BFA clean commercialization mess
The commercialization riddle which has proven elusive to Botswana football think tanks has pushed the mother body, Botswana Football Association (BFA), to engage an expert to drill local teams on how to manoeuvre smoothly from societies to become commercial entities.
The workshop which is to span from the 1-3rd of December will be facilitated by a FIFA consultant Robert David Middleby. The main objective for this course according to football leadership is to minimize squabbles that have tormented local football when the clubs take the commercialization route especially models teams will have to use in the transition from a society to companies. “We hope the workshop will help teams to know the standards that FIFA wishes to have for professional running of a club and the league also,” BFA Communications and Marketing Chief Tumo Mpatane said.
The course, according to FIFA Development Officer, Ashford Mamelodi was the first thing the current administration of MacClean Letshwiti requested from FIFA. Mamelodi believes that the workshop is the go to golden ball that will eventually give the footballing heads the missing piece in the commercialization puzzle.
“This workshop will help brainstorm and figure out what best can be done to assist the local teams and it will be continuous as what will be done this time around will cultivate the land on what to do in the next months.” He continued to say: “Remember if clubs are string structurally then our league will be in a better foundation going forward as far as professionalization of the local game is concerned.”
The consultant is said to have been recommended to clean the commercialization mess locally by the FIFA’s professional body wing. He possesses vast experience in consultancy and was prior to his visit in Botswana, engaged by Malawian Football on a similar mission.
The workshop comes at the right time as BFA broke the silence this week and directed Gilport Lions owner Kelesitse Gilika to hand over the status of the team back to BMC. The consequences of this directive saw the midweek encounter between Lions and Mochudi Centre Chiefs not played as there are still administration lapses regarding the team which is likely to halt the already wounded premier league calendar.
Other teams like Township Rollers and Gaborone United have dates in court next year with the commercialization debacle at the forefront. Mochudi Centre Chiefs is currently facing a hard time following investor, Sayeed Jamali’s pulling out as club financier. This was triggered by some members of the club wanting the team to remain a society.
Extension Gunners also once tried the commercialization route but it didn’t last as the then financier Cassim Dada packed his bags and left following a fall out with executive members. The relegated Notwane is also one of the teams that were first adventurers to test the commercialization waters, just like Gunners it never lasted long as it later emerged that the touted investor Gift Mogapi was an impostor.
“Before commercialization of any team, certain procedures have to be followed or else nothing will move forward. If you want to move a team from a society to commercialization there has to be a constitutionally recognized meeting with concrete minutes. But other teams do not do that and once aggrieved members take the matter to the courts of law they are guaranteed of a win. Whether we like it or not we have to commercialize our football, but we have to do things properly,” veteran administrator Segolame Ramotlhwa highlighted.
Commercialization was first introduced into local football as the catchphrase of the then Presidential nominee Tebogo Sebego. However despite this noble initiative the phenomena is yet to bear any fruit that could be celebrated, instead it has created tensions and court battles within the local football. Football administrators like Ramotlhwa had called on the BFA to come up with a template teams should follow to be professionally run.
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It’s do or die for Zebras
The senior national team, the Zebras, is currently in Equatorial Guinea to for an African Cup of Nations Qualifiers tie. Before they departed, the team’s coach, Mogomotsi Mpote, had his troops train in Morocco. This was through the agreement between the two countries.
The agreement between the BFA and the Fédération Moroccan Football Association states that the two nations will work together to organize friendly matches between their respective national teams. It also allows the establishment of football camps for the youth categories (U-15, U-17, and U-20), this includes women’s national teams.
The national team has played over 180 minutes in its two qualifying matches against Tunisia and Libya. Currently, the Zebras, Lesotho and Liberia are the only teams that haven’t scored yet in the competition (this is correct by press time on Friday).
Before the match against Equatorial Guinea match, the local boys who were once known as the whipping boys of Africa in the early 2000s, were languishing at the bottom of the log standings in group J. They lost their first match away to Libya on June 1, 2022. However, they managed to salvage a point against Tunisia last year.
Before the team left for Equatorial Guinea, coach Mpote urged his players to focus on keeping their hopes of making a return trip to the AFCON finals alive after an 11 year absence since the maiden appearance in 2012. He noted that they would not allow their opponents to score and would ensure that they would get a draw.
Despite the various changes that have occurred in the two countries’ football landscape, the two teams have only met once before. In 2010, the local boys defeated the Equatorial Guinea team in a friendly match, which ended in an emphatic win for the visitors. Since then, the two sides have realised different fortunes in FIFA rankings, with Equatorial Guinea ranked 51 places above the Zebras.
Meanwhile, in their last six games, Guinea has only managed to win one of them. They drew with Rwanda and Togo in September 2022 friendlies. They have found the back of the net just twice in their six games. On the other hand, the Zebras, won one match against Zambia and lost four on their way to finishing at the bottom of the group with four points. At the conclusion of their previous AFCON campaign, the local boys traveled to Zambia and secured a draw.
Despite the recent results of the Guinean team, which have only managed to draw with Rwanda and Togo in their last six matches, coach Mpote is still confident that his team will perform well against the hosts.
According to the head coach, the local boys have the necessary skills and resources to perform well against any country. He noted that the team’s coaches have been studying abroad to gain a deeper understanding of the various aspects of football.
“Tactically they should also be ready. We need your (Botswana fans) usual support, when we come back from Equatorial Guinea, we will go to Francistown, and we will need you. You are our 12th player, and you are very important to us.”
OBED ITANI CHILUME STADIUM CERTIFIED
This week, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Tuelo Serufho revealed that the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium will host the return leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the local boys and Equatorial Guinea. The venue had initially failed an inspection test conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). However, following the completion of the necessary works, the stadium was allowed to host the match.
According to BNSC Chief, Tuelo Serufho, the various requirements that the stadium must meet included having a designated parking area for the media and spectators, as well as having signage that will guide the spectators. He also noted that the venue now has a world-class media area.
Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society
Township Rollers, one of the country’s most decorated football clubs with 15 premier league titles, is finding itself in a precarious situation as its long-term chief financier, Jagdish Shah, threatens to dump them if the society does not bow down to his demand of forfeiting their 20 percent interest in the company.
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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon
Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.
He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.
The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.