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BNSC red tape scare away investor

Botswana Football Association (BFA) could lose a once in a life time opportunity of erecting a high level football academy in the country due to Botswana National Sports Commission’s (BNSC) labyrinth bureaucracy.

BFA is in advanced talks with British chemical engineer turned financier and industrialist, James Ratcliffe who is interested in financing the building of a sports academy but now fear he may be snatched away by Namibians who have been courting him for the same. Ratcliffe has frequented the country on three occasions, precisely Lekidi Football Centre, since MacLean Letshwiti assumed the BFA power seat.

The main reason for the visits, WeekendSport has learnt was to discuss the setting up of the academy as well as to see the possible piece of land where the academy would be set up. BFA CEO Mfolo Mfolo says the idea was to build the facility in the idle space behind the National Stadium stretching to the UB Stadium.

“We have met with assistant minister Kefentse Mzwinila together with the permanent secretary Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo and they were happy with the idea. Now we have approached BNSC to give us the land but it appears it would take time. The main reason is the land in question is zoned for various sport codes but we cannot let this opportunity just pass us by,” Mfolo said in an interview this week.

This state-of-the-art facility according to the site layout will include:  accommodation for up to 80 people; indoor training facility; fully equipped gym; Restaurant for both academy and public meals. High tech media conference centre that can seat 80, 3 x full size top of range FIFA approved turf fields, artificial turf 5-a-side fields, boardroom and office space and on site medical services (doctor and physiotherapists).In addition the facility will help upgrade the netball facilities as well as install a multi-sport zone for public use.

The facility will not only be used for football but it will be a commercial facility which would be used to generate money to run itself. Ratcliffe, through his chemical company INEOS Capital Limited will foot the bills of the facility solely. The objectives of the academy are to give young footballers from Botswana the opportunity to become better footballers at a world class facility in their home country. Further it will allow for the best players to travel to Lausanne, Switzerland to complete a further 2 years of academy training and education which will avail them the opportunity to be professional footballers in Europe.

The importance of the facility cannot be underestimated, according to the BFA CEO. “It will give us quality players, secondly we will give young players an opportunity to penetrate the European market more so the investor has recently acquired a team in Switzerland’s top flight league,” Mfolo highlighted.

The grand plan was to start the ground breaking ceremony of the multi-million infrastructure in June this year, subject to BNSC availing the land. “The Namibians are also luring him to their side, but he was interested in Botswana but if this bureaucracy drags on he might change his mind which will be a huge loss to us,” Mfolo pointed out. This week Mfolo had to give convincing presentations to the BNSC board in a bid to push them to avail the land. “They will give us their response in the best possible short time,” he said.  

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Cooper, Galaxy deal explained 

7th December 2021
Cooper

This week, the 2019/2020 league champions, Jwaneng Galaxy, announced the signing of former Lusaka Dynamos midfielder Mothusi Cooper for a period of six months.

Cooper, a 23-year-old versatile midfielder, terminated his contract with Lusaka Dynamos a few months ago due to unpaid salaries and signing-on fees. Cooper had joined the Zambian giants from Township Rollers.

In an interview with this publication this week, Tankiso Morake, Galaxy Public Relations Officer (PRO), said their head coach, Morena Ramoreboli, recommended the club to bolster their midfield.

“We felt it was necessary for us as Galaxy to increase our depth in the midfield; fortunately, Cooper was available since he has been declared a free agent,” Morake alluded.

“It is an advantage for us as Galaxy to sign a player of Cooper calibre, though we are not saying we don’t have good players. We just wanted to give the coach what he wants and also add more depth to our squad,” he said.

“It will grant coach more quality players since we are playing the CAF Championship group stage, the league games and also the Orange FA Cup.”

According to Morake, the deal favours both the player and his agent, as it will give the 23-year-old the opportunity to attract interest abroad due to participation in the CAF Championship group stages.

When contacted for comment, Bakang Moipone, who is the player’s agent, said: “The intention was never to go for a local move, but the most unfortunate thing is that as much as we had offers from other teams in Zambia, South Africa, and North Africa and also trying to poach something from Europe, it is challenging to find a foreign player slot during the January transfer window.”

