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.
The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.
Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.
This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.
According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.
In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.
It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.
In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.
Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.
“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.
When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.
To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.
Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.
But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’
Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.
The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.
The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.
The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.
The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.
The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out. The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.
The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele. In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.
“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system. The stadium will therefore be out of bounds when contracted companies begin their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.
The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.
The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.
Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.
The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.
This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.
“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.
The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.
Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.
Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.
However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.
Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.
Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.
All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.
Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.
Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.
The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.
Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.
Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.