The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is said to be on the brink of completing its long-standing grand plan to fire its British Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Keith Masters, highly placed sources have revealed.
The troubled English man, who has since returned, was forced go on leave after which he immediately boarded a plane back to his native country last month. Long standing BFA finance manager Susan Monametsi was asked to hold fort for him.
Those close to development have hinted out that BFA chiefs have completed their first phase of pushing Masters out of his plum post. There is a growing belief within the National Executive Committee (NEC) that he was forced to go on leave as part of their strategy to “slash all his benefits” once the Briton is forced out of his contract.
According to reports, Keith Masters signed a three-year contract.
The association is reported to be cracking under intense pressure from different quarters and has once endured a Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) backlash over his (Masters) alleged ineffectiveness.
This publication’s informants say the intention was to fire Masters while on leave but a second sobering thought prevailed.
Keith Masters ascended to the association’s plum post in February last year, six months after the then Tebogo Sebego’s strong camp wrestled BFA power from embattled David Fani’s regime.
Masters was hired as Duncan Kgame’s replacement. Kgame who, too, had lost the control of the NEC opted to resign as outside pressure mounted.
However, there was an ‘outpouring’ of delight within the association when Masters was hired and touted as the ‘Messiah from England’. There was no lingering doubt at Lekidi Football Centre that the man was to effect changes almost immediately. But alas, the Briton found himself surrounded by controversy of all sorts right from the outset.
Although, the possibility of parting ways with Masters hurts and excites the NEC in equal measure, the association is said to be eager to take a bold decision sooner than later. While it is now a palpable fact that the relationship between some BFA members and Masters is now grossly sour, the association is said to have adopted a cautious approach around the timing of the decision.
As things stand, the NEC’s deliberation is said to be clouded with fear and doubt that will set in after their conclusion. Information says the association is gradually finding it rather impractical to continue with the first ever foreigner to have occupied the position of BFA-CEO.
When contacted for comment in Gaborone this week, the CEO angrily retorted: “I really do not think I want to comment on this as I do not respond to rumours.”
Masters went on: “If the Association wishes to take any action of any kind against me or any other employee there is a due process they have to follow in accordance with the provisions of the Staff Conditions of Service and, I believe, the labour laws of the country.”
In fact, Masters believes there is much good he has done for the association.
“I have a Government work permit and am trying to do the best job I can for the BFA and the footballing fraternity of Botswana. I personally think we are succeeding as best we can, taking into account the resources that are available.
One of the problems I continually see here is what I have continually called negativity. The cup always appears to be half-empty with the press and that continuation has an adverse effect on enabling progression in certain areas.
We actually need each other to go forward. In my long football administration career I have always had a successful working relationship with the press and, with some newspapers that is the same here. There is much good in the game in Botswana and the good exceeds the alternative many fold but that does not appear important to the press. There is old adage, which I suspect is probably worldwide that the only commercial news in football is bad news,” he said.
Deeming the decision vital in all respects, the mother body is seen to be at a cross roads; trust between them and their employee has over past months weakened rather drastically that the man ‘may’ not deliver the goods.
He has previously threatened suicide when asked to leave by his master, Tebogo Sebego. On the other hand, Masters is said to be drawing much sympathy from other high-ranking NEC members that he should be left to finish what he has already started.
The justification, although not proudly maintained, is that Masters’ relationship with some of BFA members is a healthy one at least and that alone can play a pivotal role in the reform process the association seeks to undertake.
The Botswana national boxing team recently returned from the zone 4 championship held in Mozambique. The team was led by head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi, two assistant coaches, Gibson Rauwe and Pearl Mooketsi. Two referees and judges, Gaseitsewe Ponatshego and Linda Mooketsi.
In the women’s category, Lethabo Modukanele was representing Botswana in the 48 kg division, while Phekie Bele and Sadie Kenosi were competing in the 57 kg and 60 kg categories, respectively. In the men’s category, Kobamelo Molatlhegi was representing the country in the 52 kg division, while Rajab Mahomed was competing in the under 51 kg category.George Molwantwa was competing for under 57 kg category and Treasure Moremi was competing for under 60kg category.
The boxers came home with seven medals, Modukanele came home with a gold medal, Kenosi, Rajab, Molatlhegi all came home with silver medals. While Moremi, Molwantwa and Phekie Bele all came home with bronze medals.
According to Moitshepi Nkabiti, the public relations officer of the Botswana Boxing Association, the team performed well and that they were hoping that Rajab would also bring home a gold medal. However, due to an eye injury, he could not participate in the finals.
He stated that, “though some people might think that how our team performed is not an achievement it is a big achievement to us. Other countries came with 19 boxers while we only came with our seven boxers, and they all came back with medals. That is something that we have to be proud of I really commend them for their performance. Having 5 players making it to the finals is really a blessing and we should not take it for granted.”
