Sporting gloves are almost coming off as Mochudi Centre Chiefs house battles an intense transformation crisis. The club that is perched at the summit of the be-MOBILE premier league is standing on the brink of collapse as internal bickering takes centre stage.
Information Weekend Sport is in possession of paints a picture of a life of a club rumbling thorough different phases as it seeks to protect its shining image.
Two companies registered under the umbrella club are engaged in lengthy discussions and talks to find a common understanding.
In 1999, the club registered a company by the name Mochudi Centre Chiefs limited but surprisingly in 2014, the same club registered another company, Mochudi Centre Chiefs PTY Limited.
According to documentation seen by this publication, the discussions regarding the ‘true’ ownership of the club should have ended on the 9th of March as companies and registration authority threatened to dissolve the new company registered last year as Mochudi Centre Chiefs(PTY) limited.
The directors of the ‘new’ company however mention that they are willing to continue engaging the old ones despite the deadline of the companies and registration authority having lapsed. They have submitted that even though directors of the old company are dragging their feet to alleviate the matter, legally there is room for co-existence.
To further show their intent, the directors of the new company through their attorneys have responded to the registrar asking for extension as the matter is drags to the end. “Consequently, the discussions are at an early stage, regrettably towards the end of the 60 days period. The purpose of this letter is to request your esteemed office to extend the period at least by 30 days to enable parties to settle the matter. In our opinion, taking all the circumstances in to consideration, we find it appropriate that an extension beyond the 60 days period will be appropriated,” reads part of the letter.
It is noted that the old company is not under immense pressure to come to the negotiating table and had on the 3rd of March requested the new one to remonstrate the entity the company claims to represent, the business of the entity and lastly draw a proposal for them to see if it could be accepted.
CHIEFS DEVELOPMENT ROUTE Research suggests that 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.
Information shows that there had been numerous attempts overtime to transform the club with a view to make it more commercially sustainable and to uplift its football performances. However, such attempts threw the club into some disgruntlements, sabotage and sporadic achievements coupled with factionalism.
Between 1999 and 2003, the club proposed to form an entity known as Mochudi Centre Chiefs Limited (MCCL). The entity was formed by a team of 13 adults who at the time convinced the general membership of the high level transformational elements that needed to be implored to make the club commercially sustainable. The general membership is said to have granted the entity portfolio responsibility to administer its affairs, commercial rights together with trading names. The club was therefore performing politically and financially under this entity until 2003.
However, things took a dramatic twist when the entity called a general meeting in April of 2003. Of the 13 founding members, at least four members declared themselves incapacitated to continue with the administration aspects of the club. With that, the members handed back all the properties of the club including brand name, logo and commercial rights. Amicably, the club accepted, according to information gathered by WeekendSport.
To act towards the sudden decision by the entity, the club opted for an interim committee with a view to determining whether to continue with MCCL under different directors. However, in October 2004, the general membership made a resolution to not continue with MCCL so as to leave the entity defunct while the club continued as it were at inception.
In June 2010, after the club resolved that there was need for transformation, a task force was appointed. The task force was mandated to look into the possible ways in which the club could be transformed including models suitable for the traditional makeup.
Then in 2011, the taskforce recommended that the club be privatised. A resolution was made for everyone to scout for investors to partner with the club. At that time a resolution was also adopted that a trust be formed given the difficulties encountered in transforming the society club to a private entity.
It came to pass that in 2013, the club partnered with the Jamali family following lengthy discussions. Jamali was given a 60% share of the club while inviting other members for equity participation within two years. This later saw another decision being made to dissolve the existence of the club as a society and transform it into a trust. Records show that the Mochudi Centre Chiefs trust was formed under the Notarial Trust deed on 26th February 2014.
On the same year of 2014, another entity Ribbons Investment (PTY) Ltd emerged as a result of its partnership with the trust. Based on the operating costs, Jamali Family owns 60%, Maclean Letshwiti 20%, Ernest Molome 20 % while the trust has the remaining 10%.
In May 2014, after Ribbons investment assumed all affairs of the club, another entity by the name Mochudi Centre Chiefs (PTY) Ltd was formed. The same entity that has now set the fire burning inside chief’s house was formed following a decision to change the affiliation status of the club at BFA.
According to laws of the country, the former risks being dissolved unless a common understanding is reached.
