Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA finally got a sigh of relief after closing off activities of a challenging year last weekend. For the past years, boxing has held its swagger, as one of Botswana’ sporting successes, especially internationally. But this year, fortune did nit smile on the code as it swam in total delirium, failing to stamp its authority, even in regional competitions.
It is bare for everyone to see that there are troubles besieging BoBA; among them is the power struggle which has been going on in the past few months. This continues to hold the boxing enclave at ransom, despite being dismissed by the powers that be.
The national team was also in total decline this year, could be drawn from the Zone IV championships held early this year where the team was relegated to position three from position two of last year. In this year’s edition, Botswana could only accumulate two golds, three silver and three bronze medals.
To many people, this might seem like nothing but a reminder that Botswana was once a feared nation in the SADC region but has fallen by the wayside, down to position three, Dr Thato Patlakwe and his troops should put on their gloves and get on the ring to fight this unbecoming behaviour.
Again, some administration lapses ahead of this year’s Commonwealth Games contributed to this team’s failure, where they failed to travel to Venezuela where it was destined for a training camp. The team did not surprise at the multi-sport showpiece.
The local lads came home empty handed despite a brazen lineup that comprised of the 2010 Commonwealth games bronze medalist, Oteng Oteng. This failure brings to the fore the words of former Minister of Youth Sport &Culture’ Hon. Shaw Kgathi’s when he said: ‘’We should never send ill-prepared teams to competitions.’’ The team embarrassed the nation. It is envisaged that Dr Patlakwe and company will correct this state of affairs.
Another thorny matter that haunts the sport locally is leaders who don’t want to accept loss, reminiscent of local politicians who are famous for the line: ‘’I don’t accept the results!” As it stands, BoBA’s new committee is still in limbo; they are yet to be handed the office by the ousted members.
Where is the sporting attitude here? It appears we are led by self-obsessed individuals masquerading as sports people, in direct contradiction to the spirit of sport that spells out that one can win, lose or draw. The issue of handing over is vital for cohesion and adhesion purposes.
The new committee has held two inter-club tournaments which were all marred by all controversies but how can one expect them to excel while they are yet to assume the office? Reports doing the rounds are that both parties are failing to agree on the date and time that the handover can take place; an excuse that cannot be dignified with a listening ear.
Despite all the challenges facing BoBA, they have also defied odds here and there. They did well in the Africa Youth Games (AYG). Their sporting green horns led by Mohamed Otukile and Keamogetse Kenosi took the shine from their more fancied opponents as they secured five medals, two gold and three bronze medals.
This could be a sign that boxing is on the right direction as far as the grass roots development is concerned. Their initiative of having the upcoming boxers who are in the Re Ba Bona Ha programme curtain raising in the championship bouts is another welcome development.
Those who understand the nurturing of young talent can attest to the fact that these programmes prepare the child for the ring and the atmosphere. This weekend, they will also be hosting the Re Ba Bona Ha tournament in their quest to try to produce future stars.
The Michael Moroka led committee should be applauded for introducing women’s boxing. This is evidence that talent has always been thrown away.
One should imagine if it was never initiated, where we would see the likes of female pugilist like AYG gold medalist, Kenosi, Pearl Morake and Keneilwe Rakhudu. With the exception of the former, the two competed at the Commonwealth Games though they lost in the preliminaries. Though it was their first experience and a buoyant effort at that, one could bank on their auspices in the future.
Meanwhile, the president of BoBA, Dr Patlakwe attended the association’s forum last weekend at South-Korea. According to Dr Patlakwe, it was a very fruitful meeting, more so that the forum validated his philosophy.
‘’It was a productive meeting and we discussed things I always preached about like development and issues of government.’’ He promised that as the curtains for activities close, they will try to implement what they have gathered there. The boxing year will start early next year and hopefully boxing will be a rejuvenated code.
The negotiations involving Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) over elite league sponsorship have suffered a setback as the local brewer this week took what it termed a ‘difficult’ decision to shut down operations.
This effectively means that football sponsorship is back in its dark corner as all efforts to go back to the field take another nasty twist in the midst of ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is regrettable that this latest total ban on alcohol sales has resulted in the suspension of KBL operations, which will remain in place for as long as the alcohol ban persists. KBL continues its efforts to engage government on this critical issue, which is having an enormous impact on the industry and its extensive value chain,” the company explained.
Although not proudly maintained at Lekidi Football Centre, the company is said to have abandoned talks on explanations revolving around ‘lack of funds.’In the initial agreement, sources say that it was settled that KBL would sponsor the Botswana Football League at a tune of P30million for a period of three years.
It is maintained that the deal was to be relooked and redefined to fit the sponsorship modalities of today’s game.Highly placed sources speaking with this publication however state that BFA is assisting BFL to cajole other companies to come on board as football is about to return to the field.
