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BTCL reprimands BFA

HAPPY MOMENT: BTCL launching a sponsorship for Premier League games in the company of BFA President

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) through its beMOBILE brand has dropped a bombshell at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) doorstep.

In a strong worded letter, recently written to the BFA president, Tebogo Sebego, BTC has given the Association up to end of this month to sort itself out, failure of which it will pull out of beMOBILE Premier league sponsorship deal.

In the letter, BTC notified Sebego of their concern regarding recent negative developments and publicity surrounding the management of the game. 

According to deep lying information, BTC has drawn the BFA to clause 5.1 of the Agreement, in which the BFA undertook to operate the Premier League in accordance with renowned international best practices.

“However, the constant negative publicity incurred by BFA and its structures regarding the mother body’s management of Botswana football has damaged the reputation of the beMOBILE brand as the main sponsor of the beMOBILE Premiership League,” the letter, seen by this publication reads in part.

Speaking to WeekendSport on condition of anonymity, a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) said, although it is common cause that they will belong to different lobby groups, now the issues that should be discussed at BFA are being frustrated by factional lines.

“Only a group that is close to the president knows about the letter and we were asked to keep it that way because Sebego does not trust the other guys in the NEC,” said the source before noting that it appears the matter will only be dealt with after the July elections. However, the only sticky issue to deal with is that the BFA has been given up to the end of June to correct the anomalies.

To demonstrate their frustrations, the league sponsor has cited an example on the last day of the season, in which beMOBILE was instructed to crown Mochudi Centre Chiefs champions. This, beMOBILE did and proceeded to hand over the trophy to Mochudi Centre Chiefs only to be later advised that the log had been suspended and that no decision had been made on the championship pending the ruling by the Premier League’s disciplinary committee. This according to the sponsor caused embarrassment and tarnished the sponsor’s brand and reputation.

“It is  BTCL’s considered view that BFA has committed an act amounting to default or misconduct as contemplated by clause 8.2.1 of the Agreement and as a result the business name and/or reputation of BTCL has been affected negatively,” the letter reads in part. 

BTCL also draws the attention of BFA to the provisions of clause 2.2.2 Annexure “D” of the Agreement that BTCL has the right of first refusal to sponsor the beMOBILE Premier League end of season awards. BTCL has since resolved to withdraw participation in the 2015-16 beMOBILE Premier League Awards Ceremony to avoid any further embarrassment.

However, BTCL shall honour the disbursements of undisputed individuals and teams awards prize money as soon as BTCL receives official written confirmation from BFA of the 2015-16 season Title winners and individual prize winners as per clause 1 of “Annexure A” of the Agreement.

BTCL will however not participate in the Trophy handing over and medal awards ceremony during the deciding play-offs match between Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs.

BTCL says it takes this path to protect its brand and avoid suffering further reputational damage.

“Furthermore, it is in the best interest of BTCL to be furnished with the end of the 2015-16 season beMOBILE Premier League report as well as audited financials, outlining BFA’s utilization of funds sourced from BTCL,” the letter further states.

By placing the BFA on notice, BTCL concluded that, should BFA fail to meet the concerns and demands raised by BTCL in the said letter, they will be left with no option but to invoke the remedies provided by the Agreement, including pulling out of the deal.

When contacted for comment, the BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kitso Kemoeng said they are in constant discussions with the sponsors to alleviate the situation.

‘‘We are in contact with beMOBILE to iron out whatever differences that may be there. We are aware that the situation can be harmful to the association,’’ he said.

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Sport

Rollers make digital strides

11th June 2021
rollers_0121

A recent study shows that Township Rollers is not only popular within the perimeters of Botswana, but has also made significant steps within the digital football platforms in Africa.

Out of the 70 African football clubs ranked on the African football digital benchmark, Township Rollers comes on the 35th position backed by a massive social media following. The club website records more than 399 000 followers and is seen as the most interactive in the local game.

This is consistent with the recent study conducted by FIFA- world football governing body- that Rollers is the only team locally that makes use of its digital platforms.

Notably, it comes out that the gap between Township Rollers and the rest of the 15 Premier League clubs is abysmal, this therefore works against creating a strong BPL brand value.

Rollers is the only club with more than 50 000 followers on Facebook, more than 20 000 followers on Twitter while its Instagram platform stands strong at 27 800 followers.

However, it is found out that much of the BPL brand value is killed by some social Facebook football fan accounts.  They have stood long and have thus attracted more followers than the official accounts. Pages like Killers Pass and Botswana Football have consequently seen more than 100 000 following. Both of the accounts give 24 hour on-going updates of football’s latest news, transfers, results, video and live updates.

FIFA has therefore come to a conclusion that the two social media pages have grown interactive since they incite followers to answer and present their impressions about local football.

It comes into the open that 70 percent of domestic premier league clubs do not have official websites. This according to FIFA, kills the brand and visibility of clubs hence failure to attract lucrative sponsors by the clubs. FIFA also found out that the remaining 30 percent of clubs with websites are lacklustre and found wanting when it comes to their online presence. But in this regard, Rollers is on pole position.

