The interesting ring spectacle of who will own the Botswana Football Association’s (BFA) Lekidi office keys which has pitted three factions baying for each other’s blood has uncovered two centers of power sponsoring the tussle.
Information turned to this publication shows forces behind the scenes as the flammable potent for the battle which is expected to end in July.
Both Township Rollers financier, Jag Dish Shah and his Gaborone United rival, Nicholas Zakhem are reportedly the masterminds of the current campaigns of the two main factions seeking to rule football.
However, those in the know argue that the stepping of the two football gurus in the football politics is a clear sign that they have interest in the sport. “They want to control the football leaders who will assume power, and this is not healthy for our ailing football,” those anti the developments assert.
Shah, who has been involved in a series of power struggles reaching the courts of law on numerous occasions with Rollers, is said to be sharing the same plate with the incumbent President Tebogo Sebego’s team which is yet to be fully paraded. Informants say the millionaire is a devoted follower of Sebego and has interest in Sebego’s 2012 campaign catchphrase of ‘commercialization’.
Sebego was at one point accused of meddling in the internal affairs of Rollers at a time when David Mmui and company were fighting bitterly to wrestle the team from the ‘investor’. This is said to have strengthened the relationship between the two as Shah “saw that this (Sebego) is the man we can share a shade”, simply because Sebego pleaded with the supporters to give the team to a man who can steer the team to the Promised Land of milk and honey.
On the other hand, reports say, Nicholas Zakhem is likely to sponsor the other aspiring team led by the veteran administrator Segolame Ramothwa. The team which comprises of the persistent Ramothwa, Leviet Ntwaagae, Lenao Lenao and Chippa Mahloane, is optimistic that just like friends of football did in 2012 with David Fani, they too can white wash the Sebego team.
As part of his grand plan to take the reins, the Ramothwa team is said to have recruited the same players in Sebego’s 2012 office winning squad. Ramothwa and Mahloane were the men who planted the ‘friends of football’ success through their irresistible lobbying. Zakhem who entered the ring at the opposite corner could be battling a fight for ‘recognition and power’.
“Ever since the arrival of Shah, Zakhem has been sidelined and he feels out of place and as a result he wants to resuscitate his reputation as he is the one who initiated football “commercialization”. It is said he tried to win Sebego over when he offered the national team some incentives but Sebego proved to be unshaken in his allegiance to his ‘friend’.
The other team that is still under construction is that which could comprise of Marshlow Motlogelwa, Billy Sekgororoane, Senki Sesinyi and Eatametse Olopeng. However with the two business moguls in the ring, an interesting power tussle is on the cards.
POSITIVES FOR FOOTBALL
Just like in South Africa where two centers of power being Irvin Khoza and Bobby Motaung are pulling the strings at PSL the same is expected here. Whichever team wins the elections is expected, sources say, to pay it back to football, which is in dire need of the money. Those who embrace these battles argue that with the presence of corporate people the financial doldrums in football will be a thing of the past. “They know people who could help football and that will be a welcome development because sponsoring is banked on trust and their business connection is what we want.
We want FA Cup and these people have relations with companies that can sponsor us so it is very important for them to be close,” a prominent football administrator told this paper. In South Africa the duo of Khoza and Motaung despite their business wars, have transformed the PSL making it one of the top ten leagues in the world by bringing in sponsors.
The Government of Botswana through the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, has expressed its underlying desire to reawaken and improve sport policy.
This is also in line with the declaration made by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) this week about the need to improve sport performance in the country. The sport policy was first enacted in 2001 when the Department of Sport and Recreation was under the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs.
The review of this policy is expected to commence soon and strive to address all socio-economic problems bedevilling sport. The examination will start from the elements that speak to the direct processes of national dialogue of sport and come up with recommendations for improvement.
As things stand, the Sport Ministry has coordinated a task force to deal with the taxing issue of school sports where teachers have downed tools demanding special kind of payment for partaking in extracurricular activities. The government through various means has been made aware that sport forms an integral part of the country’s vision.
If the policy is finally revised, the country and other stakeholders will eventually achieve national development, unity and continued economic growth. “The national Sport Commission Act is also being reviewed to facilitate sport to contribute to the economy through commercialization and professionalism, as well as to improve the welfare and the rights to our sportspersons,” Masisi said in his address.
The review will once again take a long route of extensive consultative processes where critical factors were initially identified as continuous constraint to sport development. There is a wide ranging view that sport is solely for recreation. This anomaly is fast becoming a matter of yesteryears as more athletes are making a living out of sport.