According to Nkabiti, Botswana was ranked fourth in the zone 4 championship, which was held in Mozambique. Other countries that participated in the tournament included South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini, and Seychelles. They all had a total of 19 boxers. Lesotho also had eight boxers.
The first Mascom Charity Cup spectacular has come and gone. The football event played at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium saw four football clubs playing one-day tourney with various charity centres being beneficiaries of the gate takings.
While the attendance was not at the expected level, it is said that the sponsor has made a killing with close to P500 000 made from voting lines. Football followers were asked to vote for teams of their choice, and top four clubs were eligible to play. A single sms voting line cost P 1.50.
Gaborone United became the most voted team with 62 984 votes followed by Security Systems with 51 027. On the third spot was BDF XI with 48 596 votes while Orapa United came forth with 44 401. Shockingly, Township Rollers did not make it after gathering a total of 30 637 votes, with BR Highlanders ahead of them having seen 44 204 votes to their name.
It is said, however that, the initiative live to expectation as clubs together with the sponsor have managed to assist charities of their choices. Mascom is believed to be happy for identifying beneficiaries and getting value for their money.
The mobile network company is still the longest standing partners of local football, having first tasted waters in 2005. The company now powers the Top 8 competition and said to have renewed the dame sponsorship at a value not exceeding 18 million. The Mascom Charity Cup was not the first to be hosted by a mobile network company.
In 2018, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) hosted a similar event in which followers had to vote. The four participating teams were Mochudi Center Chiefs, Gaborone United, Orapa United and Township Rollers. GU were the eventual winners.
It is however not clear if the tournament will continue in the next football calendar, but what goes down into the history books is that Teenage Mpote and Orapa United were the first to win it. In previous years, there have been an off season tournament whose aim was meant for charity purposes. The tourney was called Kabelano Charity Cup and was usually played by four big teams (Rollers, Notwane, GU and Chiefs) without taking the voting routes. It was last hosted in 2015 and had Barclays as the sponsors.
Yet another thrilling showdown is expected between the country’s hottest strikers, Thabang Sesinyi of Jwaneng Galaxy and Thataoyaone Kgamanyane of Gaborone United, as the duo are eyeing for the 2021/2022 Golden boot.
With only four Botswana Premier League (BPL) games left, the race for the honours is rolling towards a thrilling climax, but for two individuals there is a race for an accolade of their own taking place that could easily go down to the final minutes of the season. Leading the pack with 19 goals is Jwaneng Galaxy talisman, Sesinyi who is one goal apart from Kgamanyane who has netted 18 goals thus far.
Both players have their eye on the golden boot, hoping that their respective teams have fixtures to put them in with a realistic chance of catching up, or leaving the other behind. The Money Machine is currently at the summit of the BPL log with 61 points while the mining giant, Galaxy are trailing on the third place with 49 points, having played 24 games thus far.
Both teams (GU and Galaxy) are expected to face each other towards the end of the season, as the initial fixture was postponed due to Galaxy’s involvement in CAF championship group stages. With 19 goals chalked up for the season so far, Sesinyi is just one goal away from Kgamanyane who led the race for the better part of the campaign. Sesinyi who is on freakish scoring form has scored four goals in his last two games; a hat trick against Prisons XI and a goal against Sua Flamingoes in the midweek fixture.
But there is no doubt that Sesinyi is no longer playing to carry his team, Galaxy, as realistically there is a slim chance for them to clinch the 2021/2022 season, but he is eyeing the Golden Boot Award when the league falls off.
Kgamanyane has begun the season in tremendous form; scoring every time he is given a chance, while Sesinyi, on the other hand, reached the peak of his form in the second round of the season; scoring both in the domestic league and also on the CAF Champions’ league group stage. He featured on team of the week on February.
Furthermore, the Money Machine attacker showed some growth as his conversion rate has been on a rising graph in the games he has so far played. Although Kgamanyane’s goal scoring prowess has been there for everyone to see, the player has been hampered by injuries. It promises to be a fascinating battle between the duo.
Meanwhile, BPL this week announced that they will hold the 2021/2022 awards. The league has since added seven new categories to take the total number of categories to 16. Among some new categories are the Defender of the Season and Midfielder of the Season awards. There are also two more awards for the administrators, as the league has included Team Manager of the Season and the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Season awards.
The best performing players in this campaign will be included in the Premier League Best XI. Nevertheless, match day officials have also been recognised with the introduction of two more categories in the young Referee of the Season and the Female Referee of the Season. Furthermore, BFL CEO Solomon Ramochotlhwane indicated that the awards will be held on the 25 June 2022, just after the 2021-2022 season comes to an end.