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BVF tittering on thin ice

Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) is skidding on thin ice as all their efforts to acquire sponsorship for the league are yet to bear fruit. So far, no investor has come forth, and according to BVF president, Daniel Molaodi, the chances are growing narrower by the day.

Furthermore, according to Molaodi, if lady luck does not visit them sooner, there will be no league action this year. The Special General Meeting whose date has yet to be announced is expected to be just a window dressing activity to decide the fate of the sport believed to be headed to a dark bottomless pit of misery.

“We are not anywhere closer to anything as yet,” Molaodi said. By far the only response from prospective partners that were promising since the beginning of last year when the negotiations were instigated is, “we will get back to you.” This, he said, was despite BVF leadership’s optimism.   He said that as it is, the sport is set to traverse a thorny terrain.

“Normally when everything is in order we start the league around this time but for now, we haven’t got any update but we have engaged consultants to help us solicit for sponsors of which we will meet them next week to asses if there is anything promising,” Molaodi said on Wednesday afternoon.

Volleyball was once hailed as one of the best performing sporting codes in the region and enjoying backing from communications giant Mascom. The only tournament that BVF is assured of this year is the Capital BMW in September which was also compromised last year as the deal could not be closed in time for it to be commenced. According to the President, in the absence of a sponsor, the BVF leadership intends to meet with the clubs where they will decide the fate of their sport.

Meanwhile, the clubs are keeping their fingers crossed that concerted efforts by their leadership starts to bear fruit at least by next week.  “There is that possibility of the league not commencing or being played without a sponsor but without sponsorship, it will compromise the competition because as teams we have to sustain players by giving them those allowances and other incentives. Besides, how are we going to honour games in places like Francistown where we spend around P10, 000 for a single trip?” Kalavango Chairperson Lesedi Hule said.

At the end of the season should the league be played without sponsorship, teams depending on their budgets will record a shortfall of P120, 000. “That is why I’m saying that this is going to compromise everything, some of our players are based in Maun and northern districts, so we transport them here and offer them accommodation because they are talented compared to those in Gaborone and surrounding areas. So without sponsorships we will be having nothing to give them at the end of the day hence we will have to get rid of them,” Hule added.

Last year, Volleyball was caught up in the same fix, where the league nearly commenced without a sponsor or was not played at all when Mascom pulled the plug on them. However Minister Thapelo Olopeng came to the sport’s rescue and convinced the company not to pull out, pending arrival of new league partners.

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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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