As the league finally commences, some teams have been caught in a web of ignorance as they have disregarded laid down procedures. Weekend Sport can reveal that some Botswana Premier League (BPL) teams have failed to adhere to local play rules and regulations in registrations of young players.
Acting Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the BPL confirmed on Wednesday when addressing sports journalists that while this time around premier league teams have properly observed the required quota of player registration, they surprisingly failed to register 5 young players.
“Yes it is very true that teams have observed the required quota, some registering 25 while other slightly below 25, but it is surprising that younger players are not appearing,” he said.
According to article 2.3 of Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s play rules and regulations, a club should be allowed to register up to 25 players at any given time for its main team. Clubs required to maintain junior teams shall be allowed to register up to 25 players under the respective age category over and above those registered with the main team. Should a club wish to use a player registered with any of its junior teams in its main team, the club shall first register the player as a member of its main team provided such registration observes the quota of 30 players.’’
It has come to light that BPL teams are not interested in fielding young players let alone run their junior teams. This proves to be the case following the realisation that the clubs have registered 25 (or minus) for the whole season.
Only Lobatse based club, Extension Gunners have registered one player under the age of 17. The player is said to be the son of former Zebras stalwart midfielder Peter Mabile.
However, teams continue to shift blame to other external factors. They say coaches are always under pressure to perform and it is why they retain little faith in young players. This does not sit well with the league committee that should ensure, according to its mandate that clubs properly comply with laws of registration. This is a compulsory move that has been agreed on by the world governing body FIFA through a requisite exercise called “club licensing”.
Early this year, the BPL in conjunction with BFA agreed to set up a youth league this season as a way of satisfying FIFA demands.
According to reports, that was the first step by the mother body to help the teams to comply with the regulations of club licensing. The teams were to be asked to field under 19 players and run the system concurrently with the senior squad.
Club licensing is the blue print incorporated by FIFA to force football teams to professionalize themselves. It includes-inter alia- that teams should wear regalia with printed names and owning of operational offices by teams.
Sources say the technical department of the Association is expected to consult premier league teams in the foreseeable future and further brainstorm on the modalities to be adopted by the league structures.
It is believed that brighter days are lying ahead as the Association bleeds for transformation. The world football governing body, (FIFA) has already shared a table with the technical arm of the BFA in crafting a master plan for the years 2014-2017.
Such a move will see a lot of transformation taking place within the troubled BFA. The technical arm will now be given enough time to apply itself in matters concerning players and team development. As things stand, it is said, the Association is working around the clock to finalize the working curriculum. “We are happy that our structures within the association are now given liberty to function and we are now going to see synchronized activities with a lot of accountability,’’ said one member from the Association’s National Executive Committee(NEC).
After dealing with the curriculum, coaches’ operations manuals are to be crafted to guide them (coaches) along the way. The under 19 coaches, it is said, will be accredited and all are expected to have at least a B license coaching certificate.
However, there is a concern that time is already becoming the leagues’ worst enemy.
The youth league structures were expected to create a path for players to the senior teams. Each club was compelled to register a youth league team and the competition itself is expected to be given the seriousness it deserves. The Association is expected to source long term sponsorship for it to bear the desired fruits.
Gaborone United was this week crowned 2021/2022 Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions following their 1-0 win over the holders, Jwaneng Galaxy. Thero Setsile’s 13th minute’s goal was enough to seal the league championship, ending 13 years of drought from the Old Naledi outfit.
With two games to go before the top-flight season wraps up, Gaborone United opened a seven points gap to second placed Township Rollers having accumulated 63 points from twenty eight games. The Money machine were the first team to open a new chapter in the history books of Botswana football, when they were crowned the inaugural 2008/09 be Mobile Premiership champions, that came up with P1 million as prize money. Thereafter the club has been on the league drought as it could only manage winning Coca Cola FA Cup in 2012, Mascom top 8 twice in 2013 and 2015. They also won the Orange FA cup last season.
The return of Zackhem as the club financier signaled a new era with a number of galactic signings for the 2021/2022 season. The team brought into their fold big names in local football; Kekaetswe Moloi, Lesego Galenamotlhale and Joel Mogorosi. The arrival of enterprising left wing back Mothusi Johnson, dribbling wizard Mpho Kgaswane and hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele made the job easier for the coaches.
Attacker Onkabetse Makgantai also joined the marauding attackers in Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Thero Setsile to make their front line combination the deadliest in the league. Both Kgamanyane and Setsile have netted 34 goals this season with the goal minder Goitseone Phoko keeping 20 clean sheets thus far while conceding just 10 goals. GU is still on the Orange FA Cup race and football commentators believe that they are the favorites looking at the quality of their squad.
