The Botswana National Sports Council’s (BNSC) 2012 resolution that they will no longer bankroll clubs competing in the regional and continental games, is likely to boomerang as teams participation in the championships are in jeopardy due to lack of finances.
The council’s vision preaches mass participation by the local clubs in the international arena, but they are reneging on the pledge by throwing spanners in the works for clubs.
Their long-term plan in their Vision 2028 encourages local teams to compete in international competitions to gain experience so that they deliver five medals in the 2028 Olympic Games. But failure by the mother-body to finance the team’s means that club participation in those games may dwindle, which at the end will render their long-term plan a pipedream.
Since the sport council resolution local teams have been performing dismally in the continental games, due to financial difficulties. Extension Gunners, Mochudi Center Chiefs and Gaborone United (GU) failed to go past the preliminary rounds as they could not afford.
In the past, BNSC assisted teams with finances but things took nasty route when Gunners was supposed to take part in Confederations Cup in 2012 after winning the Coca Cola Cup the previous year. By virtue of being the BFA Cup champions, Gunners had to represent the country in the Confederations Cup but their mission nearly flopped, thanks to business moguls who came to their rescue.
The same fate repeated itself this year when Chiefs and GU were crying that lack of financial assistance from the mother body had disadvantaged them, but fortunately they were able to secure finances for the task at hand.
This time round the volleyball giants Kutlwano and Diphatsa are expected to represent the country at the Zone V1 Championships slated for Maputo, Mozambique, next month (December). But the teams are facing uncertainty whether they will compete in the regional games because of financial doldrums.
During the Capital Motors Cup sponsorship launch in September, the Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) President Daniel Molaodi encouraged winning teams to use the prize money sparingly to cater for the tournament.
The prize money for the tournament is P20, 000 is far too little if you are preparing for the games of that magnitude as they budget for logistics like transport and accommodation which normally comes at a hefty price especially in countries like Mozambique.
However, the BNSC acting CEO said in a brief interview that they made the resolution because of financial difficulties, as they wanted to reduce spending.
Speaking to Weekendsport Nlebesi Mphapho from Diphatsa Volleyball Club, said it is tough to secure the finances for the championships. But he said they would use the money available from the reserves so that they can go to Maputo but wouldn’t hide the fact that the cash snub by the sport council has affected them.
‘’It is indisputable the status quo has affected us because the money we are going to use we could be using in the next season.’’ Diphatsa have been abandoned by their partners BDF and they are now a community club, which makes their financial situation quite precarious though they are determined to come home with silverware from Maputo, if they can make it.
Their partners Kutlwano could be facing the same thing, but they are lucky as they have partnership with Dynamic Insurance Brokers who can bail them out in this tumultuous time. But a hint coming out of the club suggested that they are still weighing options on whether to compete at Zone VI but still the hurdle is finances.
Efforts to get an official update from the club management were fruitless as the cub chairman’s mobile phone rang unanswered.
In the past the local volleyball teams have been dominating the Zone V1, so it will be closely watched to see how they will fare this time round during this time of trials and tribulations to see whether their monotony will repeat itself.
The corporate world is encouraged to assist clubs and athletes so that they represent the country with dignity.
Gaborone United was this week crowned 2021/2022 Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions following their 1-0 win over the holders, Jwaneng Galaxy. Thero Setsile’s 13th minute’s goal was enough to seal the league championship, ending 13 years of drought from the Old Naledi outfit.
With two games to go before the top-flight season wraps up, Gaborone United opened a seven points gap to second placed Township Rollers having accumulated 63 points from twenty eight games. The Money machine were the first team to open a new chapter in the history books of Botswana football, when they were crowned the inaugural 2008/09 be Mobile Premiership champions, that came up with P1 million as prize money. Thereafter the club has been on the league drought as it could only manage winning Coca Cola FA Cup in 2012, Mascom top 8 twice in 2013 and 2015. They also won the Orange FA cup last season.
The return of Zackhem as the club financier signaled a new era with a number of galactic signings for the 2021/2022 season. The team brought into their fold big names in local football; Kekaetswe Moloi, Lesego Galenamotlhale and Joel Mogorosi. The arrival of enterprising left wing back Mothusi Johnson, dribbling wizard Mpho Kgaswane and hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele made the job easier for the coaches.
Attacker Onkabetse Makgantai also joined the marauding attackers in Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Thero Setsile to make their front line combination the deadliest in the league. Both Kgamanyane and Setsile have netted 34 goals this season with the goal minder Goitseone Phoko keeping 20 clean sheets thus far while conceding just 10 goals. GU is still on the Orange FA Cup race and football commentators believe that they are the favorites looking at the quality of their squad.
As it stands should the Money Machine win all their remaining games, they stand a chance to equal the highest championship winning points record of 76 points which set by Mochudi Center chiefs during the 2007-2008 football season. That record stood for 14 years and Gaborone United could equal that feat should they win their remaining games against Sua Flamingos and struggling Notwane. The Money Machine made the bold statement begging of the 2021/2020 football season when they won 11 games straight games without even conceding a goal.
The Reds, who are under the guidance of Innocent Morapedi, a seasoned coach and his assistant Pontsho Moloi, has been consistent in the title race. In the process, the Old Naledi side has scored 59 goals while conceding the least goals (10 goals) and has a superior goal difference of 49 goals. Gaborone United success breaks Township Rollers and Mochudi Center Chiefs dominance as the only teams to have won the league title more than any other club in the last 13 seasons. GU’s proximity to money and talent were key this season.
Domestically since GU last won the league title, Mochudi Center Chiefs have won it three times; whilst the most decorated football club with 16 titles, Rollers has been dominating the league, winning five titles on the spin in five seasons from 2013-14 to 2018-19. Last season, Jwaneng Galaxy was crowned champions for the very first time due to being at the top of the table when the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the season to be prematurely halted with ten games to play.
After two years of no action across various sports codes including softball, Botswana Softball Association (BSA) is going back to the grounds to resuscitate the sport.
This weekend all roads lead to Selibe Phikwe for the top eight ladies championship. The eight ladies teams comprise the top four ladies teams from the south and north regions. They will then come together and form eight teams and battle it out this weekend at the Phikwe Softball Grounds and Area 2 Mowana Ball Park. The competing ladies teams are Titans, Police, Vikings, UB Giants, Rail giants, Scramblers, Carats and Ghetto Yankees. The champions will be crowned thereafter.
Softball Association Public relations officer, Boingotlo Marope explained that this tournament is not only for ladies, she said men’s championship will be held at Gaborone on the 28th May 2022. She said they have noticed that everything is confined to Gaborone as their headquarters in the southern region. As a result they have decided to take other activities to the northern region as well. “We are trying to grow softball, we don’t want everything to surround Gaborone only which is why the ladies tournament will be held at Selebi Phikwe in the northern region to bring equality.”
However, she explained that the reason they were missing in action is because of Covid 19. “We saw government cautionary trying to protect everyone by putting certain restrictions as spots had to stop for 12 months, we welcomed 12 months to protect Batswana. As a results that lead to the closure as there were no games”.
In addition Marope said they currently don’t have sponsors however private sector has always come through. Bofinet has to cut the sponsorship but that is not due to Covid 19 crisis. “Bofinet has showed commitment, they promised that as soon as they are settled they will come to our door knocking again,” she added.
Marope further said as a results they rely on their tight budget. Few of players has been sponsored, some has to dig from their own pockets, some parents cannot sent their children as some had to quit. “We have worked with our tight budget to assist teams and hoping that in the coming season we can have somebody to assist”.
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.