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Chicco has fallen

Daniel ‘Chicco’ Nare’s dream of finishing off as the finest mentor of this season’s Mascom Top 8 competition were punctured Saturday afternoon when Township Rollers drove the final nail to his coffin at the Francistown Sports Complex.

Just a few days after his side lost to Township Rollers, Orapa United management instituted a brief investigation and uncovered that their assistant coach, Nare played a dangerous role that saw the team eventually losing to rivals Rollers ― a finding that risked his place at the Orapa based outfit. At press time this paper had learnt that the club was preparing to sack the former Extension Gunners mentor who is now redeployed to head the youth structures.

Sources told WeekendSport that a few days before the final; Nare approached the management and asked that he be allowed to lead the team to the fateful final because he stood a better chance of winning the coveted coach of the season award.  It appears that his plea threw the club between a rock and a hard place since an agreement had already been hatched with head coach Bongani Mafu.  Sources however feel that Nare was on the rails to shape this consideration more because he almost single-handedly led the club to the finals.

Nobody knows exactly what transpired between the assistant coach and the Orapa United management, but sources say Nare has been under intense scrutiny the day he signed for the mining giants. Reports say cases of late coming have been dangerously hovering over his head and the decision to alter the training times irked those who run the team. He was accused of coming late during his first game against Township Rollers and the second time was against BDF XI.

But it is said the final straw that broke the camel’s back came on the eve of the Mascom Top 8 final when the starting first XI was ultimately announced. Sources say head coach Bongani Mafu passed the line up to club manager Patrick Motsepe to print it. But those inside the ‘United circle claim that Nare felt that he was not consulted and therefore forced changes almost immediately.

Goalkeeper Mosimanegape Roberts was to start the game on the bench together with right back player Kealeboga Molebatsi. But Nare dragged them into the starting XI, substituting Josephs and Obonye Moswate. The development, according to information before Orapa United management meant that both Mafu and Nare were not in agreeing terms as of going to the final. It is further said that Mafu suggested to Nare and the rest of the technical committee in the dugout that goalkeeper Roberts be substituted basing on his match fitness. Mafu, sources say was irritated by the manner in which the goalkeeper conceded what was Roller’s second goal.

Mafu’s suggestions were out rightly dispelled by Nare, whom sources say  countered that even midfielder Tapiwa Nyamandiva be taken out, a reply that appeared to shock Mafu. Reports say the coach argued that Nyamandiva was one of the best players on the day and could never be substituted. It is claimed that Chico was not surprised by Mafu’s response and the fact that both Nyamandiva and Mafu are ‘homeboys’― which was immediately seen as a case of favouritism according to sources who were close to developments.

Subsequent to United losing the game, the management, it is said, is now on a firing mood. Coach Mafu is expected to appear before the committee for failing to tame and control his assistant, Nare. Mafu is also expected to provide answers as to why he let the team spend another night in Francistown contrary to an agreement that the team should return to Orapa right after the encounter. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Roberts might also be summoned, and the fact that he failed to come for training does not help his case.

CHICO RESPONDS…

According to Nare, on Tuesday night at Itekeng stadium after training, Vice-chair Nkape addressed players on the Francistown trip and told them as of Wednesday 07/03/18 “I am no longer the assistant coach of Orapa united”. He said the vice-chair went on to question how two coaches could wear suits on the bench creating confusion as to who the head was, especially because the assistant didn't perform warm up duties.

Further, Nare revealed that Nkape is said to have said he saw him (Nare) in conversation with the Rollers coach, laughing and “kissing me on the cheek at the press box when I should have been addressing the players”. “He later on told the players that they will decide where to deploy me and further told the players that by removing me from the first team was not the end of the world for me as I will be called to appear before the board to explain my suit wearing, Nikola’s kiss and differences on the bench pertaining to subs and game reading,” are said.

Further, the former Extension Gunners mentor added: “I am not sure if this is how suspension should be carried out if indeed it is suspension. I think out of respect for each other I should have been called to the office separately and advised of my suspension and save me the humiliation in front of my players.” He continued: “My take is that I have been embarrassed, humiliated and belittled in front of my players over a simple administrative issue.”

Nare also said he had heard over the radio through the club PRO that he had been suspended, but that without a hearing and without a letter, he believed “Mr Chair was addressing the players not me”. “I now don't know what my defence will be at that board hearing because I have been tried, judged and sentenced in front of the players so my cause of natural justice has been compromised to say the least.”

