Shah lambasts BPL board
Township Rollers Chief financier Jagdish Shah has condemned Botswana Premier League board of governors for what he has termed failure to administer the league’s affairs.
Shah who also doubles as Rollers’ president said the league is failing to take care of the clubs and has left everything which includes player insurance to the teams. He is of the view that the league is not doing enough for the clubs and this tendency will not take the domestic game to greater heights.
Shah was giving an account of the South African Premier Soccer League, comparing it to how BPL conducted its affairs. He was part of the delegation that went on a bench-marking in that country last week. “In South Africa, the league takes serious care on its clubs, players are insured and ticketing is solely the baby of the clubs. Here nobody seems to take care of us, we are supposed to fetch for our own sponsors, take care of ourselves yet the league claims responsibility over us,” he said.
Shah further accused the league of lack of failure to account. He says, even up to now, the league has yet to account for last season’s finances. Shah who is also the treasurer of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), is of the view that the league has misplaced goals because even up to date, clubs are yet to receive their monthly grants. “It is difficult to see through the entire season, it is worse even up to now, teams are yet to receive their grants, nobody seems to care,” he lamented.
His condemnations are somewhat ringing true considering the state of affairs at Lekidi football Centre. Shah boasts that he was the first man to call for e-ticketing systems. He says he has long advocated that this ticketing system should be taken into the administration of the clubs and not the league committee. “I am the one who advocated that premier league clubs should be allowed to sell and distribute tickets for their own survival, you see the league should help us generate income not the other way round,” he said.
Although the Rollers’ financier claims that there is no love lost between him and the league, his views cannot altogether be ignored. To vindicate himself, he said all the league‘s sponsorship and contracts leaves a lot to be desired. The league is bracing to enter into a cashless deal with national television station, Btv. This therefore means, if nothing changes, premier league games will be beamed on Btv but clubs will be deprived of their rights to get income from the station.
There is a clash of sponsors and it seems the league is taking time to resolve the issue that has left the National Stadium as a white elephant. League games cannot be played at the stadium because Mascom has branded the stadium, a development that Botswana Telecommunication Cooperation (BTC) does not want to condone. BTC, as the title sponsors feels aggrieved that Mascom get mileage from a league powered and driven by them. The two companies outside football are fierce network services competitors.
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It’s do or die for Zebras
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.”
OBED ITANI CHILUME STADIUM CERTIFIED
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.
Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society
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
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.