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Sport

GU finally snatches Ditsele

3rd June 2021
Lebogang Ditsele

Hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele has completed a move from Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions, Jwaneng Galaxy, to Gaborone United in a reported lucrative two-year deal, WeekendSport can confirm.

The Reds have finally made their move for their long-time target and the enterprising midfielder is said to be happy to have completed the transfer after a heavy fall out with Galaxy management.

He wants to play football that pays, something which Galaxy cannot offer and the allure of GU was certainly too much for Ditsele to turn a blind eye.

The team as led and directed by construction magnate, Nicholas Zakhem- who is reported to have given ‘CCTV’ a mouth-watering P30 000 per month plus winning bonuses contract in demonstration of their seriousness to win silverware.

Sometime in March, the industrious player gave Galaxy an ultimatum-to either improve his contract benefits or let him go-after a decision was taken to offer the whole team pay cuts amid the devastating effects of the corona virus pandemic.

Galaxy had arrived at a conclusion of giving each player P 3000 until a time football returns to the field with moneyed sponsorships.

“We are proud to have signed him because he will add quality to our squad once football returns. Always a quality player and like him and he is now available, you don’t say there is no football, you tie him down before other clubs beat you to his signature,” said club Director, Nicholas Zakhem.

It is believed that Ditsele has always recognized GU as one of the country’s leading clubs, capable of competing for the grandest prizes. Ditsele was at Gilport Lions before he was snatched up by Galaxy and now GU.  His moves come as no surprise as his dream has always been to play for high paying clubs.

No doubt, Ditsele has enjoyed his years at Galaxy, where he is feted by the supporters, but the lad has always felt that the time is right to move on. Ditsele leaves having a year left on his contract.

It is impossible to dispute the value and service that he has given to the club, with the last season being his best, winning the premiership title.

Once Galaxy has sent him to overseas club at Highlands Park but returned home after a short stint.

However, the fan favourite, who has had an on and off relationship with the national team, The Zebras, was never going to be held by the terms of his contract.

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Sport

No injury problems for Amos

2nd June 2021
Nijel Amos

Despite encountering an injury scare ahead of the IAAF Diamond League circuit this week, Nijel Amos’ Olympic dream is still on track and he remains ever capable to stun the world by replicating his famous feat at the 2012 Olympic Games.

This was confirmed by his coaches and doctors after the Botswana star suffered a minor calf injury that forced him out of the weekend race. The multiple conqueror of 800m races is expected back on the track on June 9th to shake off this injury scare and face the possibilities of winning another Olympic medal. This likelihood only has one month to go!

Amos remains the only Motswana athlete to ever win a medal at the Olympic Games, a rare but magnificent accomplishment that still lingers in the memory of Botswana sport fraternity. At the time, he was only 18 years and strange enough, that silver medal felt like Gold for many.

His anticipated presence at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is on course to renew the long standing rivalry between him and the Kenyan 800m world record holder, David Rudisha. This is the same Kenyan competitor who won Gold when Botswana’s Amos came second in a race that would become the toast of the competitions at the London Olympics.

However, two years later, at 2014 Commonwealth Games, Amos dethroned Rudisha in another breath-taking race that confirmed and sparked the ongoing thrilling competitiveness — filled with pleasure, pain and sporting hatred- between the two.

When Amos was beaten in London, he never cared who won the race but was ecstatic to have finished at the podium, writing his name into Olympic Game folklore.

But in Glasgow, for Rudisha, defeat seemed not to have diminished his hopes. After the finish, when the lacerations were sharpest and the wound deepest, Rudisha was pictured hugging Nijel Amos, and congratulating him for a job well done.

Then, Amos was just 20 years, oozing with confidence. The shy looking Rudisha wrapped a Kenyan flag around his back and went on a lap of honour to celebrate his silver medal.

If there was disappointment Rudisha masked it with the skill of an actor. He smiled and waved as he received a standing ovation. “Amos is a tough competitor and he was very good,” Rudisha once admitted, stating matters of sporting facts that would follow between the two runners. Win. Lose. Win. Lose.

But then, there have been echoes of a swollen Muhammad Ali after his defeat to Joe Frazier, winking at the hundreds of fans who had converged at his hotel, determined to show light on his darkest day. The bruises on that day were to Rudisha’s record, not his face. Like Ali, he promised to be back.

But that night was about Amos. A callow 18-year-old who finished second to Rudisha at London 2012 sharpened his confidence, hardened by beating his idol twice on the Diamond League circuit, grew with each passing year.

However, both athletes began to suffer sporting injuries of their own, they lost the edge they were well-known for and it is why at the 2016 Olympic Games, the bookmakers were upset when they could not meet at the final. It was Amos who faltered in the heats and although Rudisha became the first Kenyan to retain an Olympic title, it was not as scintillating as it was in 2012.

Now with a month to go, Amos is living in prayer, hoping he stays free from injuries. He is looking forward to become the star again. He has won everything at the diamond league and broke every national record, but his eyes are still fixed on the ultimate prize- the Gold medal at the international stage, with or without David Rudisha.

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