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KPMG helps Nico United with transport costs

BCL in provisional liquidation staff and KPMG jointly contributed some money towards Nico United’s transport costs for their remaining away games. BCL’s Liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren’s deputy, Majaga Majaga handed over a P9100 cheque to Nico United on Wednesday afternoon at the club’s office.


KPMG is the company that has been engaged by the Government to liquidate BCL. This bailout comes after the Deputy Mayor of Selebi Phikwe, Molefi Pilane had pleaded with the liquidator to provide Nico United’s transportation for free as they are in a financial crisis. Prior to BCL’s liquidation, BCL was the sole financial partner to Nico, also providing them with transport for free.


Pilane said that he approached the liquidator and pleaded Nico‘s case with him, a matter which Dixon-Warren shared with his colleagues and BCL employees who are still engaged on Care and Maintenance to contribute towards assisting the club. The Deputy Mayor noted that the liquidator has also acceded to their request to grade the club’s ground.


The Deputy Mayor is also pleading with the Town Council to allow Nico United to use the now San Somo Integrated Stadium for training, a matter which has not yet been approved. Pilane emphasises the need for the leadership of the town to do all they can to support Nico so that they do not relegate.


Nico United Chairman, Mothusi Taolo noted that before the mine was closed, there was a five year plan in which floods lights and grass were supposed to have been installed at Nico United stadium but the those developments were taken to Mowana Ball Park instead. Mokwana Ball Park is the premier Softball Pitch in Selebi Phikwe where the finals of the annual Selebi Phikwe Softball Extravaganza is held.


The Club Chairman revealed that that Nico is in a serious financial crisis with debts amounting to thousands and thousands of pula. Nico United is failing to pay salaries, a situation that demoralise the players who have shown solidarity with the club and are fighting earnestly to avoid relegation. Nico’s monthly wage bill stands at around P80, 000.00, the chairman has revealed.


 “Our financial situation is serious. We are paying the players accommodation and utilities and we are even defaulting. Our players have gone for four months without salaries,” he said. He said that the grants from the Botswana Premier League are the ones that they have been sustaining them albeit not being enough to secure them survival.


Other political leaders who have shown solidarity with Nico United by pledging their support are Members of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe East, Nonofo Molefhi and Member of Parliament for Bobonong, Shaw Kgathi. The two are cabinet ministers for Infrastructure, Housing Development and well as Defence, Justice and Security respectively.


Kgathi paid for the team’s accommodation in one of their away games when they were stranded without accommodation in Gaborone. Molefi has also assured the club that he will make accommodation arrange for their next away encounter against Gilport Lions, Taolo has said. Another supporter who times and again bails out the club is Botswana Football Association’s Legal Advisor, Sipho Ziga who comes from Selebi Phikwe. Nico is left with four games which are crucial for its survival. They will be hosting title contenders, Township Rollers on Saturday.  

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KBL closure scuppers BFA deal

25th January 2021
Football

The negotiations involving Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) over elite league sponsorship have suffered a setback as the local brewer this week took what it termed a ‘difficult’ decision to shut down operations.

This effectively means that football sponsorship is back in
its dark corner as all efforts to go back to the field take another nasty twist in the midst of ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is regrettable that this latest total ban on alcohol sales has resulted in the suspension of KBL operations, which will remain in place for as long as the alcohol ban persists. KBL continues its efforts to engage government on this critical issue, which is having an enormous impact on the industry and its extensive value chain,” the company explained.

Although not proudly maintained at Lekidi Football Centre, the company is said to have abandoned talks on explanations revolving around ‘lack of funds.’In the initial agreement, sources say that it was settled that KBL would sponsor the Botswana Football League at a tune of P30million for a period of three years.

It is maintained that the deal was to be relooked and redefined to fit the sponsorship modalities of today’s game.Highly placed sources speaking with this publication however state that BFA is assisting BFL to cajole other companies to come on board as football is about to return to the field.

Top of the list is ABSA Bank who have remained afloat despite the impacts of the virus. The bank is said to be committed to football but sources say it will take a considerable amount of persuasion to see the bank increasing sponsorship.

KBL, in the first phase, were willing to commit without much difficulties but after the storm of COVID-19, the company was to take a back seat and played a waiting game. They reasoned that the continuous lockdown the country has gone under has left them with little income than expected.

But according to sources, KBL is still expressing pleasure to engage with the association again and will further illustrate their willingness to come on board as soon as the corona virus situation subsides.It is said KBL has requested further information regarding sponsorship value from the association and once satisfied, negotiations will resume.

