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BAA goes for ‘Quick Fix’

Despite the comical series witnessed last weekend when Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) family recycled the same faces to rescue the code from drowning further into muddy waters, affiliates and their leadership now appear to be signing from the same hymn book.


Since February there has been a suffocating stench of power struggle at the association which left the committee limping. This followed the resignations of four Executive Committee (EXCO) members. A quick fix saw the BAA fill in for the four deserted positions, and affiliates have since asked the association’s leadership to put their house in order.


Affiliates have revealed what they want the new committee to prioritize as they begin to hit the ground running. Interestingly, it appears even the leadership is rocking the same boat with the clubs as all the leadership has marked all the key areas of action in their urgent list.
At the top of their do list is the constitution conundrum, which despite filling of the four positions last weekend, proves to be a thorny matter. At last weekend elections, BAA decided to use the new constitution, shelving the old version which has been in use.  


The new constitution however directs that there should be three Vice Presidents while other positions like Treasurer and PRO are not enshrined but both posts have been included in the new committee. “This is just a compromise committee which will have to sit down and clearly follow the new establishment,” Oabona Theetso of Jwaneng Athletics Club advised. The impromptu elections, according to some, were coerced by threats from the Botswana Sports Commission (BNSC). The BNSC had said it will place the BAA under administration should issues not be resolved.


“Our constitution is a major problem and we have given ourselves 60 days to address it, then we will meet with the affiliates on the way forward,” said Kenneth Kikwe, the BAA vice president. It is said there is a taskforce sent to meet BNSC to engage it on the whole structure of the BAA which was formulated by the Commission. The Thari Mooketsi led association, is also tasked with bringing sponsors to the sport which normally hoist the nation’s flag high at international events.


The association has been struggling to convince the business community to partner ever since Senn Foods pulled out some years back. The Senn Foods withdrawal has somehow been ascribed to lack of confidence by the corporate world on the association that is continuously rocked by scandals. “What I can assure you of is we will get back to them especially those that have in the past partnered with us because we have a good relationship with them and I guess looking at athletics they will be eager to work with us,” Kikwe said.


Clubs are concerned about the lack of incentives at the BAA hosted events especially the national championships. “It is difficult to have big athletes competing in the competitions because they want to be beautifully rewarded and you can’t give them P1000 for coming here,” added a chairperson from another club.


With Kikwe as the VP tasked with technical development for the association, affiliates are confident that the Orapa Athletics Club man will lead them to the Promised Land. “The last time we had coaching clinics was 10 years ago, our coaches are not that technically sound, we are just doing trial an error and with Kikwe there, I’m confident that he will work on it,” Theetso who is also a coach said.


His plea has not fallen on deaf ears: “That’s true, we have funds for development which will have to use. Right now I have asked the regional coordinators to give me the number of coaches, those whom are qualified and unqualified so we at least have one coaching course this year,” Kikwe said on Thursday morning. He further added that they will ensure that they strengthen the coaching commission which will be tasked with national team selection and analysis of the athletes. The new committee is expected to meet with the affiliates after some months for update on the ‘life in the office.’

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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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