Highly placed sources at the home of football have brought it to the attention of this publication that trouble is brewing at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) owing to “blatant disregard for laid down procedures”.
The BFA appears to be keen on seizing powers reserved for other structures, despite having been repeatedly warned to desist from such. Just recently, the Industrial Court pronounced that the Association should refrain from disrespecting its own constitution when its President, Tebogo Sebego swore under oath that the Association had met to draw a resolution to suspend Premier League Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi. This turned out not to be true as a meeting was never held.
That the BFA is currently experiencing a torrid time is not in doubt. The fight for the control of the BFA has reached its highest point with three centres of power having emerged ahead of the elective general assembly scheduled for end of this month.
The warring camps are on full swing trying to score political points. During the presidential debate which was held last weekend for the hotly contested position, incumbent Tebogo Sebego had indicated that his former vice president, Tariq Babitseng was unceremoniously sacked from the governing body through a politically motivated scheme.
“Sebego made sure that his right hand man is not officially sacked, so that he could make a comeback as he has done now,” said a source that is close to developments.
In July 2015, a private and confidential letter was prepared by BFA legal advisor, Onkagetse Pusoentsi to expel Babitseng from football activities. This was after the pencil slim football administrator had abused funds during a Zebras trip to Guinea Bissau to which he was Head of Delegation. During that time, Babitseng was Vice President- Administration.
‘‘As you are aware on or about the 2nd August 2014, you travelled with the Senior National Team to Guinea Bissau as Head of Delegation following which you were accused of mishandling the contingency funds which were entrusted to you,’’ the letter reads.
‘‘Some reports and recommendations were prepared by yourself and were submitted to the Botswana National Sports Council and all were rejected resulting in the BFA being forced to pay USD 7,712.43 to the BNSC being the shortfall. This lead to the resolution by the National Executive Committee to suspend you from your office and football activities pending the investigations and findings on the use or misuse of the contingency funds for that trip,’’ the letter continued.
It happened that a three man committee of independent capacities was appointed to investigate the issue which later guided the NEC to expel Babitseng. Before the official expulsion letter was written, Babitseng was called to explain his side of the story. It came to the fore that, Babitseng, who is known to be Sebego’s foot soldier, did not convince the independent committee and the repercussions pointed to serious misconduct in terms of code of conduct for officials.
The letter posits that the NEC met on the 7th of April where an agreement was reached that Tariq failed to properly handle BFA funds. On the 29th of April 2015, it was also agreed that Babitseng be approached to voluntarily relinquish his duties as VPA in the interest of football which had already been tarnished by the issue.
Reports point out that the letter in question, which Sebego was to sign never reached Babitseng. Those close to developments say instead, the president procrastinated. Other information gleaned from various sources indicate that NEC got divided in Babitseng’s matter such that members had to vote by show of hands for Babitseng to leave Lekidi football centre.
Sebego‘s sympathy for his ‘feed-boy’ was always conspicuous. There was no price for guessing how, when he said on national television-during the live presidential debate-that Babitseng’s hands were clean.
However, eyebrows have been raised. His speech of August 1, 2015 has now betrayed him.
‘‘Following the report of the committee, the NEC resolved that its findings against Mr Babitseng rendered him unsuitable for the position. The NEC found that he was in breach of the code of conduct for BFA officials. On the basis of the powers vested on it by the constitution. NEC resolved to relieve the VPA of his duties. The NEC shall co-opt the VPA in due course. Structures shall be notified accordingly,’’ Sebego said.
Basadi Akoonyatse later took the reins.
The ‘magic’ letter according to the source has also cost former BFA CEO’s personal assistant her job. Information turned up by this publication suggests that she was assigned to make sure that the letter firing Babitseng from his position is delivered, a duty she failed and led to her being shown the door.
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.