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Trouble brewing at GU

Zarkhem accused of running the team alone

The titanic is about to hit the iceberg at Gaborone United. The team, which has been hailed by many as a shining example of football commercialisation is engulfed by damning revelations that Soccer Dynamics Pty Ltd is running the team alone at the expense of the society.


The team is divided, with Soccer Dynamics as the commercial wing headed by businessman Nicholas Zarkhem owning 51% shares while Gaborone United Sporting Club (Society) have the remaining 49%.The bone of contention by the society is that the company is flouting the club’s constitution by taking decisions on its own thus rendering the other half useless. This has not gone down well with some supporters as they believe that their team is being “taken from under their hands.”


Information presented to Weekend Sport paints a picture of a team battling internal battles behind the fascia, and indeed confirming that not all that glitters is gold. According to insiders, raging fires within the Old Naledi team started at the team’s AGM where the committee elections were surrounded by a lot of “irregularities”.

The concerned fans accuse Zarkhem for “being big headed and bigger than the team” as a result willing to pull the strings solely “because he helped the team in times of need.” Zarkhem who owns a construction company has been with the club for many years.   

   
The supporters, which many believe are members of the executive committee which was white washed in the July elections, are reportedly contemplating a court move to seek assistance on how to best run the team.

Among some grievances of the society is the accusations that Soccer Dynamics has taken control of all the transactions of the club and even the acquisition of players are said to be done single-handedly. Coach Allen Rahman Gumbo’s contract is said to have been renewed amid the obliviousness of committee members who were busy looking for a mentor as per their agreement.

The concerned party argues that the society has input on the affairs of the club as they inject money in the team after acquiring the lucrative Mutual and Federal sponsorship, sell team merchandise and also make revenue through gate-takings and as a result they shouldn’t be rendered useless. To this effect they believe there should be equality in running of the team without considering the share ownership.


The unhappy lot would want the court to clearly define the roles of each party so they abide by the constitution. However soccer analyst Molatlhegi “Octopus” Mangole says the commercialisation process in Botswana was not well prepared for.

“We are preaching commercialisation but we don’t have a template which teams should follow, so these things are bound to happen if anyone who has financial muscle can control the teams. We are aware that many teams that were commercialised have been in the same scenario, so BFA must create a model to help the poor teams.” Notwane, BMC and Township Rollers have all been inside the court room over the privatisation and authority issues at the teams.


When this publication contacted the new chairman Rapula Okailwe for comment, could only say, “We are still deliberating on the matter so it will be better if we can solve it internally and then we come back to you.” As efforts to douse the raging fires, the team is considering solving it within the internal structures, but with the issue understood to be a hot potato it won’t be easy to reach an agreement unless it is short term measure.


While plans to solve the issue in-house seriously is touted by the team committee to avoid tarnishing their names by fighting their issues in courts, Zarkhem is nonetheless reportedly not ready to let anything loose as he is said to have threatened the supporters at the AGM that he might pull off his financial assistance if the members don’t vote his lieutenants to office. Efforts to get comment from soccer dynamics on the matter where futile as their mobile phones didn’t go through.

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Sport

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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Sport

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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Sport

A trip of a lifetime

25th December 2022

MultiChoice Botswana rewards Francistown branch Customer Service Agent an all-expense paid trip to the FIFA Qatar World Cup

With the just ended excitement of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, MultiChoice Botswana helped to make a few of their employees’ dreams come true with an all-expense paid trip to the most celebrated football event in the world.  Tebogo Marks, a Customer Service Representative employed at the MultiChoice Botswana Francistown Branch, was one of the few selected to win an all-expenses paid trip to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar alongside other top performing members of the pay-TV’s direct and indirect network of employees.

Marks was selected to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, based on the outstanding performance she displayed over the years as a Customer Service Representative, since joining the brand in 2018. Tebogo Marks’ role entails assisting potential and existing customers with understanding the products and services offered by MultiChoice, promoting and selling DStv content and hardware, solving technical problems that customers maybe experiencing and handling general customer queries and complaints.

Having to deal with an array of distinct customers at MultiChoice Botswana, Tebogo leaves no stone unturned as she ensures that she gives the best service to her clients. “I have made a choice that helping people is part of who I am. As a result I am always looking for solutions to make my customers happy. In everything I do at work, I go an extra mile to elevate the MultiChoice Botswana brand. I believe in helping the customer in a timely manner as I need to show that I value them, even if it means helping a customer at odd hours. For me it doesn’t matter because my aim is to represent my organization well, but most importantly, to give customers a memorable experience,” noted Tebogo.

Bursting in excitement and enthusiasm Tebogo Marks, recalls the highlights of being selected as the winner of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 trip courtesy of her employer, “The moment for me was surreal and I could not believe it, the selection of the competition was based on work competency and job satisfaction. Over the years, my dedication to my work, my ability to exceed customer service expectations and, most importantly, my active driving of internal activities for MultiChoice Botswana won me the trip to Qatar,” she adds. The selection of Tebogo Marks to attend the World Cup games in Qatar was also largely driven by her commitment to pushing MultiChoice Botswana’s JIKA Campaign. The JIKA Campaign, a customer-service focused campaign which looks at educating peers and external stakeholders on the business’ digital self-service options, was heavily dominated by Marks’ efforts and initiatives.

“It was a pleasure to be in Qatar, MultiChoice Botswana had made everything possible for the trip to take place. My employer went all out in making sure that we were comfortable and that we thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience during my short stay at Qatar. What was more exciting was being in the stadium and watching the live game of Ghana and Portugal. It was a heart-warming experience seeing Cristiano Ronaldo live. This was an experience I will never forget,” shared Tebogo.

“We are so sad to see the FIFA World Cup end but we are so glad that we were able to treat those that make it possible for Batswana to experience such amazing sport and entertainment on DStv daily, our employees, with the experience of seeing the games live in Qatar,” says Stephanie Pillay, MultiChoice Botswana Managing Director. “For us, our employees are truly at the core of everything we do. Without them, none of the magic we make through bringing the best in entertainment to our subscribers would be possible.”

Though the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has ended, MultiChoice Botswana is committed to bringing more world-class sport and entertainment on DStv and Showmax this festive season and always. For more information visit www.dstv.com/en-bw or download the MyDStv App on Apple Ios and Google Play stores.

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