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Mascom Top 8 Preview: Who will reach the final?

The Mascom Top 8 semi-final draw conducted this week pitted archi-rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers against each other in highly anticipated two-legged encounters.

While minnows, BDF XI and Orapa United will face each other in the second semi-final to determine who face either Chiefs or Rollers in the final expected to be played for the first time in Francistown.

Perhaps the most fascinating phenomenon about the four teams which reached the Mascom Top semi-finals is the fact that all teams are currently occupying the top four positions in the beMOBILE Premiership log standings. No team has reached the last for by fluke, as the league standing corroborates.  

Although they may not publicly admit, Chiefs would not have wished to face their arch-rivals in the semi-final stage, given that the Kgatleng based outfit is yet to win the prestigious top 8 competition since its introduction in 2012.

Meanwhile Rollers has done particularly well in this tournament after reaching three finals, though emerging as victorious only on one occasion. Rollers won the inaugural Mascom Top 8 edition in 2012, beating Ecco City Green 3-1 in an exciting encounter at University of Botswana Stadium.

The most successful team in Mascom Top 8 competition is Gaborone United having won twice. United beat BDF XI 2-1 in the 2013 final under the guidance of Major David Bright, with Tebogo Sembowa and Ronaldo Chikomo appearing on the scoresheet for United while Lemponye Tshireletso got a consolation goal for BDF XI
Last year, Gaborone United beat favourites Township Rollers 2-1 at the National Stadium, to claim their second trophy in three years. United opened the scoring via Benson Shilongo’s penalty, before Rollers’ Kobamelo Kebaikanye levelled matters. Ntesang Shimanyana got the winning goal after beating Noah Maposa from the edge of the box.

BDF XI has reached the Mascom Top 8 final two times, emerging victorious on one occasion. In 2013, BDF XI beat Rollers on penalties after the two teams finished extra-time with 1-1 score.

Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vs Township Rollers

In 2013 Rollers edged Chiefs to reach the finals after advancing on away goal rule. The Blues beat Chiefs 3-2 away at the National Stadium before scoring an important goal in a 2-1 home loss at UB Stadium.

The encounter was without controversy, following the referee’s decision to award Rollers a penalty in the dying minutes of the second leg encounter.

Both teams are determined to win the cup. Rollers has won it once but reached two other finals without any success while Chiefs is yet to lift the trophy.

Pound to pound, Rollers is a better team this season and has already outclassed its archrival in a league encounter. Rollers is also at the summit of the log while Chiefs occupies 3rd sport behind Orapa United.

Verdict: Township Rollers Wins  

BDF XI Vs Orapa United   

The army men have good record in cup competitions, having already won the cup since its inception four years ago. BDF XI has also reached another final where they lost to Gaborone United.

BDF XI has also put a strong performance this season under the stewardship of Beston Chembesi. BDF XI is on the 4th position in the log.

Meanwhile Orapa United will be no push-over. With a relatively good squad and an experienced coach in Madinda Ndlovu, The Ostriches have already proven beyond reasonable doubt that they are here to challenge for trophies.

United rank second ahead of defending champions, Chiefs in the league table.

However Mandinda’s poor cup record means a setback for Boteti based outfit.

Verdict: BDF XI wins

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.

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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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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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