However, some administrators within the National Executive Committee believe KBL’s parting message does not inspire confidence. “KBL‘s phase is over, they gave us hope but it is difficult to keep track of them, COVID-19 has affected every plan,” one member shared.

At the close last season, way before the corona virus impacted the country negatively; BFA revealed that it had long compiled its situation analysis of sponsorship value for the local game. It was understood that the property that is the Premier League could be purchased at a value P 15 million over 43 premier league games.

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BFA proposes new league format

25th January 2021
Maclean letshwiti

Botswana Football Association (BFA) President, Maclean Letshwiti.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is engaged in protracted talks to stage a mini-league as lee-way to ascend into a proper football season by August this year.

The idea is to keep players fit and all football structures functioning as time pressure mounts.Informants say the idea is discussed at the competition office and will soon be forwarded to the National Executive Committee (NEC) for further deliberations.

This therefore means that all leagues across the country will be played for only one round until August where a new full football season will resume. Football has never returned to the field for almost 10 months now due to the corona virus.

The situation on the ground looks gloomy as COVID-19 cases continue to rise with each passing day.
Football clubs are also feeling the pinch with Sua Flamingos becoming the latest victims. The club has been forced to suspend operations as players and members of the technical team test positive for the deadly virus.

While playing a mini-league is a last resort, it is mentioned that no team will be promoted or relegated after the completion of the games.Sources say it is better than folding arms when teams are continuing to pay players without kicking the ball.

The idea of the mini-league therefore means that there will be no prize money but teams will likely survive with grants from identifiable sponsors. Already, the Botswana Football League (BFL) has secured a P 5 million television deal for over three years.

The BFL think tanks contemplate to augment the television deal with sponsorship grants from ABSA bank. According to information, this will keep the league and its secretariat running until everything gets back to normalcy.

“It is true we are thinking to stage a mini league looking at what we have but this is still an infant idea, we are discussing and we will engage NEC going forward,” a member of the association shared.BFA leadership finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place as the motion to kick start the league in February was shot down by the assembly in October of last year.

The movers of the motion argued that high temperatures usually recorded in the South of Sahara desert negatively affects player performance and their overall health conditions. However, there were intentions to commence the league at the earliest possible time but the task force together with the Ministry of Sport wanted players to be tested and football fields be fumigated regularly to avoid spreading the virus.

Early this week, the BFL leadership engaged the Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) to give an update on how football will return. However, this publication cannot adequately establish the detailed plan of the league.

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Orapa United re-sign Ramoraka from TS Galaxy

25th January 2021
LESENYA RAMORAKA

Boteti based side, Orapa United were quick to snatch back Zebras left-back, Lesenya Ramoraka, tying him with a two-year deal after he was released this week by TS Galaxy.

The 26 year-old defender left The Ostriches in 2018 to join Highlands Park who later sold their status last year to renowned football agent Tim Sukazi of TS Galaxy. Ramoraka’s contract was to end this year July.

At the time of the sale, the team then opted not to register him for another season hoping to register him in the January transfer but his injury kept him out for longer than anticipated, forcing TS Galaxy to release him as he was free to start to negotiate with any team that may be interested in him.

“We have signed Ramoraka after assessing his injury and he is in Orapa as we speak doing his rehab.The injury is not bad and we expect him to resume light training anytime from mid- February,” said Kabo William, the club spokesperson.

Ramoraka left an impressive mark at Highlands Park where he played 29 games in all competitions and netting only once. Lee, as he is known in football circles, is one of the most trusted left backs in the country and has been a vital part of the Zebras with his absence felt at the national team.

“The team had wanted to keep him but they were just concerned that his injury was taking long to heal and they opted to release him as you cannot have a player out for too long more especially who is a foreigner,” said a source.

“He had survived the changes at the team and you have to also note that the coach who brought him, Owen Da Gama also just joined TS Galaxy and he is one of the players that he trusted and used so it is not a matter of performance but they couldn’t afford to have him on the side-lines for too long.”

Orapa United have also announced the signing of other players that include; Thabiso Boti formerly with Notwane, Kutlo Kolagano from City Eagles, Galagwe Moyana who was released by Township Rollers, Kagisano Mungu from TAFIC and the team promoted Phemelo Pushudi from their development side.

The Ostriches have released goalkeeper Bophelo Kealeboga who has signed a 2 year deal with Sua Flamingos, Mothusi Johnson who retraced his steps back to Gaborone United, Baboloki Makhura and Abdullah Hamisi.

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