Further, he said that he was also aware that additional charges had been added (that of remaining behind in Ghetto to watch the Tafic/BDF game). He said he however stayed behind because he knew he would play both in a row the following week and because he wanted to collect his suit form th bus. He insists he had informed coach Mafu of all these.

“As I stand and wait defenceless, my respect for Mr Nkape remains solid and I thank him for the chance he afforded me to coach this great bunch of players,” he however highlighted. In conclusion, he said, “I reiterate that I did nothing and I stand to be dismissed a free soul and am proud of the contribution I did to this team thus far.”

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Sebego challenges BFA constitution

13th October 2021
Tebogo Sebego

Botswana Football Association (BFA) constitution appears to be under heavy scrutiny as Tebogo Sebego, the president of Notwane Sporting club, questions its authenticity, with strong indications that several clauses were removed and others added without the input of the General Assembly.

Sebego, who vied for the BFA presidency in October 2020, feels Notwane is a bonafide member of BFA and has been participating in the past three BFA assemblies but cannot be part of the mess that the club and others did not create. On 13th September 2021, Notwane forwarded a complaint letter to the football association’s chief executive officer (CEO), challenging how two constitutions were amended.

The club says a constitution dated 25th June 2021 and the other bearing a stamp of 10th December 2020 were amended under fraudulent circumstances and want an explanation on how it transpired. “We have recently received a constitution dated 25th June 2021 stamped by the registrar of societies. The said constitution carries some changes that were never discussed and voted upon at the BFA general assembly.

Of particular interest, we have noted that the following new amendments, Article 33 of the 2016 constitution, is replaced by article 30. The procedure has been reduced, but the principles remain the same. The relevance of this is to restate the constitutional culture and mandatory powers of the General Assembly as the sole body responsible for constitutional amendments,” part of the letter seen by this publication reads.

Article 33 that Sebego complains of reads thus, “The general assembly is responsible for amending the constitution and the standing orders of the general assembly.” Furthermore, Notwane argues that another article (22.1) of the 2021 constitution then wipes off the presence of 16 delegates from the Premier League clubs and eight representatives from the first division together with their voting rights.

The club believes that while the autonomy of the Botswana Football League (BFL) was approved in the 2020 General Assembly, the assembly never discussed, voted or approved the removal of delegates from the General Assembly. The team believes that the amendments are therefore unlawful for lack of authority from the General Assembly. This is the case because it has a significant impact on the landscape of the structure of the General Assembly, Notwane argues.

Moreover, Notwane’s shock is skyrocketing, especially when raising another equally screaming change in the constitution. In the letter state, the club states that article 33.4 of the 2021 constitution introduces a term limit for the president. The club speculates that the amendment seems to be carried from the 2019 version of the constitution, and whatever its genesis, the matter was never before the General Assembly.

“It is only the General Assembly that has powers, through the right constitutional channels to introduce a limitation on the term of the president and further to define the limitation based on the reasons presented to it,” the argument goes on. The old constitution was limited to at most two terms, but it seems the president can now enjoy the third term.

Sebego and Notwane argue that they have raised these articles to demonstrate that the constitution was amended without following due process in an unconstitutional, unlawful and somewhat fraudulent manner. They say this 2021 constitution and that of the 2019 version are, in their view, unlawful documents and should be reversed without delay.

The complaint letter was also copied to the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) desk and the registrar of societies — an organisation that issued a stamp on the constitutions in question. Notwane, in a parting shot, wants to be furnished with minutes that allowed the constitutional changes because, to their understanding, there was none.

It has come to the attention of this publication that Notwane had given the BFA head of secretariat seven days to have replied, but nothing has come out. However, neither party was available for comment as the paper was going to print.

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Cooper awaits FIFA decision 

13th October 2021
Mothusi' Mini' Cooper

A clash of personal egos, paper trail gone wrong and unfulfilled promises are the primary reasons Botswana international star player, Mothusi’ Mini’ Cooper is still on the fringes despite a vast of football talent at his disposal.

Cooper has suddenly become the centre of controversy after completing a dream move to Lusaka Power Dynamos in Zambia and adorned by many football lovers. His move left his parent club, Township Rollers, divided. Cooper left Rollers last season, but the club he was hoping to re-write his name into folklore has suddenly given him nightmares where he is now stuck on the way forward.

