The calamity that struck Francistown football in the past two seasons has left the second city with no team in the elite league. Tafic was the first one to bite the dust in 2014, Ecco City Greens followed in the next season; however, Matjimenyenga as Tafic is known have learnt from their bungle two seasons ago and they are plotting a ferocious comeback to the premier league. Mabikani Matjimenyenga.
When Tafic gained promotion to the then super league in 2002, the ecstasy that gripped its fans was as intense as the gloom that overtook them at the end of the 2013-14 season when the team was condemned to the first division. Tafic made history by being the first team from up north to clinch the Coca Cola cup in 2002. But following their demise, the team experienced internal squabbling with Humphrey Nawa and Gilbert Makombo’s factions tearing the team apart.
In the lower division, they started their first season on a low note which saw them at some point occupying the last spot. However the team managed to find the right footing and finished the campaign on 4th position and having missed the premier league play-offs by a whisker. Now the team is gearing up for the new season targeting ‘’straight promotion to the elite league’’.
Tafic which has in the past been regarded as the pride of Francistown as it was the first team to win the FA Cup in 2002 and having produced football legends like Jomo ‘Nobody’ Mosweu, Mmoloki ‘BB’ Sechele and Mlungisi Kopi just to mention but a few intend to bring back smiles to its fans and the city at large. According to the team’s marketing manager Tebogo Toteng, they have learnt from the blunders that led to their relegation to the first division.
“For you to attract sponsorships you should have good governance and this is what we have done, and it was a lesson to our people because they are united and we are committed to one goal.’’ The team’s failure to unite has been blamed for the relegation as sponsors ditched them owing to good governance.
‘Undipe-ndi-kupe’ as the club is fondly called by its legion of fans is planning to retain most of its squad so that there will be continuation in the coming season but they won’t stand in any player’s way. To make their intentions clear, they have already started the pre-season training at Leseding grounds making them the only first division side to do so. This weekend, the team will battle it out with city rivals Ecco city greens in a one day tournament sponsored by Buy & Build in bid to put the team in right shape.
The finances have proven to be one of the factors that led to the downfall of the team and its leadership are working tirelessly to source out funds for the team. The team has started selling new replicas at P175, 00 and will host a dinner at Andasonia hotel to try to boost their wallet. In terms of sponsorship Toteng said “So far we are still running around to get something, even a little sponsorship to help in the administrative part.”
The cautious marketing manager however could not discuss the developing prospects of the return of the Francistown businessman Don Moore and other corporates who are said to be willing to help the team saying he couldn’t comment at the moment.
The Francistown leaders are also mobilising the community to rally behind the team which was formed as a social club compared to Tasc, Ecco and GNT which were institutional teams originally.
The Chairman of Francistown Football Association (FRAFA) Jonas Msomi Ikgopoleng says they have engaged the city big-wigs to help the teams to ensure their entry into the premier league next season. Ikgopoleng added that they will meet with the mayor, Grace Muzila to see how to better help the teams. Asked whether they have identified one team to push to the elite league, he said whichever one that will start the season well will be given full support by the region.
In the general assembly two weeks ago, peace and tranquillity prevailed with supporters coming with suggestions here and there. This has been welcomed by the team and regional leadership as they believe this is what the doctor has ordered for the team.
ECCO ALSO AIM TO BOUNCE BACK
However, Tafic is not the only team fighting for a comeback, city compatriots, Ecco City Greens who were relegated last season are also ploting promotion to the elite league by the end of the season. ‘Mamoja Diskie’ has signed a deal with a local designer Makungupuleswa in bid to avoid spending much with other fancied labels- this in an endeavour to be prudent when it comes to finances as it is the reason why they relegated.
The team mouthpiece, Dingalo Dickson says everything is going accordingly and their mandate is to return to the premier league. Although it is still dry in terms of sponsorships, he remained adamant that they will use everything at their disposal to ensure that they come back; Dingalo added that they don’t want to lose many players “we want to retain a third of our current contingent of players”.
Among the preparations, the team will be holding an elective assembly this weekend to appoint a committee that will steer the team to its destination.
The Francistown region has for long time dominated First Division North and the region says it wants the two teams back in the premier league; however it won’t be easy as there are other teams like Kazungula and Mahalapye Hotspurs who can spoil the party for Francistowners.
