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BPL chairman quits

The Premier League Board is without a chairman-this comes in the wake of Rapula Okaile finally relinquishing his duties as Gaborone United (GU) chairman. Okaile has been in the middle of a maladministration storm, both at the club and his workplace, CMB.

Okaile is said to have no control of the club, where his players continually stage protests demanding their monthly dues.  It is alleged that players have gone without pay for almost three (3) months now. GU General Manager Olebile Sikwane confirmed the development but refused to field further questions from this publication. “We confirm that club chairman Rapula Okaile has resigned from the club as chairman with immediate effect. Okaile cited personal problems in his resignation letter. He has since notified both the league and the BFA,” Sikwane said.

Those in the know have alleged that the former chairman was paving way for club financier, Nicholas Zakhem to also assume duties as the club’s chairman and run the show himself. Rapula assumed the club chairmanship under controversial nomination in 2015. Others however believe that the financial crisis at GU drove him to his decision.

The former GU chairperson formed part of the defiant group that played a pivotal role in unseating the former BFA president, Tebogo Sebego. Okaile was elevated to the BPL hierarchy after Walter Kgabung of Township Rollers and Solomon Mantswe of Police XI were sacked for allegedly conspiring with former BPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi to bleed BPL coffers. Procedurally, Solomon Mantswe who has been assisting Okaile is expected to take over. The board is also considering to rope in Clifford Mogomotsi to the  vice chairperson position.

Okaile leaves GU having not achieved accountability and transparency and having not bridged the gap between it and pace setters Township Rollers. However, some reports also suggest that his resigning was as a result of pressure from his employers at CMB. This is the same company that founds itself in the middle of a corruption storm following reports of financial abuse. It is said he was asked to quit both positions at BPL and GU to focus on clearing CMB’s name following the controversy.

BPL now has pinned its hope squarely on the soldiers of Mantswe to carry forth its mission. The police commissioner is said to have voted in MacLean Letshwiti on the second round to help wrestle power from Sebego. Mantswe fell from the presidential race on the first lap and was cajoled to join forces with Letshwiti troops to unseat the fighting Sebego.

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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