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.
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.