Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) and their principals, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), have shown reluctance in instigating an investigation on some athletics officials who were accused of office abuse last year.
Disciplinary hearings, internal and forensic audits by either BAA and BNSC are yet to be done, four months on, WeekendSport has established. Last year September when it surfaced that there were financial irregularities that had to be answered for, a BAA administration officer, Holiday Matibini and some officials were fingered for the feud. Tempers had flared up and the BAA leadership had threatened that heads would roll. Matibini has since been suspended, three other officials were implicated.
Curiously, according to sources, the case has been swept under the carpet without the disciplinary hearings that were slated for last year being carried out. This has raised eyebrows and some within BAA are beginning to ask questions as to why the leadership has developed cold feet and swept the matter under the rug.
“The matter is still under investigation, the police are handling it,” some athletics officials have commented. Sources however say the dilly-dallying by BAA influential minds is a cosmetic approach on the matter to let it die slowly as they are protecting their ‘honey pot’. Speaking in an interview with Weekendsport, the maverick Matibini said he is eagerly awaiting the disciplinary hearing and further confirmed what sources have stated that, “it will open a can of worms”.
“I’m yet to be called for the disciplinary meeting and I’m eagerly waiting so that I can spill the beans on the corruption that is besieging athletics. What I know is the case is still with the CID/police,” he said before adding that he was only served with a suspension letter but he wrote back enquiring as to why he was being suspended, but he never got a reply.
This publication has further gathered that, the chairperson of the said disciplinary committee threw in the towel on the matter at the eleventh hour under unclear circumstances. Matibini on the other hand, it is argued, was used as a pawn in a deadly chess game. Claims are that, all charges laid against him are unfounded and that fate is bound to save him. Matibini has also dismissed all the charges against him which include promising a certain catering company and guest house businesses with BAA upon the arrival of the Olympic team, saying he did what his superiors instructed.
“There is no how I can forge a signature, that’s why I am saying I want the disciplinary hearing and investigations so it exposes the person who did that,” Matibini said. “The Government Purchasing Orders could only be signed by the treasurer, VP and Secretary, so tell me why the poor boy was dismissed, in fact he was supposed to be suspended with others who were in the act,” said one of those close to the developments.
Athletics observers further say, should BAA continue with the matter, it will open a can of worms which is highly likely to leave the association paralysed as some influential minds will face the wrath of the law. “The case is not likely to resurrect because some of the people implicated on the matter are the EXCO members, and should they push it with vigour the whole committee will rot in jail,” said one source within BAA.
Other financial transgressions facing the officials are financial embezzlement and fraud among others. It is believed that more misdemeanours were bound to crop up as investigations unfolded. BAA Secretary General, Kebaitse Legojane said he would not respond to this publication’s enquiries on the matter, “I don’t have any comments regarding everything that happened last year because there are still investigations going on.”
The BNSC in conjunction with the athletics body which were anticipated to carry out forensic and internal audits to establish the extent of the office abuse are also on ice. BAA EXCO are said to have connived in blocking the processes as all those who have dipped their hands into the till will be exposed including leaders who “always get international allowances while they are within the borders.
The Government of Botswana through the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, has expressed its underlying desire to reawaken and improve sport policy.
This is also in line with the declaration made by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) this week about the need to improve sport performance in the country. The sport policy was first enacted in 2001 when the Department of Sport and Recreation was under the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs.
The review of this policy is expected to commence soon and strive to address all socio-economic problems bedevilling sport. The examination will start from the elements that speak to the direct processes of national dialogue of sport and come up with recommendations for improvement.
As things stand, the Sport Ministry has coordinated a task force to deal with the taxing issue of school sports where teachers have downed tools demanding special kind of payment for partaking in extracurricular activities. The government through various means has been made aware that sport forms an integral part of the country’s vision.
If the policy is finally revised, the country and other stakeholders will eventually achieve national development, unity and continued economic growth. “The national Sport Commission Act is also being reviewed to facilitate sport to contribute to the economy through commercialization and professionalism, as well as to improve the welfare and the rights to our sportspersons,” Masisi said in his address.
The review will once again take a long route of extensive consultative processes where critical factors were initially identified as continuous constraint to sport development. There is a wide ranging view that sport is solely for recreation. This anomaly is fast becoming a matter of yesteryears as more athletes are making a living out of sport.
In October of 1997, a discussion paper on sport policy development was prepared. At the time, the workshop brought together policy and decision makers. The discussions precisely centred on issues of sport participation and development. Participants included among others, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC), Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) and National Sports Associations.