In October of 1997, a discussion paper on sport policy development was prepared. At the time, the workshop brought together policy and decision makers. The discussions precisely centred on issues of sport participation and development. Participants included among others, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC), Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) and National Sports Associations.
There was the discovery of limited funding in sport and poor sporting facilities in the country. This has negatively impacted on the performance of national sports associations, particularly on the global stage. As a measure to this problem, the government has decided to build 10 mini stadia to up participation and performance.
In 2001 when the policy was formulated, there was an agreement that the national guiding principles of democracy, development, unity, self-reliance and botho are cardinal to the development strategy of socio-economic development planning. The Ministry believes that sport and recreation in Botswana have a close relationship with all these national principles.
When speaking to this publication, the Chief Executive Officer of BNSC, Tuelo Serufho said there is indeed an overwhelming appetite to improve sport performance and participation in the country. “Yes we need to engage both BNSC and BNOC to improve and review the sport policy more because it has been overtaken by time…it needs to be aligned with modern sports trends,” Serufho briefly shared.
The world football governing body, Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), has ordered trouble torn Mochudi Centre Chiefs to compensate their former coach, Philani Mabhena, after unceremoniously dismissing him in the summer of 2019 with only a few months left on his contract.
FIFA agreed with Mabhena that Magosi, as Chiefs are affectionately called breached his employment contract. FIFA is of the view that Chiefs had no prima facie evidence that could lead to unilateral termination of a contract. The decision of FIFA’s status committee is that Chiefs should pay the Zimbabwean born coach an amount of BWP 111, 100 within 30 days.
The money is divided into two categories. BWP 56 100 which is derived from the period of 11 August 2019 until the end of contract. The other amount is P55 000 which was accumulated between January 2019 until a time he was sacked. Those amounts was accumulation of unpaid wages.
FIFA warned that more stringent action will be taken against Chiefs should they fail to deposit the amount before the set deadline. Mabhena claimed that Chiefs, before his contract was terminated, was never paid his signing on fee of P 15 000 as settlement remuneration.
He also argued that he had gone a couple of months without receiving his monthly wages. According to the terms of the contract, he was supposed to be paid P 15 000 every month. Chiefs to their bravery, has accepted the outstanding salary arrears of the former coach that stretched to P 56 100.
FIFA accused the shrinking Kgatleng giants of negligence and refusal to honour contractual obligations and this has brought far reaching consequences. Should Chiefs fail to honour FIFA orders, they are likely to be banned from signing coaches and players. They are also likely to forfeit points when the football season begins until full payment is completed.
The debts come at a time when the club desperately seeks a premier league return. They were rumoured to be eyeing to buy one premier league status to compete for the grandest prizes like before. Chiefs were relegated because of poor administration at board level. The team tried many times to professionalize but each attempt was beaten by the club society raging wars that consequently stalled progress.
Mochudi Centre Chiefs sporting club was first registered in July of 1974. The club was registered as a society under the societies Act of Botswana as a football team. It is noted that the club participated in the upper league of BFA under the terms prescribed in the constitution of the association together with the confinement of the societies act.
Premier League rookies, Sua Flamingos have fired their coach Raizor Tsatsilebe for allegedly speaking up for his players. Tsatsilebe who joined the team last season and helped them win Debswana First Division North league, was at the end of the season thanked with a one year contract extension.
His stay at Sua was to end in July of 2021 but things took a turn for the worst recently when management was said to be fed up with his demands. Reports claim that the Sua management felt the coach was more on the side of the players and did not approach things holistically, a move that led to his untimely expulsion.
“Since his arrival this side, he has been vocal about treatment of players, their welfare and as you know, players here have not been receiving their salaries but are given allowances on monthly basis. He felt maybe the club should at least pay half salaries as they have now resumed training. He also requested that the team should sign some players but that did not happen despite promises by the club. The final nail was when management left his goalkeeper coach, Terence Modikwe and signed Kagiso Tshelametsi without consulting him,” said a source at the team.
The club Chairman, Tirelo Thebe, confirmed that they have decided to part ways as with the feeling that they can no longer work together. “Yes it’s true we met with the coach and we agreed to terminate his one year contract because the relationship has soured. We cannot disclose more than this because it’s an internal matter and in the meantime our assistant coach will take over on interim basis while we look for his replacement,” said Thebe.
Tsatsilebe on his part felt hard done by the team after promoting them to the elite league- something they have been failing to achieve. “They are the ones who opted to terminate the contract not me and they couldn’t give me reasons why they are terminating. It’s a pity we coaches encounter such things in our lives but it has to continue,” said the 49 year old coach.