Gentlemen’s agreement gives Ditsile lifeline
The transfer web that heaved the lanky ex Township Rollers midfielder, Lebogang Ditsile, in the center of the storm when two recruiting agencies claimed his ownership, has finally been put to bed following a gentlemen’s agreement between the concerned parties.
For the past few months, the two agencies, Siyavuma Group (South-Africa) and the local one, Final Whistle, were embroiled in a bitter tug of war over the player. The matter was so serious such that the Football Union Botswana (FUB), SAFA and BFA were called in to intervene lest the player become the biggest loser. Ditsile was alleged to have penned a deal with Siyavuma to be his managers while he still had a running contract with Final Whistle.
However after months of negotiations the football sharks have found middle ground.
“We managed to talk with the chairman, and reached a settlement, however we prioritized the player and future deals with the team,” Olebile Sikwane a managing partner at the local agency said.
He added, “of course they gave me something though I can’t say it, but it wasn’t about shaking hands and drinking coffee and I’m glad the team was very cooperative,” he said on Wednesday.
According to reports the 21 year old whose talent got the attention of scouts during the COSAFA tournament has inked a three year contract with the Lions of the North. Rollers are said to have sold him for something close to a million pula. The quagmire nearly jeopardized the player’s ambition in opening a new chapter of his life as Highlands Park were irritated by the way things panned out instead of the smooth sailing they were anticipating.
At a time when the fights of the two were at climax letters traded by the two especially from Sikwane’s side stated that: “The player breached the contract and signed with Siyavuma Agency under Mitchell and Highlands Park without our consent or involvement. We have therefore written to BFA and SAFA to advise us accordingly before we pursue available avenues in law in terms of the contract.”
His argument was that the player should be reprimanded for his ill advised mission and were ready to engage legal brains if the other parties were lax in solving the impasse. The bone of contention then was that if Highlands Park did not lend him an ear, the player’s career would be in danger as he will have to play his game at the courts.
The anchoring midfielder is yet to start the game with his new home having been in the bench for the team that won their first game against Baroka FC last week. The lanky former Gilport Lions player will battle for first team position with the likes of Thandoyise Khuboni to prove his worth to the team.
Both the BFA and FUB failed to mediate on the matter as they directed the warring parties to smoke a peace pipe than including them in petty talk. Ditsele is the second player to ply his trade abroad this season after Onkabetse Makgantai signed with DRC’s AS Vita.
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Itâ€™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 FĂ©dĂ©ration 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 countryâ€™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.