As it stands should the Money Machine win all their remaining games, they stand a chance to equal the highest championship winning points record of 76 points which set by Mochudi Center chiefs during the 2007-2008 football season. That record stood for 14 years and Gaborone United could equal that feat should they win their remaining games against Sua Flamingos and struggling Notwane. The Money Machine made the bold statement begging of the 2021/2020 football season when they won 11 games straight games without even conceding a goal.
The Reds, who are under the guidance of Innocent Morapedi, a seasoned coach and his assistant Pontsho Moloi, has been consistent in the title race. In the process, the Old Naledi side has scored 59 goals while conceding the least goals (10 goals) and has a superior goal difference of 49 goals. Gaborone United success breaks Township Rollers and Mochudi Center Chiefs dominance as the only teams to have won the league title more than any other club in the last 13 seasons. GU’s proximity to money and talent were key this season.
Domestically since GU last won the league title, Mochudi Center Chiefs have won it three times; whilst the most decorated football club with 16 titles, Rollers has been dominating the league, winning five titles on the spin in five seasons from 2013-14 to 2018-19. Last season, Jwaneng Galaxy was crowned champions for the very first time due to being at the top of the table when the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be prematurely halted with ten games to play.
After two years of no action across various sports codes including softball, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) is going back to the grounds to resuscitate the sport.
This weekend all roads lead to Selibe Phikwe for the top eight ladies championship. The eight ladies teams comprise the top four ladies teams from the south and north regions. They will then come together and form eight teams and battle it out this weekend at the Phikwe Softball Grounds and Area 2 Mowana Ball Park. The competing ladies teams are Titans, Police, Vikings, UB Giants, Rail giants, Scramblers, Carats and Ghetto Yankees. The champions will be crowned thereafter.
Softball Association Public relations officer, Boingotlo Marope explained that this tournament is not only for ladies, she said men’s championship will be held at Gaborone on the 28th May 2022. She said they have noticed that everything is confined to Gaborone as their headquarters in the southern region. As a result they have decided to take other activities to the northern region as well. “We are trying to grow softball, we don’t want everything to surround Gaborone only which is why the ladies tournament will be held at Selebi Phikwe in the northern region to bring equality.”
However, she explained that the reason they were missing in action is because of Covid 19. “We saw government cautionary trying to protect everyone by putting certain restrictions as spots had to stop for 12 months, we welcomed 12 months to protect Batswana. As a results that lead to the closure as there were no games”.
In addition Marope said they currently don’t have sponsors however private sector has always come through. Bofinet has to cut the sponsorship but that is not due to Covid 19 crisis. “Bofinet has showed commitment, they promised that as soon as they are settled they will come to our door knocking again,” she added.
Marope further said as a results they rely on their tight budget. Few of players has been sponsored, some has to dig from their own pockets, some parents cannot sent their children as some had to quit. “We have worked with our tight budget to assist teams and hoping that in the coming season we can have somebody to assist”.
The Botswana national boxing team recently returned from the zone 4 championship held in Mozambique. The team was led by head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi, two assistant coaches, Gibson Rauwe and Pearl Mooketsi. Two referees and judges, Gaseitsewe Ponatshego and Linda Mooketsi.
In the women’s category, Lethabo Modukanele was representing Botswana in the 48 kg division, while Phekie Bele and Sadie Kenosi were competing in the 57 kg and 60 kg categories, respectively. In the men’s category, Kobamelo Molatlhegi was representing the country in the 52 kg division, while Rajab Mahomed was competing in the under 51 kg category.George Molwantwa was competing for under 57 kg category and Treasure Moremi was competing for under 60kg category.
The boxers came home with seven medals, Modukanele came home with a gold medal, Kenosi, Rajab, Molatlhegi all came home with silver medals. While Moremi, Molwantwa and Phekie Bele all came home with bronze medals.
According to Moitshepi Nkabiti, the public relations officer of the Botswana Boxing Association, the team performed well and that they were hoping that Rajab would also bring home a gold medal. However, due to an eye injury, he could not participate in the finals.
He stated that, “though some people might think that how our team performed is not an achievement it is a big achievement to us. Other countries came with 19 boxers while we only came with our seven boxers, and they all came back with medals. That is something that we have to be proud of I really commend them for their performance. Having 5 players making it to the finals is really a blessing and we should not take it for granted.”
According to Nkabiti, Botswana was ranked fourth in the zone 4 championship, which was held in Mozambique. Other countries that participated in the tournament included South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini, and Seychelles. They all had a total of 19 boxers. Lesotho also had eight boxers.