A study conducted by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), has revealed that a turnaround strategy is needed to make an elite league body, Botswana Premier League (BPL), a profitable entity.
The study piloted in June and completed in December of last year, depicts a picture of possible improvement where a total of 16 premier league clubs were examined and studied on how they conduct their football related businesses.
It comes out that 54% of premier league club revenue streams are from general sponsorship while a paltry 2% is generated from gate takings. A further 11% of profit is from broadcasting rights and that remains abnormal in a game that should be well known to be propelled by rich television agreement worldwide.
Moreover, BDF XI, Gilport Lions, Extension Gunners, Miscellaneous, Morupule Wanderers , BR Highlanders, Police XI and Prisons XI have all demonstrated a heavy reliance and dependence on sponsors, prices and monthly grants, while the quartet of Jwaneng Galaxy, Orapa United, Township Rollers and Gaborone United have all managed to source revenue streams outside the common and well known sponsor outlets.
Of all the 16 premier league clubs, Jwaneng Galaxy emerges as the top club that is able to attract moneyed sponsors. The study shows that the Jwaneng outfit rakes about P 5 million in sponsorship revenues, followed by their ‘rival brothers’ Orapa United who receive an approximation of P 3 million per football season.
The two clubs are at the fore front because of the footsteps and presence of Debswana in their leadership radar.Coming third is Security Systems whose purse get around P 2.5M from the parent company, GU is on fourth spot at around P 1.5M. Township Rollers is on a distant fifth position with about P 1M per season of individual sponsorship.
The rest of the clubs receive services in kind such as accommodation, playing kits, training kits, fuel and water and soft drinks. This further underlines the struggle to make profit as footballing team in the elite league, the study highlights.
However, from the report, it emerges that only Township Rollers has the capacity to make profit from a good football season. Much of the club revenues are from the sale of its replica jerseys. The club as powered by Jagdish Shah sells about 3000 replicas at a value of P 350 000.It is the only club that sells merchandise from sport chain stores (Studio 88) and according to the report, it is a reliable indicator that shows fans engagement level with the club.
While it emerges from this study that ticketing revenue has a low weight on club’s revenues varying from 2-9% depending on the club, Rollers again is the only club making profit from this front.
But to further underscore the issue of lack of business sense in the elite league, it comes to the fore that there is low fan attendance per home game and this is the major cause of low ticketing revenue.
Gunners however top the table, averaging a total of 5000 supporters per game. Gunners is followed by Rollers at 4000 followers while Miscellaneous comes third with 1700 fans per home game. On average, it shows that 75% of clubs have a fan base while the remaining 25% have absolute nothing.
The report further indicates that many of Botswana’s elite clubs are experiencing financial difficulties because of the model of ownership. “Clubs legal entity form is not homogenous and 25% of them are owned by the government,” the report shows.
The report therefore recommends that clubs should standardized ownership models as this will lose dependency on government.“Furthermore, legal conditions will be the same for all clubs and transparency of the BPL will be enhanced,” the report curtailed.
However, BFA says it knows nothing about the report but one member of the executive committee says the association is addressing all problems bedevilling Botswana’s game.
The member is adamant that all administrative loopholes of the game will be resolved and it is why FIFA project time for change is still on going at regional level.
8 – Numbers of clubs that make financial losses 4 – Clubs do not depend on gate takings 1 – club is self-sustaining
Nikola Kavazovic, Township Rollers’ pragmatic Head Coach, is said to have scuppered a move that was to see Botswana international Magokolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele joining the club in this football calendar.
Instead, the player proceeded to join Limpopo province based outfit, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila F.C. carrying a long face.
It is reported that Shah, the club’s investor, had wanted to sign the left footed midfielder to bolster an attacking front but Kavazovic flatly refused to sanction the move, adding that his squad is solid and strong even without Tsotso Ngele.
According to reports, Ngele was to be offered a contract with a salary scale of P 40 000. Shah believed, and still holds the same view, that Ngele’s name is a powerhouse that was to further market the team and increase its brand awareness in Botswana’s business community.
However, Kavazovic is said to have told some members of the technical team that it is always difficult to coach and manage players who are favoured by Shah.
Ngele is reported to be nostalgic and would want to play for a home team in the stature of Rollers. As things stand, he is not enjoying his stay at Thohoyandou and it explains why his appearances at the club are an oddity.
