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 Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.
The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.
Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.
The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.
The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.
“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.
In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.
He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.
When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.
Township Rollers is anticipated to spent around P 50 000 to expatriate their foreign based players amid ravaging corona virus threats. The club, in collaboration with the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) tested Francis Afriyie, Fabian Assagou Guy and Kamogelo Matsabu before they can head to their native countries.
The trio are awaiting the results which are all expected to come out negative, following which they will immediately board planes to their various destinations. Afriyie was a Rollers striker from Ghana.
Matsabu, regarded the darling of the club is heading back to South Africa while Guy signed by the club but has never impressed, will board a plane back to Ivory Coast.It is likely that both Matsabu and Guy will return as they are still contracted to Rollers. However, Afriyie will not return after failing Rollers litmus test.
The striker failed to break into the starting 11 of head coach Frank Nuttall for the season and it appeared that frustration got to him. And when it finally knocked him down, the striker in a rough and unexpected remonstration stormed out of the bench while a Rollers game was on.
The former Gho Maria striker penned a two year deal in January and it is rumoured that his contract was heavily incentivized, catapulting him to being one of the highest paid players at Rollers.His end of season departure will now put a serious question mark over Rollers’ recruitment policy.
He becomes the fourth foreign striker to fail the club examinations and released while on contract. Before him was, Mthokosize Msomi from South Africa, Terrence Mandawa from Tanzania and Fabian Mbowa from Ivory Coast. Msomi and Mandawa’s release were sanctioned by former coach Nikola Kavazovic. Mbowa is loaned to Police XI to create space and playing opportunity for the now departing Afriyie.
Releasing Afriyie will now mean that the club’s striking woes continue. Rollers management complained at times last season at the lack of productivity from their strikers but they hoped that striker Tumisang Orebonye and other targeted signings, aided perhaps by Edwin Moalosi who remains on the books, could fire an upturn.
However, it was never meant to be as they finished the season second behind league winners, Jwaneng Galaxy.
Black Leopards head coach, Joel Masutha, is reported to have orchestrated a move that could see mid fielder-cum-striker, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, being dropped by Leopards.
WeekendSport has learnt that the coach summoned the Zebras former captain to a one-on-one meeting a month ago to relay the bad news. It is reported that Masutha told the player that he is surplus to requirement and therefore he will not be selected for any game unless he opts to leave.
Reports further state that Tsotso was not encouraged to fight for his position but instead was told that there are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities and helping the club to dodge the dreaded relegation axe.Ngele therefore is waiting for his contract to expire before plotting his next move. He is said to be torn between playing for one more year in South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.
The Rollers decision will once again hinge on his private business which he would love to monitor closely. He owns a sports clothing label where he already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold. He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm.
He played in crucial matches and his stunning free kick against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.It is said Ngele’s future at Thohoyandou- a location where Black Leopards is based- encountered problems of many kinds. His future is believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.
The player is also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury. Ngele had signed a two year deal, but as things stand, the left footed midfielder is heading out as his contract staggers to an end. He is believed to be earning close to R80 000 after tax deductions.
The lifestyle and living conditions at Thohoyandou are also seen as factors that further complicate Ngele’s situation hence the sudden collapse of concentration in football.Ngele is said to be represented by Tim Sukazi who still hopes that the player’s breakthrough career is worth fighting for.
When signed by high spending Mamelodi Sundowns almost 5 years ago, he was represented by Mike Makaab, also a renowned football agent in South Africa.It is growing precarious for Ngele who was chained for longer spells at Sundowns.
But when a move to Leopards was announced, there was a high expectation that the player was nearing his revolutionary season.