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BPL in Btv contract headache

Botswana Premier League (BPL) board of governors is in yet another contract lockdown just a few weeks before the expected commencement date of the league. WeekendSport has learnt that the premier league has since engaged the state owned Botswana television (Btv) to re-negotiate new terms ahead of the 2017-18 season.

The Botswana Football Association (BFA), as the football mother body has also been dragged in what appears to be protracted talks of beaming the local games with teams benefitting from the overall production. Insiders from Lekidi football centre say Btv has entered into a difficult agreement with the premier league, as the contract has many loopholes. Sources with access to the contract reveal that BPL, sometime in 2014 negotiated with Btv where financial benefits decreased with each passing year. It is said the two parties inked down a 5 year long deal.

According to sources, in the first year Btv was popping out P9 million while an amount of P7 million came out on the second year. On the third year, Btv had agreed to spend P5 million for the whole intention of benefiting the elite teams. On Wednesday this week, some high ranking members of the premier league board together with some associates of the federation were seen and pictured at the Btv boardroom-possibly to deliberate on the matter. It is anticipated that Btv will heed the premier league’s cry. To an extent, BTC, who are the headline sponsors of the league are said to be monitoring the situation with abated breath.

In the expiring contract, the two parties had agreed to broadcast a maximum of 70 games scheduled for both midweek and weekends. It was seen by those who drive the domestic game towards commercialization as the right and timely decision that, in all respects, answers the long standing demands of the sponsors, BTC. The sponsors always wanted that a maximum of 60 games be aired as per the agreement and terms of the contract.  Reports say the number of games is an important aspect in the contract because more games bring more spectators while failure always breeds unnecessary tension.

When BFA and BTV considered the deal years back, it was said that a review was to be made as to whether more television cameras were to be added. In the current contract, it was agreed that a total of 8 cameras will be used per premier league game. It was also reported that the Btv operational body would contemplate mounting touch screens to make half time and full time match analysis interesting and more approachable. This is the scenario currently witnessed with world class broadcast channels in the mould of SuperSport.

The two parties had discussed extensively the operation costs that the state owned television was expected to incur. Btv has been paying the association lump sums in the region of 6 million pula as part of costs and benefits to premier league teams, but it is said this is coming to a crushing end. However, Thabo Ntshinogang who is the acting premier league Chief Executive Officer (CEO) declined to comment, saying “meetings are yet to be held to discuss the matter.”

Outcome of the Wednesday meeting

Sources speaking with WeekendSport reveal that there was no clear head way in manoeuvring over the last two years of the contract. However, it is said Btv showed signs of willingness to adopt whatever proposal BPL might present. Informants say the state-owned broadcast channel management has requested the local football federation to furnish them with any suggestion they feel comfortable with. The sources further suggested that the premier league might now consider partnering with another television production company- a procedure that will eventually see Btv buying the production feed. This is motivated by the fact that BTV, often times, complains of lack of capacity particularly when dealing with midweek fixtures.

BTV, according to those close to developments, is ready for whatever decisions BPL takes. Their inability to broadcast a maximum of 60 games as per the contract between BPL and headline sponsors, inadvertently forces them to accept a third party. The production quality has been a subject of discussion for a long time. In the past, the premier league engaged one South African based company called RP production to work with BTV. SuperSport is another broadcaster that is highly considered in dealing with the issue of capacity. Whatever the decision, sources are adamant that an amicable understanding will finally be reached.

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

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.

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Sport

P50 000 to expatriate Rollers players

14th September 2020
FRANCIS AFRIYIE

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.

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Sport

Leopards dump jilted Tsotso

7th September 2020
MOGAKOLODI TSOTSO NGELE

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.

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