It is reported that the pint-sized midfielder has terminated his two-year contract with the Lusaka club after the club failed to fulfil the terms of the agreement. When cancelling the contract, Cooper was doing so with the hope that he would eventually re-united his old club, Township Rollers.

According to informants, Rollers high-ranking officials refused to accept Cooper back because Power Dynamos is yet to finish the transfer fee paid for the player. It is said that Rollers were reluctant to release the player, but his agent forced matters, consequently fracturing the relationship between the player and Rollers management.

Cooper was earning close to P 25 000 per month, but that lasted for a while. As things stand, the player was training with BDF XI to retain fitness level, but his future is yet to be thoroughly established. Rollers are believed to be reluctant to negotiate terms with him again, and that alone cast aspersions on the way forward. Had the player left on good terms, he would have been readily accepted back, sources claim.

From what this publication gathered, Rollers is still livid at how Cooper left the club, but what is more of a serious matter is the fractured relationship between the club and player agent. It is said that Rollers had failed to pay the agent his dues when Cooper was sold to Lusaka Power Dynamos.

While others within the Rollers executive committee believe this matter could be quickly resolved, the club is still awaiting paper documents filed at FIFA seeking Lusaka Power Dynamos to complete payment of the player. It is not yet clear how much is owed to Township Rollers, but what is apparent is that Dynamos has disappointed.

Cooper was on the wanted list of Orapa United, but the transfer window closed before anything tangible could be discussed.  Phemperetle Pheto, the spokesperson of Rollers, refused to shared details regarding Cooper matter. However, their chief executive officer Bennett Mamelodi indicated through the club’s online magazine that the case is before FIFA statutes and will be discussed soon.

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Sport

League returns October

5th October 2021
premier league players

After more than 550 days without competitive football game in the country, information gleaned from various sources indicates that the Botswana Football League (BFL) is expected to start the 2021/2022 football season not early or late October.

The resumption of the 2021/2020 season comes after a year and few months since March 2020. Local football was halted during the second round of 2019/2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The ban on competitive sport aimed to keep the spread of the coronavirus disease under control. The pandemic had already forced the BFA executive committee to declare the 2020/2021 season null and void in March, citing that the resumption would have caused a fixture pile-up in a limited space of time.

In a brief interview with this publication, the newly appointed BFL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Solomon Ramochotlhwane, said the preparations are ongoing for the football season.  “We are engaging all the relevant stakeholders such as the referees’ committee, teams, even Botswana Football Association (BFA)”.

Ramochotlhwane also revealed that all teams would be expected to test for COVID-19 every fortnight once the league has started. He further indicated that they have since written a letter through the mother body, BFA proposing the vaccination of all the players and technical team members. The Government vaccination rollout plan targets people aged 30 to 44, and BPL wants all players to be included in this age group.

However, Ramochotlhwane noted that they are currently waiting for a response from the health authorities concerning the vaccination of players and the technical teams.  Moreover, Ramochotlhwane indicated that they would use certified stadiums that meet the Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards. BFL, an organ established to run the elite league independently from the Botswana Football Association (BFA), is currently negotiating with former headline sponsors, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).

Impeccable sources report that the two parties are considering a reunion to lift football from its knees. Information gleaned from various sources indicates that each party has amenability and willingness to re-engage, but there is nothing concrete to talk about at this stage. When commenting on the prospects of BTC coming on board to be headline sponsors, BPL CEO said sponsors need assurances that activities will go according to plan and would not risk committing their money into uncertainties.

Ramochotlhwane would not confirm any names but instead mentioned that they have a plan as BPL in place.   It is reported that the new BFL board of directors is quickly drawn to the side of local network giants who also have changed faces in their administrative and marketing wings. BFL is oozing with confidence after reports emerged that BTC’s profits have risen to P 832M. Meanwhile, it is reported that BFA National Executive Committee recently agreed to extend a P 5 million loan to the BFL to commence the 2021-22 football season.

The reported P5 million loan deal follows numerous attempts to secure sponsorship by the newly established BFL body but to no avail. The amount is meant to augment other sponsorship finances sourced thus far. As things stand, the BPL board is believed to have secured a P 6 million broadcast deal with Botswana Television (BTV) and have also closed files with Absa Bank on a reported P3 million deal. The 5 million BFA loan is an expected add-on to the overall P9 million already in the account of the BFL. The move, therefore, means that the 2021-22 football season will be powered at a value of P 14 million.

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