Ngele had a successful season with Roller in 2012 where he won the Mascom Top 8 Cup under Mike Sithole. He was expected to be guided by Kavazovic to help mount a serious challenge for this year’s silver ware.
Rollers on its own have reshuffled their attacking options over a period of time, losing darling striker Joel Mogorosi to Gaborone United while another robust striker Teenage Orebonye was poached by clubs abroad.
Before the arrival of Kavazovic, Rollers’ technical team bitterly complained last season about the lack of productivity from their attackers but they hoped that the ever-consistent Edwin Moalosi and Ngele, aided perhaps by Segolame who remains in the books, can fire an upturn.
All the while, it is said Ngele will still force his move to Popa and there is hope that his personality and experience will eventually serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players like Kago Monyake.
Rollers have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their signing of Mogorosi few seasons ago was rooted, in part, by what he could bring away from the field.
Rollers still wish that Ngele could cut his stay and further negotiate with Kavazovic to sign the player and bring a country wide spread inspiration and determination he possessed after carrying the club to its inaugural top 8 edition in 2012.
That year he won the golden boot playing as a second striker. When he left Rollers, we went straight to command a starting line up with Platinum Stars. A year later, he won the Telkom knockout player of the tournament.
Some members within Rollers fold argue that Shah knew right from the start that he was not going to be able to control Kavazovic and his wishes of signing Tsotso might as well disappear on the furthest horizon.
Remnant of the historic Africa Cup of Nations squad of 2012, Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele and Botswana’s first-choice goal keeper, Kabelo Dambe, will never embody the future of the Zebras as long as Adel Amrouche is at the helm, WeekendSport has established.
The duo made this confession in the squad secret WhatsApp group seen by this publication, expressing concern and antipathy about playing for the squad heavily polarised by the coach.
It turns out that the coach has players he favours and prefers, many of who appear in the starting line-up as a long lasting promise to be signed under his stable. The aim is to ultimately recruit them to far flung clubs and earn a commission.
Ngele who remains the only player to have scored the Zebras goal (in open play) at the 2012 edition has endured a rocky affair with the coach.
Not much has been established as to why the affair is in tatters but sources claim that it stretched to a point where Amrouche confronted Ngele’s former coaches at Black Leopards to discuss possible options of side-lining him. The idea was to frustrate the player and kill his confidence as the only player Zebras looked up to.
Ngele, under former coach Peter Butler, was named the squad captain but under Amrouche, he has played cameo roles in World Cup and AFCON qualifiers. Ngele has made three appearances and came once as a substitute in all the 10 games Amrouche managed.
Ngele was hoping for his own great leap forward in an effort to end his nightmare and play for the Zebras especially after earning playing time with his new club, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.
Do this day, Ngele has made more than 35 appearances for the Zebras since earning his debut in 2009. Away from The Zebras stage, Ngele made significant contributions at Platinum Stars, the first team he signed his professional contract with. In 67 games, he scored 19 times.
Amrouche’s insistency and promise to make a loud impact in this year’s qualifiers did not bear fruit. Part of the blame is shoved on Township Rollers stopper, Kabelo Dambe. He is accused to have failed to stand strong for Zebras and shipped in simpler goals that cost the team to book a flight to Cameroon next year.
A goal against Algeria on home soil and a goal by Zimbabwe last month could have never gone through had he positioned himself better, critics claim.
Dambe who has more than 44 caps and played all Zebras games under Amrouche feels hard done and had hoped the coach and the nation would protect him. He feels the ambition of the country to qualify mirrors a tomorrow that could never come because of his mistakes.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) General Manager of National Teams, Monnakgotla Mojaki when pressed for interview failed to provide details about the future of the two stars.
He expressed concern that he was never hands on when the squad played the qualifiers. This according to Mojaki, was the case because the coach had barred him from mingling with the players.
“I am sorry I cannot assist you with anything, I know nothing and remember I have not spoken to anybody since I was asked not to come to camp,” he shared.
Both Dambe and Ngele are not only equally unhappy but are also equal in age; both are 30 years and have played for Platinum Stars at one point in their careers.
However, there is information to the effect that the duo made a promise to return one day, and that is when the coach has parted company with the association.