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Zakhem to own 100% of GU

Businessman Nicholas Zakhem

The trouble torn premiership outfit Gaborone United (GU) membership will this weekend assemble for a make or break meeting in Palapye to decide whether or not to give businessman Nicholas Zakhem complete control (100%) of the team or to run it as a society as per the wish of others.

The construction magnate, who has been GU saviour since a decade ago announced in May that he was now leaving the club amid swelling reports of internal fights as the heart of the matter. This left a cloud of uncertainty over the club especially with issues of finances as their financier was pulling the plug.

However, the two have continued with the rocky romance, possibly trying to patch things up. GU could not afford to lose a blesser of Zakhem’s level, but the millionaire could only bounce back with some conditions, including gaining full control of the team.

“He wants to be the kingpin he used to be when he arrived. This is so because the society arm of the team felt alienated and got involved in decision making at the club, something he didn’t tolerate,” a source told this publication.    

Exactly a month after the financier revealed his intent to depart, the Reds who have been hailed as the epitome of the professionalism route find themselves in a tough situation as they are yet to pay players’ last month’s wages. This is attributed to the fact that the team has been leaning on the purse of the businessman and “Up to now the players are still to get their June salaries which is a new thing to the players as their contractual obligations have always been a no go area.”

WeekendSport is further informed that Coach Rudolph Zapata has yet to return to prepare for the season. He has also not been paid for last month.

With trials and tribulations facing one of the oldest clubs in the country, the club’s top hierarchy is said to have agreed to get rid of the burden and off-load to Zakhem.

“They knew it was going to be difficult without him and it is now transpiring, so they agreed that the team be given to Zack but this will be either accepted or rejected by the general membership at the assembly this weekend,” the source pointed out.

The team leadership has long pleaded with Zack to stay though he could not reverse his stance, and they continued with the negotiations even after his departure. Seemingly the  wealthy man is now ready to hear them out more so he continued to accommodate players at his Mogoditshane estate.

For his part, the team chairman, Rapula Okaile said that Zakhem will be discussed at the meeting as it is on the agenda for the meeting.

“Obviously it will be on the agenda together with others like our impending court case and other issues discussed at those meetings, but I can’t say we want to give him the team. I also hear those reports of which I am oblivious to. What I know is we are still in talks with the financier.”

When asked about the non-payment of the players and the coach, Okaile said; “Yes we haven’t paid the players because we are getting to terms with the fact that our financier has just left us plus we are just beginning our pre-season, so we have to sort out other factors first,” he continued to say, “we are expecting the coach anytime but he is yet to be paid too but the players will be briefed about the delay,” he said.

The AGM is expected to be a heated one which is likely to strike a chord, resembling last winter’s when Okaile and company were ushered into the office amid disagreements from the members which led to the current divisions. Just like Township Rollers, GU finds itself in a very tricky situation whereby the other group is pro the investor while the other group is passionately against the development. However Zakhem will be watching the cat fight spectacle from afar as he “doesn’t want to appear interfering on the societal affairs” and will accept whatever decision GU supporters take though he is said to have undying love for the team.

Meanwhile GU will not sign any new players according to Okaile because “we made our signings in January”, despite prospects of losing their top marksman, Benson Shilongo to South Africa’s Platinum Stars.       

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Sport

Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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Sport

P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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A trip of a lifetime

25th December 2022

MultiChoice Botswana rewards Francistown branch Customer Service Agent an all-expense paid trip to the FIFA Qatar World Cup

With the just ended excitement of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, MultiChoice Botswana helped to make a few of their employees’ dreams come true with an all-expense paid trip to the most celebrated football event in the world.  Tebogo Marks, a Customer Service Representative employed at the MultiChoice Botswana Francistown Branch, was one of the few selected to win an all-expenses paid trip to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar alongside other top performing members of the pay-TV’s direct and indirect network of employees.

Marks was selected to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, based on the outstanding performance she displayed over the years as a Customer Service Representative, since joining the brand in 2018. Tebogo Marks’ role entails assisting potential and existing customers with understanding the products and services offered by MultiChoice, promoting and selling DStv content and hardware, solving technical problems that customers maybe experiencing and handling general customer queries and complaints.

Having to deal with an array of distinct customers at MultiChoice Botswana, Tebogo leaves no stone unturned as she ensures that she gives the best service to her clients. “I have made a choice that helping people is part of who I am. As a result I am always looking for solutions to make my customers happy. In everything I do at work, I go an extra mile to elevate the MultiChoice Botswana brand. I believe in helping the customer in a timely manner as I need to show that I value them, even if it means helping a customer at odd hours. For me it doesn’t matter because my aim is to represent my organization well, but most importantly, to give customers a memorable experience,” noted Tebogo.

Bursting in excitement and enthusiasm Tebogo Marks, recalls the highlights of being selected as the winner of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 trip courtesy of her employer, “The moment for me was surreal and I could not believe it, the selection of the competition was based on work competency and job satisfaction. Over the years, my dedication to my work, my ability to exceed customer service expectations and, most importantly, my active driving of internal activities for MultiChoice Botswana won me the trip to Qatar,” she adds. The selection of Tebogo Marks to attend the World Cup games in Qatar was also largely driven by her commitment to pushing MultiChoice Botswana’s JIKA Campaign. The JIKA Campaign, a customer-service focused campaign which looks at educating peers and external stakeholders on the business’ digital self-service options, was heavily dominated by Marks’ efforts and initiatives.

“It was a pleasure to be in Qatar, MultiChoice Botswana had made everything possible for the trip to take place. My employer went all out in making sure that we were comfortable and that we thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience during my short stay at Qatar. What was more exciting was being in the stadium and watching the live game of Ghana and Portugal. It was a heart-warming experience seeing Cristiano Ronaldo live. This was an experience I will never forget,” shared Tebogo.

“We are so sad to see the FIFA World Cup end but we are so glad that we were able to treat those that make it possible for Batswana to experience such amazing sport and entertainment on DStv daily, our employees, with the experience of seeing the games live in Qatar,” says Stephanie Pillay, MultiChoice Botswana Managing Director. “For us, our employees are truly at the core of everything we do. Without them, none of the magic we make through bringing the best in entertainment to our subscribers would be possible.”

Though the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has ended, MultiChoice Botswana is committed to bringing more world-class sport and entertainment on DStv and Showmax this festive season and always. For more information visit www.dstv.com/en-bw or download the MyDStv App on Apple Ios and Google Play stores.

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