Amid the confusion surrounding the date of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, met with three presidential candidates on Thursday morning to discuss a plethora of problems bedevilling the domestic game.
The candidates are Maclean Letshwiti, the current President, Tebogo Sebego, the firm challenger of the BFA throne, together with Ookeditse Malesu who enters the race for the first time in his sporting career. There were other two unnamed officials who are said to be representatives from the sport ministry.
The Sport minister is said to have adopted a hard-nosed approach to register his disappointment and worry that the uncertainty of the upcoming elections have injured the administration of the local game.
Highly placed sources at the Sport ministry say that the minister’s ‘no gloves barred’ approach comes at the behest of the BFA’s constant negative headlines regarding their leadership style as of going into the elections.
It is said that Rakgare was also worried that the current administration is keeping the other two camps in the dark regarding the planning and processes bordering on election issues. This, he said has led to unnecessary speculations and back biting that is not needed to lift the game at a time when it is on its knees.
He was to rattle a few feathers at one incident when he called all the three leaders of the game to put their houses in order. As if that was not enough, the minister called on the three lobby groups to desist from serving personal interests but put focus on developing the game.
Interestingly, sources point out that the minister was livid but urged both Letshwiti and Sebego groups to refrain from tarnishing the good image of the ministry. This, he said in response to wide ranging allegations that he is taking sides as campaigns are ongoing.
The Sebego group accuses him of de campaigning Sebego and having a soft spot for Team Letshwiti while the same Letshwiti group is saying the same thing about the minister as having taking curious interest in Sebego camp.
The minister is alleged to have told the leaders that if they do not change their leadership style of protecting those looting public funds, his ministry would intervene even if it means attracting the wrath of FIFA, which is known for its notorious sanctions when countries do not toe the line. He urges BFA to be accountable at all the times they will cut the annual subventions that goes to them, sources claim.
This is not for the first time that the BFA was lectured on good governance. At one incident in 2015, former Minster of Sport Thapelo Olopeng dressed down the then Tebogo Sebego leadership regarding good governance.
BFA was at the time closely monitored by the ministry. Instead of the usual transactions that normally go through BFA, national team players received their allowances straight from government in the form of cheques. To demonstrate that government has taken a firm stand against BFA, players’ allowances were no longer routed through the association.
Nobody from the said meeting will address this publication enquiry all indicating that the consultation is never meant for public consumption.
If everything goes according to plan, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual general assembly next month through a virtual conference.
There has been much uncertainty as to how and when the congress will be held seeing as how COVID-19 protocols remain stringent on gatherings.
Sources speaking with this publication say the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association has agreed to hold the congress within COVID-19 zones, consequently dispelling all the lingering doubts surrounding the life and soul of the assembly.
As it stands, there are nine COVID -19 zones in Botswana. The association is therefore contemplating to rely within four zones where live streaming will take centre stage for the first time in the history of BFA elections.
The congress was first billed for August 8th but was postponed to August 22nd. However, the second date could not see the light of the day as the country recorded a second rise of coronavirus cases that promptly led to greater Gaborone going into yet another lockdown.
The association has been procrastinating over the virtual congress idea with the election agenda remaining a sticky issue. Many advices came flooding that the association is free to make any decision about the congress but should be very careful not to compromise the integrity of the vote.
Sources indicate to this paper that the association is likely to rely on four COVID-19 zones, namely Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Palapye. The need to plant the meeting on virtual technologies hinges on the fact that the COVID -19 health protocols do not permit people to cross zones to hold meetings.
Information gleaned from various sources is that the association is looking to rely on four zones primarily because of the limited number of personnel under the electoral board. There are five members consisting of this committee and by the look of things; the association will not be allowed to outsource more election overseers at the eleventh hour. Sources argue that the whole cautious exercise is meant to avoid complaints that may arise after elections are held.
The virtual meeting comes after many failed attempts by the association to convince the Kereng Masupu led Task Force to give out a special dispensation. On many occasions, the Task Force refused to allow for the assembly to go on saying “football is not a priority.”
The assembly is expected to be held next month but the exact date still remains a subject of speculation. In the end, Tebogo Sebego will stand again for the second time to unseat Maclean Letshwiti while Ookeditse Malesu is standing for the first time to try and wrestle for BFA power.
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.