to the finals is really a blessing and we should not take it for granted.”

According to Nkabiti, Botswana was ranked fourth in the zone 4 championship, which was held in Mozambique. Other countries that participated in the tournament included South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini, and Seychelles. They all had a total of 19 boxers. Lesotho also had eight boxers.

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