Top of the list is ABSA Bank who have remained afloat despite the impacts of the virus. The bank is said to be committed to football but sources say it will take a considerable amount of persuasion to see the bank increasing sponsorship.
KBL, in the first phase, were willing to commit without much difficulties but after the storm of COVID-19, the company was to take a back seat and played a waiting game. They reasoned that the continuous lockdown the country has gone under has left them with little income than expected.
But according to sources, KBL is still expressing pleasure to engage with the association again and will further illustrate their willingness to come on board as soon as the corona virus situation subsides.It is said KBL has requested further information regarding sponsorship value from the association and once satisfied, negotiations will resume.
However, some administrators within the National Executive Committee believe KBL’s parting message does not inspire confidence. “KBL‘s phase is over, they gave us hope but it is difficult to keep track of them, COVID-19 has affected every plan,” one member shared.
At the close last season, way before the corona virus impacted the country negatively; BFA revealed that it had long compiled its situation analysis of sponsorship value for the local game. It was understood that the property that is the Premier League could be purchased at a value P 15 million over 43 premier league games.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) President, Maclean Letshwiti.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) is engaged in protracted talks to stage a mini-league as lee-way to ascend into a proper football season by August this year.
The idea is to keep players fit and all football structures functioning as time pressure mounts.Informants say the idea is discussed at the competition office and will soon be forwarded to the National Executive Committee (NEC) for further deliberations.
This therefore means that all leagues across the country will be played for only one round until August where a new full football season will resume. Football has never returned to the field for almost 10 months now due to the corona virus.
The situation on the ground looks gloomy as COVID-19 cases continue to rise with each passing day. Football clubs are also feeling the pinch with Sua Flamingos becoming the latest victims. The club has been forced to suspend operations as players and members of the technical team test positive for the deadly virus.
While playing a mini-league is a last resort, it is mentioned that no team will be promoted or relegated after the completion of the games.Sources say it is better than folding arms when teams are continuing to pay players without kicking the ball.
The idea of the mini-league therefore means that there will be no prize money but teams will likely survive with grants from identifiable sponsors. Already, the Botswana Football League (BFL) has secured a P 5 million television deal for over three years.
The BFL think tanks contemplate to augment the television deal with sponsorship grants from ABSA bank. According to information, this will keep the league and its secretariat running until everything gets back to normalcy.
“It is true we are thinking to stage a mini league looking at what we have but this is still an infant idea, we are discussing and we will engage NEC going forward,” a member of the association shared.BFA leadership finds itself stuck between a rock and a hard place as the motion to kick start the league in February was shot down by the assembly in October of last year.
The movers of the motion argued that high temperatures usually recorded in the South of Sahara desert negatively affects player performance and their overall health conditions. However, there were intentions to commence the league at the earliest possible time but the task force together with the Ministry of Sport wanted players to be tested and football fields be fumigated regularly to avoid spreading the virus.
Early this week, the BFL leadership engaged the Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) to give an update on how football will return. However, this publication cannot adequately establish the detailed plan of the league.
Boteti based side, Orapa United were quick to snatch back Zebras left-back, Lesenya Ramoraka, tying him with a two-year deal after he was released this week by TS Galaxy.
The 26 year-old defender left The Ostriches in 2018 to join Highlands Park who later sold their status last year to renowned football agent Tim Sukazi of TS Galaxy. Ramoraka’s contract was to end this year July.
At the time of the sale, the team then opted not to register him for another season hoping to register him in the January transfer but his injury kept him out for longer than anticipated, forcing TS Galaxy to release him as he was free to start to negotiate with any team that may be interested in him.
“We have signed Ramoraka after assessing his injury and he is in Orapa as we speak doing his rehab.The injury is not bad and we expect him to resume light training anytime from mid- February,” said Kabo William, the club spokesperson.
Ramoraka left an impressive mark at Highlands Park where he played 29 games in all competitions and netting only once. Lee, as he is known in football circles, is one of the most trusted left backs in the country and has been a vital part of the Zebras with his absence felt at the national team.
“The team had wanted to keep him but they were just concerned that his injury was taking long to heal and they opted to release him as you cannot have a player out for too long more especially who is a foreigner,” said a source.
“He had survived the changes at the team and you have to also note that the coach who brought him, Owen Da Gama also just joined TS Galaxy and he is one of the players that he trusted and used so it is not a matter of performance but they couldn’t afford to have him on the side-lines for too long.”
Orapa United have also announced the signing of other players that include; Thabiso Boti formerly with Notwane, Kutlo Kolagano from City Eagles, Galagwe Moyana who was released by Township Rollers, Kagisano Mungu from TAFIC and the team promoted Phemelo Pushudi from their development side.
The Ostriches have released goalkeeper Bophelo Kealeboga who has signed a 2 year deal with Sua Flamingos, Mothusi Johnson who retraced his steps back to Gaborone United, Baboloki Makhura and Abdullah Hamisi.