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BFA Presidency: A familiar war looms

Maclean letshwiti

Come August 8th 2020, the fate of Botswana football will be decided. This is the time when 60 delegates gather to usher in a new team that will run the affairs of the domestic game for four uninterrupted years.

Thus far, two familiar teams headed by familiar Presidents will once again fight a familiar war to capture the soul of the football association. Incumbent President Maclean Letshwiti seeks for a fresh mandate while closest challenger, Tebogo Sebego is in pursuit of a new establishment.

The two football administrators faced each other in August of 2016, when Sebego was in the driving seat while Letshwiti was a tough challenger.

At this stage, nothing can be said about the lobby lists and campaign strategies from either side. The two warring groups are playing a waiting game despite the BFA electoral board having prepared the stage for nomination and vetting. However, as Lord Palmerston once observed, “in politics, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.”

It explains why one Maokaneng Bontshetse and Senki Sesinyi are expected to become moral voices of Tebogo Sebego- a man they denounced and baptized during the 2016 elections. This is an often murky world of international football politics. The lesson of the past years at BFA have been that running for presidency is a high-risk, expensive pursuit and that, in the end the one with solid power wins.

Sebego’s candidacy it seems, is set to be a two-pronged assault on Letshwiti, orchestrated by the ‘godfathers’ of football.

Certain embattled friends of football members-the football regime of which Sebego has represented and led-are believed to be ensuring that he groups high profile names to solidify his candidacy in running for the post again and again.

It means this years’ election will therefore likely be a straight fight between members of friends of football and the current President is prepared to face seemingly insurmountable odds, particularly after the regime itself split where one Segolame Ramotlhwa might as well be prepared to mount a serious campaign against his former immediate boss.

However, Letshwiti arguably could win a public vote for the presidency, having obtained countrywide popularity for his exploits in the field, particularly after bringing back the once forgotten FA cup.

Sebego’s entry into the race is expected to remove the threat of virtual coronation for the current President, Mac Lean Letshwiti who swept Sebego off the floor four years ago after an earnest and explosive strategy.

All the while reports say Sebego could also find himself forced out of BFA if he loses pending legal cases, but for very different reasons. He lost a power struggle with the association a year before 2016 elections which meant the battle was a bitter fight from the get-go.

The platform afforded by a tilt at the BFA NEC might help his cause or it could backfire if cadres like Ramotlhwa and Senki Sesenyi who seem to back Sebego, campaign against Letshwiti on that front.

Those close to Sebego say although he has lost in 2016 he still has supporters who can endorse his work. They say he views it as a challenge to change the status quo and convince people to support and follow him. Supporters say Sebego believes there is nothing wrong at the association except that people tend to serve their own interests above that of football.

Sport

Clubs wail as stipends are delayed

29th June 2020

Only Gaborone United (GU), from the elite league, has benefited simply because they have qualified their accounts to the ministry.

Premier League clubs’ patience is finally wearing thin as the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture Development delays the payment of the promised subventions. The Ministry undertook to assist football clubs to make ends meet as corona virus locked down sporting activities.

This publication gathers that the clubs are however forced to wait longer than expected as the Ministry further assesses the situation.

In May, the Ministry of Sport made a reverberating assurance that it will assist clubs bearing in mind the direct impact of COVID- 19 within the local sport. The Tumiso Rakgare led ministry ascertain clubs that they are ready to pay each player P 2.500 for the months of April, May and June.

This kind of assistance /promise was also extended to players plying their trade in the First division league, a stream of clubs just one step below the elite league. There, players are anticipated to receive P 1.500      each for the same period of three months.

However, clubs have begun to show impatience and their temperament towards the Sport Ministry is beginning to shift. Clubs believe what the ministry wants is difficult to prove and will take ages to process for them to qualify for the subventions.

Various club chairpersons refused to comment citing the just released memo that bars them from talking with the media.

It is, all the while, noted that only Gaborone United (GU), from the elite league, has benefited simply because they have qualified their accounts to the ministry. It is also well-known that clubs like BDF XI, Police XI and Prisons XI will not profit from the ministry subvention because they are already aided by the government.

In an earlier interview, Rakgare said clubs should exercise patience and wait for the right time. He said that government transactions are often times slow to be processed but surely it will be done.

“Let me urge the clubs to be patient, government protocols always take some time to be finalized, but for sure, the government keeps its promises even up to now,” he assured.

Some clubs say the sport sector form is difficult to complete. Others say the Ministry has returned them to finalize the paper documents and by the look of things what they want is not easy to give out.

The Ministry needs players/teams to provide proof of wage bill income before the arrival of COVID -19. They also want proof of signed player contracts from clubs. Furthermore clubs are expected to forward proof of compliance with the registrar of societies. Teams are also expected to provide copies of staff payroll for the months of January, February and March.

Moreover, the Ministry wants affidavits indicating that no other relief assistance has been received by clubs. It is why clubs like Township Rollers and Security Systems will not have a dime from the Sport Ministry account because they have applied for the separate BURS subsidy.

