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BFAs options amid COVID-19

BFA president MacLean Letshwiti

The uncertainty surrounding football prolongs as the Botswana Football Association (BFA) strive to look through remedies available to kick-start the suspended football season.

The ever growing effects of corona virus pandemic has thrown football behind bars ,but as the government starts to uplift nationwide lockdown regulations, authorities of the game are also intent loosen the nuts for clubs to start making income again.

The association has extended the league suspension and has told different quarters that it will resume when everything else is safe. While clubs continue to pile pressure that they are struggling to pay players, let alone make two ends meet, the association says it will make a public decision soon and map the way forward.

As things stand, they are about 10 premier league games left to complete the season. The FA cup, under the sponsorship of Orange Company, was on its quarterfinal phase, and needed at least three weeks to reach the climax.

While the association deliberates on available options, the FA cup will remain stuck at the quarterfinal stage while Jwaneng Galaxy will wait anxiously the chance to lift the title for the first time since their inception. Or it will be Township Rollers who will win their fifth successive title.

Sowa Flamengos and Nico United stand neck to neck on the Debswana First Division North race. Each team wants promotion and nothing else. So is Masitaoka of Molepolole, the new kid of block down south.

However, sources of information say plenty of conversations are taking place behind closed doors and decisions to conclude the 2019-20 seasons are looked into. It is said, BFA is basically looking at three options currently on its table. Each decision has to be informed by facts and scenarios and one is independent from the other.

The first option, BFA says, is to stop the league where it is and crown the team that occupies the first place, which is Jwaneng Galaxy. By all accounts, the association feels it is a risky and controversial option to undertake.

Countries like France have awarded log leaders, Paris Saint German (PSG), the league title and this has left Olympic Lyon with no option but to protest. Lyon believes they had a chance of catching and even leap frogging PSG to the title.

Given the sensitivity of issues surrounding the domestic game, BFA is of the view that it will not want to set the cat amongst the pigeons with the above option. The second available possibility is to stretch the season and consequently change the football calendar.

There has been a shelved proposal that recommends the change of our season from the usual August-May calendar to February- November because of health reasons, BFA president MacLean Letshwiti said.

This therefore means the football might continue to wait until and later be stretched to the Feb- November calendar. This football season was considered also because of adverse hot conditions unfavorable to the playing conditions in Botswana.

The last possibility is to nullify all the leagues. This was – and continues to be – the last resort. Across all the global leagues, the domestic campaign has only 10 matches left, which could, in theory, be completed in the space of five weeks.

Given that backdrop, why would anyone – ulterior motives accepted – want to get rid of the work put in over the previous seven months and pretend it never happened? It is a question BFA should asks themselves as they ponder on the future.

TOP 4 BEFORE CORONA VIRUS

TEAM PLAYED WON POINTS
Jwaneng Galaxy 20 12 41
Township Rollers 20 12 40
Orapa United 20 12 40
Security Systems 20 11 39

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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