There was the discovery of limited funding in sport and poor sporting facilities in the country. This has negatively impacted on the performance of national sports associations, particularly on the global stage. As a measure to this problem, the government has decided to build 10 mini stadia to up participation and performance.
In 2001 when the policy was formulated, there was an agreement that the national guiding principles of democracy, development, unity, self-reliance and botho are cardinal to the development strategy of socio-economic development planning. The Ministry believes that sport and recreation in Botswana have a close relationship with all these national principles.
When speaking to this publication, the Chief Executive Officer of BNSC, Tuelo Serufho said there is indeed an overwhelming appetite to improve sport performance and participation in the country. “Yes we need to engage both BNSC and BNOC to improve and review the sport policy more because it has been overtaken by time…it needs to be aligned with modern sports trends,” Serufho briefly shared.
The world football governing body, Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), has ordered trouble torn Mochudi Centre Chiefs to compensate their former coach, Philani Mabhena, after unceremoniously dismissing him in the summer of 2019 with only a few months left on his contract.
FIFA agreed with Mabhena that Magosi, as Chiefs are affectionately called breached his employment contract. FIFA is of the view that Chiefs had no prima facie evidence that could lead to unilateral termination of a contract. The decision of FIFA’s status committee is that Chiefs should pay the Zimbabwean born coach an amount of BWP 111, 100 within 30 days.
The money is divided into two categories. BWP 56 100 which is derived from the period of 11 August 2019 until the end of contract. The other amount is P55 000 which was accumulated between January 2019 until a time he was sacked. Those amounts was accumulation of unpaid wages.
FIFA warned that more stringent action will be taken against Chiefs should they fail to deposit the amount before the set deadline. Mabhena claimed that Chiefs, before his contract was terminated, was never paid his signing on fee of P 15 000 as settlement remuneration.
He also argued that he had gone a couple of months without receiving his monthly wages. According to the terms of the contract, he was supposed to be paid P 15 000 every month. Chiefs to their bravery, has accepted the outstanding salary arrears of the former coach that stretched to P 56 100.
FIFA accused the shrinking Kgatleng giants of negligence and refusal to honour contractual obligations and this has brought far reaching consequences. Should Chiefs fail to honour FIFA orders, they are likely to be banned from signing coaches and players. They are also likely to forfeit points when the football season begins until full payment is completed.
The debts come at a time when the club desperately seeks a premier league return. They were rumoured to be eyeing to buy one premier league status to compete for the grandest prizes like before. Chiefs were relegated because of poor administration at board level. The team tried many times to professionalize but each attempt was beaten by the club society raging wars that consequently stalled progress.
Mochudi Centre Chiefs sporting club was first registered in July of 1974. The club was registered as a society under the societies Act of Botswana as a football team. It is noted that the club participated in the upper league of BFA under the terms prescribed in the constitution of the association together with the confinement of the societies act.
Premier League rookies, Sua Flamingos have fired their coach Raizor Tsatsilebe for allegedly speaking up for his players. Tsatsilebe who joined the team last season and helped them win Debswana First Division North league, was at the end of the season thanked with a one year contract extension.
His stay at Sua was to end in July of 2021 but things took a turn for the worst recently when management was said to be fed up with his demands. Reports claim that the Sua management felt the coach was more on the side of the players and did not approach things holistically, a move that led to his untimely expulsion.
“Since his arrival this side, he has been vocal about treatment of players, their welfare and as you know, players here have not been receiving their salaries but are given allowances on monthly basis. He felt maybe the club should at least pay half salaries as they have now resumed training. He also requested that the team should sign some players but that did not happen despite promises by the club. The final nail was when management left his goalkeeper coach, Terence Modikwe and signed Kagiso Tshelametsi without consulting him,” said a source at the team.
The club Chairman, Tirelo Thebe, confirmed that they have decided to part ways as with the feeling that they can no longer work together. “Yes it’s true we met with the coach and we agreed to terminate his one year contract because the relationship has soured. We cannot disclose more than this because it’s an internal matter and in the meantime our assistant coach will take over on interim basis while we look for his replacement,” said Thebe.
Tsatsilebe on his part felt hard done by the team after promoting them to the elite league- something they have been failing to achieve. “They are the ones who opted to terminate the contract not me and they couldn’t give me reasons why they are terminating. It’s a pity we coaches encounter such things in our lives but it has to continue,” said the 49 year old coach.