A total of 25 players are expected to benefit from each team. For one team, the government is expected to assist with P62.500 per month.

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Sport

BFA, Coaches mend broken affairs

29th June 2020
Coaches Association of Botswana interim President - Chicco Nare

Botswana Football Association (BFA) together with Coaches Association of Botswana have smoked a peace pipe and promised to work for the good of the game after enduring a frosty relationship that spanned three years.

The two organizations found common ground roughly a month before the football association is to hold elective congress for determination of new office bearers.

In 2017, the Coaches Association wanted BFA to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for purposes of recognition as associate members. It was their view that they could not operate in isolation.  

Coaches say they have been running their affairs alongside the governance of the association and this has not helped their course.  It is why upon their self-actualization review, they found out that they incurred unnecessary operational costs. 

“We really cannot operate in isolation, we need the association to work hand in hand with, we are glad that we have kissed and made up,” Nare who is the interim President told this publication.

The Coaches Association was livid because the current BFA regime refused to recognize them well in time. The two sides have found each and the association is believed to have promised to clear some of the debts the coaches have left behind.

It is said the Coaches Association have a debt of P40 000 of unpaid rentals. All their furniture have been attached, this means they have to start from square one again.

The Coaches Association had also refused to sign a code of ethics for coaching because they believe it is better it is channelled in another way. The coaches said it is best they sign the code of ethics after a thorough consultation exercise is done.

An agreement was also made that the Coaches Association of Botswana will register coaches while the BFA will only provide licensing. Again, the coaches have vowed to give advices and run refresher courses for themselves while observing signage between themselves.

The coaches also agreed to play a leading role on who should be appointed as national coaches but not necessarily forcing the BFA to go with their choices. Moreover, coaches want to have a representative at the BFA Technical Committee, one who can represent their views well and unbiased.

The coaches are happy that the association has given them an ear at a very crucial time. Although not highly held, the coaches are anticipated to help canvass country wide support for the current administration to retain power. A couple of them believe the Letshwiti led administration should be accorded a second opportunity to implement their mandate.

The coaches held this meeting with aspiring second Vice President, Masego Ntshingane. The former BDF XI player is believed to be growing well under President Letshwiti and it is why he wants to show the football fraternity why he dumped his former cadres for the new involvement. He is standing against Senki Sesenyi and former Letshwiti supporter Solly Ramochothwane.

Efforts to reach Ntshingane were futile as his phone rang unanswered.

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Sport

FIFA directs Chippa to pay GU

23rd June 2020
Seakanyeng

Gaborone United (GU) has had their opportunity in the courtrooms of FIFA-the world football governing body- to make their case and fight from all angles to force South Africa’s Chippa United to pay them for the purchase of players, Kabelo Seakanyeng and Thatayaone Kgamanyane.

The two players were sold almost two years ago at a combined fee of P600 000 and it appears Chippa has been playing a waiting game until the domestic side’s patience wilted away. GU, therefore, approached FIFA for legal redress and the June 1st verdict came out in their favour.  Chippa United is directed to pay GU P 600 000 within 45 days.

Chippa was left with an egg on the face and was slapped with an ultimatum that should they fail to process the transaction; they will be banned for registering new players, either nationally or internationally, up until the due amount is fully paid. The South African based club was reminded that three consecutive registration periods shall pass without them buying players.

It is not clear why Chippa United played a waiting game after buying the two Botswana international players. GU were represented by Lore Morapedi Attorneys while Chippa, the major actors in this battle, had no representatives.

It is however recalled that the club, few months after signing the players, had their catalysed role in terminating the contracts of both players.

In January of 2019, sources told WeekendSport that Chippa United was facing serious financial meltdowns and as a last resort, a total of 10 players –a number dominated by foreigners- had to be released in a cost cutting exercise.

Seakanyeng and Kgamanyane were therefore the obvious fall guys as the club started to wield an axe. Both players had signed three year deals with the club after impressing at the annual COSAFA Castle Cup tournament held in July of 2018. The two were signed from Gaborone United (GU) where Chippa was to pay a total of P2 million.

As the club was engaging the players, Seakanyeng was said to be battling an over powering dilemma when he wanted to refuse to accept a 6 month settlement.  The player later returned to GU while Seakanyeng was signed a by club in Malta. Both were earning P 80 000 before tax deductions.

At the time of their release, Chippa United was under administration- a far demeaning situation that means that the club’s finances are monitored by the court while Premier Soccer League (PSL) was also intervening.

It is noted that PSL gives clubs R2 million a month for purposes of self-administration. How Chippa’s finances hit a red mark was yet to be established, but what is known is that the club gets a total of R10 million per year from Nelson Mandela Municipality, the government of the Eastern Cape.

The Eastern Cape government relocated Chippa United from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth so that there can be activity at the world cup stadium built in Port Elizabeth.

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