The build up to the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Special General Meeting scheduled for April 1st this year can be best described as a comedy of errors. Following the resignation of four executive committee members, the Association has been thrown into pandemonium.
Affiliates are said to be bracing themselves for an April fool’s prank as the association is at sixes and sevens over which constitution to use to fill up the four vacant posts in the national committee – the BAA finds itself having two contradicting documents as the constitution. This confusion, according to the affiliates, means that the association will not fill the vacant positions as per expectation, as loopholes from the two constitutions which are ‘used interchangeably’ cannot solve the puzzle the association finds itself in.
The two documents are littered with loopholes which could haunt the association in the future. The new constitution which was amended in 2015 at Oasis Motel is yet to be ratified by the general membership hence it cannot be put to use at the upcoming meeting. On the other hand, the old constitution has been trampled upon following the resignation of the fourth EXCO member (PRO) on the 6th of this month.
While the association finds itself deep in constitutional confusion, some affiliates have suggested that on April fool’s day, they come up with a special resolution to allow for the vacant posts’ filling using neither constitution. Affiliates believe that, after that is achieved (filling vacant posts), they can deliberate on how to manage the crisis without any pressure. Other Members are buying the idea amid qualms from others who want the old constitution to be followed, with the seating members dissolved.
The livid affiliates will not let sleeping dogs lie as they want to clean the stench suffocating at the athletics association. “Those in the committee should vacate it and we call the elections using the old constitution. We are not going to rush anything, BNSC could run the office if anything. We don’t mind if we can vote in May we want to sweep athletics,” said one member.
According to the 2011 (old) constitution clause 12.7, “In the event that four positions fall vacant, the executive committee shall automatically dissolve and the remaining officers shall vacate office immediately. The BAA secretariat shall take over and call a special General meeting within 21 days.” Nonetheless after that fourth resignation early this month, the secretariat never took over and the meeting has been called outside the 21 days. Further, the constitution (old) stipulates that with four positions falling vacant the association shall assemble for the whole EXCO elections, but surprisingly the meeting invitation was penned by (EXCO member) treasure Brian Mosweu and it shall decide the fate of only four vacant positions contrary to the constitution as per the new constitution.
The new constitution which Mosweu ‘erroneously quoted’ in the invitation letter, cannot be allowed to prevail because “some of the positions which some EXCO members are currently holding are not there in the new constitution, meaning that the positions are null and void like the Treasurer’s. The new constitution has a total structure which we have not agreed upon as the general assembly like the three Vice Presidents while we have one President. So what positions are we going to fill? Are the positions consistent with the current structure as per the old constitution?” Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) Secretary Raymond Phale rhetorically asked in a letter addressed to BAA Secretariat dated March 13 2017.
Phale further advised, “We have observed that the remaining EXCO members are eager to continue serving the athletics family and we do not want to deny them that chance, yet we want proper and good governance to prevail.” Gaborone Runners Club (GRC) has also expressed worry over the unfolding crisis. “We suggest that the following actions should immediately be implemented; reversal of your letter dated 10th March 2017, vacation of office by the remaining members of the Executive committee. Taking the office by the BAA Secretariat and issuance of the statement to that effect, countdown of 21 days to elections,” a letter undersigned by Zambia Champi recommended.
With the Special resolution on the cards, some are throwing their names to fill the posts. Botlhale Paphane, Zambia Champi, Thari Mooketsi and Tsoseletso Magang are rumoured to be eyeing the Presidency while Kenneth Kikwe is setting his eyes on the VP post, former PRO Ipolokeng Ramatshaba, Lulu Basinyi and Argo Lefatshe are vying for the same portfolio. Only Tsoseletso Magang had showed interest in the Secretary General post according to sources.
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.
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.
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.