Furthermore, Moipone revealed that the clubs which were interested in his services did not have the foreign slot available to register the versatile midfielder.

“We concluded by saying the player cannot wait until June without having a club; hence we opted for a local move for six months knowing that we will be able to get a club during the winter transfer window,” the player agent noted.

“We received several offers from local teams such as Rollers, Gaborone United, Orapa United and Galaxy, and it was him (Cooper) who chose Galaxy since they have qualified for the CAF Championship group stage as he believes it will give him international exposure and also create more options for him for an oversea move.”

Moipone highlighted that the move to Galaxy was not monetary. The ultimate reason was for the player to gain match fitness while anticipating moving abroad in June to further his professional career.

Meanwhile, it is reported that the former senior national team head coach Adel Amrouche is had secured a lucrative deal for troubled Zebras star Cooper.

The player, recently on Lusaka Dynamos books, is anticipated to move abroad once the 2021/2021 season ends.

The club’s name remains unknown, but sources speculate that the player will land in a team based in Belgium.

Cooper will be the third player whose overseas move is masterminded by Amrouche after secured deals for Kabelo Seakanayeng and Tumisang Orebonye to Olympique Khouribga, a club based in Morocco.

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Sport

F/town Chess tourney returns with improved prizes

7th December 2021
Chess

Despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 scourge to the chess fraternity calendar of events, the First Capital Bank Festive Chess Showdown tournament returns this year with improved prizes.

The tournament, which started in 2019 with a sponsorship of P22 000, will proceed with this year’s an increased backing from P42 000 to P50 000. The adjustment prompted the organizers to increase the prizes across sections. Scheduled to take place in Francistown from the 11th-13thof December, the tournament has seen a steadfast growth in sponsorship and attracting high profile players during the two years.

According to the event organizer Thapelo Molefe, the total sponsorship amounts to P49 945, a gesture that allowed them to increase prizes by 14%. The prestige section, which generally attracts highly rated players, has a top prize of P4200, an increase from P3600, while the open section got a P1000 increase to P3000. The ladies section now attracts a prize of P2000 from the previous P1800. However, the Under 18 and development section awards remain unchanged at P1500 and P300.

“The deal is solid and beneficial to both parties so that it won’t stop anytime soon. We have a telepathic understanding with the bank; they have social responsibility at the core of their business. There isn’t much of a difference except the increase in prize monies. Foreign internationals have always graced our events in numbers, and we look forward to having them again in our third installment of this magnificent undertaking,” said Molefe.

The last edition was won by Gaasite Sebetlela and WCM Refilwe Gabatshwarwe in the open and ladies section, respectively, while Monnatsheko Keletshabile emerged the champion in the prestige section.

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Sport

P700k for GU players

7th December 2021
Gu-Players

Morale inside Gaborone United camp is high with the team oozing with confidence and licking their lips to lift the Orange FA trophy, as the team has been assured to share the P700k first prize amongst themselves should they win.

The promise was made by the club Chief financier Nicholas Zachem earlier this year as part of motivating the team following a long spell of football thirst and hunger. The players and the technical team are looking at the big carrot that has been dangled before them and have never looked back.

GU has been marauding other teams, going down for the first time 1-2 against BDF X1. The Innocent Morapedi and Pontsho Moloi mentored side is currently on 2nd position on the league log with 15 points after six games, only a point separate them with log leaders Township Rollers.

The Reds are also in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and are facing stubborn Jwaneng Galaxy in what could be a litmus test for them. Their in-form forward Thatayaone Kgamanyane is expected to lead the attack to eliminate Galaxy and face either Township Rollers or Masitaoka in the finals.

The high flying club has managed five clean sheets this season, with their goalkeeper Goitseone Phoko even voted player of the month.  “It’s a great feeling to have been chosen as player of the month. The award will motivate me to perform to my level best in every game. As much as this award is mine, I would like to thank my teammates who have contributed immensely in ensuring that I keep those clean sheets,” said Phoko after pocketing P1000 cash for his toil.

GU Brand and Marketing Manager, Herbert Letsebe said the club decided to introduce monthly awards to motivate players. “This is a build up to our end of the season awards where will crown player of the season and other individual awards,” he said.

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