Contenders to the BTC premiership throne, Township Rollers, are planning a winter of change in over-hauling the current ageing squad, to accommodate youngsters.
WeekendSport is reliably informed that a new dawn is looming, with intentions carefully mooted to cut down salary wages incurred by the club’s multi -millionaire investor, Jagdish Shah. It is reported that Joel Mogorosi who deputises Maano Ditshupo, club leading top goal scorer, Terrence Mandaza and veteran Mogogi Gabonamong are some of the players anticipated to be booted.
There are also thoughts surrounding the cases of defender, Tshepo Motlhabankwe and midfield king pin, Lawrence Majawa, but the management is believed to be adopting a more cautious approach with regards to their issues. Motlhabankwe is planning retirement at his own will and this has swiftly driven the club into a terrain difficult to manoeuvre, as it will struggle to identify his perfect replacement. This according to club sources will push Rollers to negotiate with the former Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Extension Gunners defender for a possible stay.
Identical to Motlhabankwe’s scenario is Majawa’s who is likely to be given a one year contract extension, although he divides Rollers’ opinion, sources have indicated. The name of winger, Motsholetsi Sikele also cropped up and it is believed his lack of commitment at the club is the reason for his looming departure. Senegalese born striker, Pape Abdul Ndaw, is also being monitored by the club management. There is a belief that he was not given adequate game time this season. He and Sikele are among the few whose future at the club remains uncertain.
Meanwhile, the club is also set on cutting costs and their starting point, according to sources, is players’ salary wages. Mogorosi and Mandaza are said to be earning around P25 000 each, Ndaw and Majawa each earn close to P18 000. Built under the multi-millionaire project of Shah, the players were recruited to be an embodiment of both the club’s present and future. But all of them are now on the wrong side of 30. Motlhabankwe is 37; Majawa is 36 while Mogorosi and Mogogi are both 34.
Information reaching this publication suggests that the club will target both Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gaborone United where it intends to plough talent from. The talent of these players, along with striker, Terrence Mandaza, who is also above 30 should make the case for Rollers to finally make headline impact, particularly that they are leading the log standings, although having fallen out of the CAF competition and Mascom top 8 finals. Coach Mogomotsi Mpote agrees that as a unit, they could find an edge and this band of serial winners can get yet another glimpse at glory.
Impact players at Rollers Mandaza
The striker is leading as top goal scorer with 12 goals. The team has scored a total of 43 goals from 21 games, and there is no doubt that Mandaza’s impact has been felt. Having returned to the club after spending a torrid time with Maritzburg United, Mandaza, at his prime, wrote his name into Rollers folklore.
He remains the only striker to have scored 40 goals in a season in all competitions. He found the net 31 times in premier league games and 9 goals were scored in the coca-cola cup tournament. This was captured during the 2010 season. But this season, there is doubt that the Zimbabwean striker will replicate his previous form hence the decision to part ways with him.
Motlhabankwe Often times named ‘The Good Shepherd,’ Motlhabankwe has been the pillar of strength for the Mma Masire based side. A defence marshalled by him and Mogogi has leaked 14 goals in 21 premier league matches. As a right full back, Rollers has profited more goals from his attack. His ability to turn defence into attack is the prime reason Rollers find it difficult to cut ties with him. He has a vast experience after captaining both Gunners and Chiefs; he formed a fundamental part that saw chiefs winning the league unbeaten in 2008. A similar form and performance carried him into the Rollers fold. He demonstrated maturity all the way.
The sense all have awaken for the business end is enhanced by respective pedigrees of others. Away from the Rollers stage, Mogorosi won Telkom Player of the Season with Bloemfontein Celtic in his maiden season in 2013. Before joining Celtic, he won a golden boot with Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
Mogogi has also led South African power house, Super Sport United to finals of the Nedbank Cup in 2012-13 season against Kaizer Chiefs. If fully fit he might have swung the game Super Sport’s way. Majawa has been the most consistent player of all in Rollers squad; it betrays logic why he was never called to represent his country of birth, Malawi. Rollers media liaison Phempheretlhe Pheto said;”that some of the contracts of players are coming to an end, and when this was discovered, we found out that such contract involves senior players, it is not like we are chasing players.”
The government of Botswana has reportedly approved the dream of hosting African Cup of Nations in 2027 with Namibia as co-host, following a proposal to cabinet by Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare.
WeekendSport learns that the organizing committee dreaming to host the tournament is preparing to hand their hefty book to Confederation of African Football (CAF) when bidding stage comes into open. Botswana Football Association (BFA) has, to this date, managed to win the confidence of the government, and all thoughts around the African football prestigious tournament are given serious attention with acceleration of construction of 10 mini stadia across the country, sources have said.
Furthermore, reports in Namibia state that the Botswana government has approached them with a proposal to co -host the 2027 edition of African tournament. “I can confirm that the minister of sport in Botswana has written to our minister but these are still early days and no decision has been made yet,” Audrin Mathe, an executive director in the Ministry of Sport was quoted by Namibia Sun this week. Meanwhile, Rakgare has said: “It is still an internal issues but yes, we are interested in hosting with Namibia.”
All the while, BFA president who also sits in CAF national executive committee is expected to embody a more emotive promise about the ability of African Cup in Botswana and how it can benefit the citizenry and by extension, the Southern region. With Zimbabwe having come out clean about their intentions to bid for 2034 World Cup, there has been a growing feeling that Botswana should try her luck, and therefore Botswana delegation will be hopeful to walk a fine line.
