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BPLs big cut: from 16 to 12 teams?

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is bracing for showdown talks with its structures should they heed a German football scientist, Christoph Rocholl’s advice of cutting down the number of premier league teams from 16 to 12.

Rocholl is said to have made the recommendation while he toured the country to carry out the feasibility study of developing the local game. He is expected to compile his report before departing the country at the end of November. Sometimes in 2008, especially during the Bosele declaration report- a conclusion made by BFA in a hotel at Selibe Phikwe of commercializing football- a decision was taken to reduce the number of premier league competing teams. 

The motion was shot down by BFA regions, arguing that some of the teams would never get a chance to play in the elite league.  The detractors of this idea also highlighted that, it is only at the premier league where there is better chance of coming face to face with reasonable finances.

It appears that Rocholl is awakening the idea after having been given the mandate to study the content of local football. Those behind this thought believe that competition among the league teams will be heightened together with the fact that better finances will be spread across the teams.  As things stand, in a premier league format of 16 teams, clubs receive monthly grants of P50 000.  This figure can be improved if lesser teams make up the elite league.  

It is said Rocholl, although not proudly maintained, believes that lopsided results can be improved once the teams are reduced. According to sources, Rocholl argues that resources are not adequate to run a 16 premier league teams; this includes playing fields and availability of astute coaches.

It is not clear how the implementation of the idea will impact on the already existing structures of the association. As of now, there is a mini- league powered by Mascom known as “Top 8.” Whether the tournament will be affected is another issue subject to internal discussions.

BFA is expected to meet with the premier league office to discuss the widespread issue already diving football opinion. The 16 premier league format was introduced in 2004/5 and the league was won by Township Rollers, fresh from winning the First division North league.

Rocholl is a Sports Scientist who works for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has worked in Costa Rica in the 1980's and helped to develop the youth in general and building academies in particular. He has been credited with the rise of Costa Rica who recently made it into the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Brazil (2014). In 2009, he was tasked with developing grassroots football and coach education in Honduras. “This seasoned Technical Expert has assisted emerging football in nations like India in creating development policies and plans tailored for their skills, abilities and strengths,” reads part of his credentials.

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Big Guns for Botswana Grand Prix

20th March 2023

The National Stadium will be lit up with fireworks on April 29, 2023, as some of the best international athletes will participate in the maiden Botswana Grand prix.

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AFRICA’S RECOVERY: Sports as game changer

13th March 2023

The year 2022 witnessed unprecedented phenomena. Several Africans- Gotytom Gebreslase, Sharon Lokedi, Victor Kiplangat, Tamarit Tola and many others- swept the World’s marathons records.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting control measures implemented in several countries, led to many high-level sports competitions being cancelled or shelved, the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games was moved to 2026.

Founder and Executive Chairman, African Sports and Creative Institute, Will Mabiakop, says the inability to hold traditional and amateur sports events have had a serious effect on public health overall, including mental health, sparking a revolution whereby athletes began to talk more openly about stress, mental overload and performance anxiety.

“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies before the crisis, no longer on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). COVID-19 deepened interdependence between SDGs, making them harder to achieve, especially SDG 10 (reducing inequality) and SDG 5 (gender equality_ as the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on poorer countries, and heavier burdens (such as care work) fell to women.”

Mabiakop stresses that as policymakers contemplate actions to speed up recovery and build resilience, they must argue that sports and creative businesses should play a central feature in this effort.

“The sports economy worldwide is estimated at 5% of GDP, but only 0.5% in Africa. If exploited, Africa’s sports and creative industries can offer policymakers innovative solutions. Especially, as regards job creation, and providing employment to the 15 million people entering the job market annually.”

HOW CAN THE INDUSTRY DO THIS?

By leveraging the two-for-one concept: past studies shown that a 1% growth in the economy delivers a 2% job increment in this sector (these ratios are calculated using data from 48 African countries and adjusted to the reality of the sports economy in Africa by the authors). There are between 30 and 50 job types, in sports and creative industries, respectively. These jobs do not fade away with the first major shock.

Mabiakop indicated that policymakers can use these industries to tackle multiple crises- jobs, poverty, and climate risks. Sports diplomacy- defined as communication, representation and negotiation in or through the prism of sports- has proven effective in building inclusive and cohesive societies. Moreover, sports and the creative industry can support better mental health and well-being, both important for productivity.

“Policymakers can also be true to the game by leveraging culture and tradition to celebrate identity and reap commercial value in sports, textiles and jewelry. Creative sectors allow deeper connection with culture, are not easily copied and provide great economic potential.”

He said supporting grassroots sports has powerful distributional effects. “Fortunately, technology has made reaching wide audiences easier, generating higher rates of success when talent is discovered.”

However, Mabiakop held that potential pitfalls must be highlighted. “First avoid build it and they will come policies with infrastructures denuded from the rest of the ecosystem. Like the many sports stadiums left largely unused.”

“Policymakers must remain mindful of how these sectors move the needle in human capital development. Also, align the requisite public policies needed for progress from grassroots participation to professional sports, and even to international sporting events. They should also support investment instruments to render these sectors performant.”

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BFA to pay Taylor P330 000

7th March 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) has been ordered to pay its former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Goabaone Taylor over P330 000 as a compensation for her unfair dismissal last year February.

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