Football players of various leagues within the African continent, including Botswana, have been given a new lease of life by the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro), in conjunction with footballers Union Botswana (FUB) to demand their dues from their clubs within specified parameters.
A new ruling by the Federation of International Football (FIFA), a global football governing body, which took close to 18 months to be addressed, agrees that players who are owed salaries by their clubs, or mistreated anyhow be allowed to break their contracts. These players will then be able to seek compensation after breaking their contracts. As a punishment, it is further indicated that clubs that refuse to pay players will be banned from taking part in selling, loaning and buying of players in any transfer window.
The new rule comes into effect few days after players of Mochudi Center Chiefs, and most recently Gaborone United and Gilport Lions boycotted training and football matches in protest of their unpaid dues. However, FIFA together Footballers’ Union noted that a lot of work still has to be done for African players to finally walk to the gates of justice. It is indicated that in many cases, football players plying their trade in Africa either have no work contracts let alone copies of the contractual documents.
When responding to this publication’s enquiry, Clifford Mogomotsi, Mochudi Centre Chiefs media liaison who sometimes represents the club at board league meetings said clubs must now start introspecting. He is of the view that it is now wise to commit to what each party can afford. “I think this now calls for introspection, both players and clubs should agree to what is affordable, image a situation where a team is not allowed to sell or buy players, it will very painful,” he lamented.
A survey carried by football unions bodies within Africa under the theme; Global Employment Report, indicates that there are over 40% of players reported cases of overdue payments. In Gabon alone, a country that has twice hosted the African soccer piece (AFCON) has recorded the highest incidence of delayed pay in the world. The percentage stands at 96 followed unbelievably by Tunisia with 94%. Botswana has recorded 41% thus far while South Africa recorded low cases with 25%. Ghana comes last with 23%.
It is further observed that these players’ often times chose to remain playing despite dire conditions as they harbor dreams of snatching a contract with Europeans clubs or where conditions are better to finally start earning big monies. This is the case because local clubs often play a key role in transfers by issuing required paper work.
Premier League Chiefs Executive Officer (CEO), Thabo Ntshinogang said although his office is yet to see the correspondence from FIFA, it is a welcome development to ensure that all contracts are adhered to. Just like Mogomotsi, he observed that the standard of football in the country will drop to lower ebb particularly when clubs are not allowed to be active in the transfer window. “While my office has not yet seen the rule, I believe it is about time such clubs are punished. In the same vein, the clubs should not promise players what they cannot afford because once penalized football in the local scene will no longer be competitive, he observed.
FUB Secretary General Kgosana Masaseng said that, “the changes will help us to avoid the abusive conduct that our members have been subjected to. This will also improve governance at club level in relation to the new club licensing requirements. Our confidence is in to the full execution of the new dispensation.”
Masaseng continued, “It is an important milestone towards the improvement of the welfare of the players. You will be aware that in our global survey that we conducted last year, it came out clearly that players were under unbearable working conditions. It is not surprising that overdue payables was one of the top concerns raised by the players and now this will serve as a remedy for such a challenge. Our efforts have come to fruition and we look forward to some reforms that will improve the lives of the players who remain central to the growth of the game yet they do not reap the rewards from the service rendered.”
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.
The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.
Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.
The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.
The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.
“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.
In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.
He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.
When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.
Township Rollers is anticipated to spent around P 50 000 to expatriate their foreign based players amid ravaging corona virus threats. The club, in collaboration with the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) tested Francis Afriyie, Fabian Assagou Guy and Kamogelo Matsabu before they can head to their native countries.
The trio are awaiting the results which are all expected to come out negative, following which they will immediately board planes to their various destinations. Afriyie was a Rollers striker from Ghana.
Matsabu, regarded the darling of the club is heading back to South Africa while Guy signed by the club but has never impressed, will board a plane back to Ivory Coast.It is likely that both Matsabu and Guy will return as they are still contracted to Rollers. However, Afriyie will not return after failing Rollers litmus test.
The striker failed to break into the starting 11 of head coach Frank Nuttall for the season and it appeared that frustration got to him. And when it finally knocked him down, the striker in a rough and unexpected remonstration stormed out of the bench while a Rollers game was on.
The former Gho Maria striker penned a two year deal in January and it is rumoured that his contract was heavily incentivized, catapulting him to being one of the highest paid players at Rollers.His end of season departure will now put a serious question mark over Rollers’ recruitment policy.
He becomes the fourth foreign striker to fail the club examinations and released while on contract. Before him was, Mthokosize Msomi from South Africa, Terrence Mandawa from Tanzania and Fabian Mbowa from Ivory Coast. Msomi and Mandawa’s release were sanctioned by former coach Nikola Kavazovic. Mbowa is loaned to Police XI to create space and playing opportunity for the now departing Afriyie.
Releasing Afriyie will now mean that the club’s striking woes continue. Rollers management complained at times last season at the lack of productivity from their strikers but they hoped that striker Tumisang Orebonye and other targeted signings, aided perhaps by Edwin Moalosi who remains on the books, could fire an upturn.
However, it was never meant to be as they finished the season second behind league winners, Jwaneng Galaxy.
Black Leopards head coach, Joel Masutha, is reported to have orchestrated a move that could see mid fielder-cum-striker, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, being dropped by Leopards.
WeekendSport has learnt that the coach summoned the Zebras former captain to a one-on-one meeting a month ago to relay the bad news. It is reported that Masutha told the player that he is surplus to requirement and therefore he will not be selected for any game unless he opts to leave.
Reports further state that Tsotso was not encouraged to fight for his position but instead was told that there are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities and helping the club to dodge the dreaded relegation axe.Ngele therefore is waiting for his contract to expire before plotting his next move. He is said to be torn between playing for one more year in South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.
The Rollers decision will once again hinge on his private business which he would love to monitor closely. He owns a sports clothing label where he already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold. He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm.
He played in crucial matches and his stunning free kick against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.It is said Ngele’s future at Thohoyandou- a location where Black Leopards is based- encountered problems of many kinds. His future is believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.
The player is also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury. Ngele had signed a two year deal, but as things stand, the left footed midfielder is heading out as his contract staggers to an end. He is believed to be earning close to R80 000 after tax deductions.
The lifestyle and living conditions at Thohoyandou are also seen as factors that further complicate Ngele’s situation hence the sudden collapse of concentration in football.Ngele is said to be represented by Tim Sukazi who still hopes that the player’s breakthrough career is worth fighting for.
When signed by high spending Mamelodi Sundowns almost 5 years ago, he was represented by Mike Makaab, also a renowned football agent in South Africa.It is growing precarious for Ngele who was chained for longer spells at Sundowns.
But when a move to Leopards was announced, there was a high expectation that the player was nearing his revolutionary season.