Although, the commercial potential of a Botswana AFCON Cup is a compelling factor in their favour, following the relative uncertainty of many African countries ( due to political instability, extent of corona virus ) and state of insecurity, BFA is minded not make that their thrust of the case. Hence the concentration on providing a home from home for all teams among Botswana’s diverse population and the opportunity to use the proceeds to advance legacy projects around Africa. The feeling on the ground is that the move might be bold, and some association influential players believe that it will be a matter of upgrading Maun stadium, Masunga and Serowe stadium.
An idea is also harbored that another stadium will be built in around Gaborone to boost the existing National Stadium with the Lobatse and Francistown stadia also expected to play pivotal role. All the while, a more than P20 million operational budget is said to be needed to travel the African countries in convincing them that Botswana is more suitable to host with its security and economy very much stable.
Botswana passes the mark when it comes to transportation, accommodation and hotel facilities. The fact that CAF normally want a country that has hosted youth tournaments before enables Botswana to score points in that it has hosted before. The only problem that might mark Botswana down is road infrastructure. BFA will consider roping in an experienced sport person and the high profile of former players like Diphetogo Selolwane is anticipated to appear for the thoughts building around the bid, and his name will be seen as watershed moment.
The southern region, however, might be dealt a devastating blow following the catastrophe that hit Angola when they hosted the 2010 edition. The Togo team was shot by rebels and panic erupted. However, the field is open and the ever shifting sands of CAF internal politics make the race hard to call and feed fears of horse trading and backroom deals.
A delegation from FIFA, the world football governing body, has left heads rolling after concluding what some call ‘early findings’ that Botswana Football Association (BFA) secretariat has not misused FIFA funds contrary to widespread reports and criticism. This comes to the fore against the much peddled P8.8 million which disappeared within the coffers of the association.
However, FIFA delegation led by David Fani, a former BFA boss himself, finds out that the funds have been used to projects they were not initially meant for. The delegation cited money for covid-19 which was meant to cushion clubs from distress due to lack of playing and was used to pay BFA employees. However, the findings by FIFA are said to have left the world of football divided on the way forward. They are those who are skeptical about the manner in which investigations were carried out but are afraid to voice out for fear of being victimized or being relieved of their duties.
While FIFA is adamant that the funds were misallocated, BFA finds itself at pains to answer a difficult question where some staff members at the finance department were sacked. More complicating the already strained situation is the decision to suspend the Chief Executive Officer, Goabaone Taylor and threatening to expel her while she had an over-riding duty to prioritize BFA funds when corona had ravaged the administration and operational wing of the association.
It might be that the National Executive Committee was building a case for her and would now want to look as if they were saving face when they sidelined her. “During the four day visit, the delegation carried out its assessment and interviewed BFA staff and former employees. At the end of the investigation, the delegation briefed the NEC on initial findings. The delegation informed the NEC that it found no evidence of misappropriation or embezzlement of funds,” reads part of BFA statement.
BFA has claimed that its brand has been “deeply tarnished” and that its “ability to use its resources for positive actions throughout the country, and to meet its mission of supporting and enhancing the game of football” has been “impaired” as a consequence of the actions of the football officials and some sports administrators under their watch. “We are not out of the woods yet, we had made good strides in earning FIFA’s trust; we will wait to see what the remedial action will be. However, we will be tightening our gabs and ensuring that we regain the financial confidence we worked so hard for,” BFA president Maclean Letshwiti said.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place owing to the ever burning issue of mischievous spending at operational level.
While the association coffers have suddenly dried up, with some staff members getting the boot, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has threatened to place the Maclean Letshwiti led association under strict funding for unspecified period of time.
WeekendSport learns that the sport ministry is not happy about the financial status of the association and will want to act before everything get messy.
At the close of last year, the Ministry had to intervene for the Women National Football Team to travel to Ethiopia as BFA had no penny to cover for the travelling costs.
As if that was not enough, the BFA December wages were covered from the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) purse, an abnormality that BFA is at pains to explain.
All these incidents, however, coincide with a time when the Sport ministry is putting in place a new revised modeling for funding. The model requests national sports associations to explain in details the why they will need funding for their calendar of events.
Moreover, the Ministry is eager to prioritize funding basing on the performance of the sport code on a yearly basis.
“Things have changed, we are not going to splash money like we used to do, and we want a code to explain fully how they are going to spend the money,” a source shared.
Moreover, we will be funding looking at the overall performance of the code, we are not going to fund just because it is football and it is loved by many people.”
At worst, the ministry will want the association to account and should BFA fail to balance their books, the National Executive Committee(NEC) is likely to be dissolved by the ministry.
Sources further state that the Ministry’s patience has actually wilted away concerning codes that abuse funds. In the case of BFA, sources point out that they are likely to get half subvention until everything goes back to normalcy.
On a good year, BFA subvention reaches P 5.4million annually. Should the ministry persists, BFA will start operations of the year on a budget of about P 2.7 million. It will not be for the first time the association finds itself bearing the brunt.
Sometimes in 2018 when Tshekedi Khama was the Minister, the association’s subvention were cut down to pay an old standing debt that amounted to P3 million.
However, high ranking officials at the association believe funds can still be accounted for and refuses to accept that they have been reckless when it comes to spending. The official who does not want be named is of the view that the association had to halt FIFA projects and concentrate on incidental expenses brought by COVID -19.
According to BFA expenditure, the CEO gets the higher chunk and that’s where most of the money went. A national trip to South Africa by senior national team has also seen the association spending close to a million.
Moreover, the communication department of the association is bleeding more money after a certain PR agency was appointed nearly two years ago.