The Botswana Football Association (BFA) and its under fire Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Keith Masters have tumbled and rumbled more than once behind closed doors, and the two parties’ relationship seems to be deteriorating very fast.
A task committee which was set up to assess Keith Masters’ deliverables has submitted a report on the Briton’s short spell and apparently it does not give him much credit. While Masters is currently fighting off duty episodes, The BFA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is more concerned with his on duty calls and will vet him based on the report recently submitted by the taskforce team.
This publication learns that Masters was this week another leave extension and more scrutiny being done on his portfolio.
Weekendsport learns that the BFA NEC assembled a taskforce group to assess Masters’ dependability and expertise as the CEO of the association. It is reported that the group was appointed sometime in January and immediately started trailing the chief administrator of the association. Before allegations of pornographic materials were levelled against him, Masters was slapped with a letter to demonstrate why action could not be taken against him in as far as his work was concerned, reports say.
This week, after the arrival of the president of the association, Tebogo Sebego from Equatorial Guinea, the taskforce is said to have submitted the gloomy report. The taskforce comprising of five NEC members was assigned to study Masters’ Portfolio from the time he took over the seat of CEO until now.
Currently, indications are that Masters is not enjoying his office as much as he would like to because of souring relations with some staff members and the combination of complaints from the administrative team to anxious technical persons within the BFA. Some observers however feel that Masters is a victim of infighting. But it is clear that some members of the BFA hierarchy accuse him of perceived blame culture hence pushing for his dismissal.
When contacted for comment, BFA president, Tebogo Sebego could not furnish this publication with answers; while Marshlow Motlogelwa, vice president of the association avoided talking about Masters’ future only saying, “A detailed report will be released as soon as the NEC is done.”
BUT WHAT ARE MASTERS’ DELIVERABLES? In an attempt to gather what Keith was hired to do, WeekendSport has managed to turn out at least four deliverables that a handful of NEC members feel the Briton has fallen short on.
As the former CEO of Kent football back in England, he was expected to apply his mind in helping to professionalise Botswana football. The second deliverable was that the Briton should work effortlessly to close the gap between constituency football and the elite league.
Such mandate was to see him helping to create a link between regions and the BFA structures. Of the initial 16 regions, he is reported to have visited only three. Keith was also expected to implement a method of training compensation for football players after the case of Tsotso Ngele tied Gabane Santos and Township Rollers. He came at a time when the Coca-Cola Company was pulling out and was expected to attract investors to the association but all this has not yet happened.
SUCCESS STORY: ASHFORD MAMELODI But how did he manage to complete his term? Asked to talk about his experience as the only CEO to have completed his full tenure in the BFA hot seat, FIFA development officer, Ashford Mamelodi said: “I am not privy to what the goings on are at the Botswana Football Association Secretariat that might be the cause for CEO's leaving the Association without staying for long as I am not a part of the organization since leaving in 2000.”
“Amongst the things I enjoyed most during my time at the BFA and which might have contributed to my longevity of tenure was the environment that I worked in. I was fortunate and privileged to work for teams of leaders (NEC) who were very clear on good corporate governance. Role charity was never an issue and when it did rear its ugly head it would be nipped in the bud. Collective responsibility was simply not negotiable.
Staff loyalty and an excellent work ethic prevailed, where serving football came before ' what is in it for me;' where people were proud to work for the game and low salaries were not a deterrent to optimum performance; and where working standards were not compromised. Most importantly my staff and I were allowed to do our work uninterrupted and I was held accountable to the leadership. Micro management by the NEC at the Secretariat was taboo.
The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.
Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.
This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.
According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.
In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.
It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.
In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.
Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.
“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.
When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.
To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.
Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.
But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’
Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.
The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.
The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.
The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.
The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.
The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out. The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.
The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele. In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.
“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system. The stadium will therefore be out of bounds when contracted companies begin their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.
The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.
The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.
Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.
The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.
This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.
“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.
The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.
Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.
Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.
However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.
Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.
Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.
All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.
Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.
Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.
The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.
Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.
Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.