Mamelodi court case opens a difficult chapter for Sebego
As suspended premier league CEO, Bennett Mamelodi battles for survival, the truth spilling out of his court documents transforms into dangerous venom that is easily finding its way to President Tebogo Sebego’s dish, Staff writer MOSIMANEGAPE TSHOSWANE observes.
Bennett Mamelodi‘s way out of the Gaborone industrial court was as short as a hobbit. But his coming inside the court was a slow journey that merely comprised baby steps. He was a man walking through the premier league storm to position his hopes squarely on the shoulders of his advocate, Dutch Leburu.
True to his prowess, the on song Leburu ticked all the right boxes-first as an attorney and second as a messiah. Mamelodi’s legal team did not waste time in relaying their story.
While they sought to convince the court to dispose premier league acting chairman affidavits within the grounds of authority, unbeknownst to them, they literally wrote a football chapter that BFA president Tebogo Sebego does not want to read.
The pencil slim lawyer in unison with Judge Molomo agreed that there was never a meeting to suspend Mamelodi. A feat that even the BFA representative conceded; while the man who has dreamt of building a monster to administer the league affairs has technically won round one of the battle, he and his legal representatives have left Sebego pondering over the next episode as the build up to BFA elections gathers a new momentum.
On Monday and throughout the week, the talk was not about Mamelodi, but of Sebego who is blamed for signing documents on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) which according to the available information, never met.
‘‘It is not that we doubt the position of the premier league board, what is of great concern to us is that a lie was made under oath and we plead with this court to take necessary action,’’ argued Leburu.
On Wednesday morning, MacLean Letshwiti, firm challenger of Sebego, sugar coated the words when he talked about the need to respect BFA constitution. Observers say it was a perfect opportunity to tip toe around the Monday issue, although not mentioning the name of the incumbent president.
Known for his diplomatic approach, Sebego is stomaching the issue during his longer nights. He holds firm to his master tactics for survival. A meeting that was reportedly scheduled for the weekend has been postponed to another date. Prior to its postponement, the NEC was said to be preparing a charge sheet for their main man, but for the umpteenth time, the glittering lawyer could have just survived another ouster plot.
This is a surface war that brings into the open the contradictory faces of the BFA house: the robust force of grass roots social equality within themselves, versus the tight control by the presidents.
It is indeed the sudden depth of sport life blended with a football conspiracy that is marked by the love of money and power; together with local acclaim for molding both a new and unrecognizable BFA house. All indicators point to a new football chapter for Sebego to peruse.
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It’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 Fédération 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 country’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.