The P150 million budget proposal of the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) was slashed almost by half. This explains why premier league football players got an equivalent share with artists/musicians when the youth and sport relief fund was established, WeekendSport has learnt.
It is said the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) argued that the proposal was too much to approve but eventually settled for P70m to cater for sports persons, artists and other activities related to culture.
Sources say the Sport Ministry’s budget proposal ballooned because Minister Tumiso Rakgare had argued that football players should receive at least P5000 for the months of April, May and June. The Minister stood on the ground that players’ careers are often very short and need to be rewarded handsomely while time allows.
His views were that an artist can still perform and make a living at an average age of 30 years, but a football player, the mentioned age is when a player stares at the sunset of his career.
But in the end the Ministry of Finance settled for P70million as the overall budget whereupon players were to receive P2, 500 for the coming three months. While the youthful minister could not adequately convince the likes of Minister Matsheka, he was mindful of players’ welfare in a country that still pays little attention to sports in general, sources said.
Amidst the lockdown, many football players were reported to have fallen into despair and worry as they thought their football careers had come to an abrupt end.
Between March 22 and April 14, the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels better known as International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO) and affiliated national player associations surveyed 1,602 professional footballers in countries that had implemented drastic measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus such as mass home-confinement. 1,134 male players, with a mean age of 26, and 468 female players, with a mean age of 23, took part in the survey.
The percentage of players reporting symptoms was significantly higher among those worried about their future in the football industry, the survey found. In a separate survey of 307 players, with a similar mean age, in December and January – before most football competitions were suspended – 11 percent of the female players and six percent of the male players reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of depression.
Players were surveyed in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States.
More than 75 percent of players surveyed reported that they had access to sufficient resources and support for their mental health. Most player associations in the 16 countries surveyed provide mental health support for players such as a helpline and access to trained counsellors.
In Botswana, it has come to the fore that 48 percent of footballers have developed anxiety since the league was stopped mid-March. The study reports that this percentage alone has moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms.
Moreover, the study reveals that “during the COVID-19 period of (semi-)lockdown, 39 percent of the professional footballers in Botswana reported moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms.”
According to the study, this is much higher than in professional footballers during regular period of time (i.e., not COVID-19 period): 7-11 percent reported moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms. It is also higher than in the general population during the regular period of time (i.e., not COVID-19 period): 3-8 percent reported moderate-to-severe anxiety symptoms.
All the while, it is widely believed that the sport relief fund has aided players whose clubs were not able to meet monthly wages because of COVID- 19. In the premier league alone, only 5 clubs are able to pay players without breaking a sweat.
The world football governing body, FIFA, has given beleaguered Mochudi Centre Chiefs extension of days to peruse and finalise their paper trail in payment of former head coaches, Bongani Mafu and Philane Mabhena.
The once swashbuckling Kgatleng giant was ordered to pay both coaches or face transfer ban. The club was given the 5th of August as deadline to have paid their outstanding dues but after thorough consultations, FIFA agreed to extend to the deadline until mid-September to allow the club to sort itself out.
Magosi was dragged before FIFA sporting laws first by Mafu who claims that he is owed P 450 000. While still scratching their head over Mafu’s issue, Mabhena also dropped another bombshell. He claims that the club is yet to pay him P 121 000 as damages for his contract which was terminated.
FIFA agrees with both coaches that Magosi breached employment contracts without a prima facie contractual basis. Mafu was appointed the club head coach in 2016 but was expelled in 2018, to join Orapa United. Following his departure, Mabhena was roped in to supplant Mafu. However, Mabhena’s stay was short lived. He stayed for one year and left in January of 2019.
Mabhena claims that Chiefs, before his contract was terminated, never paid his signing on fee of P 15 000 as settlement fee. He also argues that he had gone a couple of months without receiving his wages. According to the terms of the contract, he was supposed to be paid P 15000 every month.
Chiefs has also acknowledged the outstanding salary arrears of former coaches that have ballooned to P 56 100. FIFA accuses the club for negligence and refusal to honour contractual obligations and this has brought far reaching consequences.
Should Chiefs fail to honour their promises, they are likely to be banned from signing coaches and players. They are also likely to forfeit points when the football season begins until full payment is completed.
The debts come at a time when the club desperately seeks the return of the Premier League. They were rumoured to be eyeing to buy one Premier League status to compete for grandest prizes like before.
Chiefs were relegated because of poor administration at board level. The team tried many times to professionalize but each attempt was beaten by the club’s society who appeared to stall processes.
Mochudi Centre Chiefs sporting club was first registered in July of 1974. The club was registered as a society under the Societies Act of Botswana as a football team. It is noted that the club participated in the upper league of BFA under the terms prescribed in the constitution of the association together with the confinement of the Societies Act.
Information shows that there had been numerous attempts overtime to transform the club with a view to make it more commercially sustainable and to uplift its football performances. However, such attempts threw the club into some disgruntlements, sabotage and sporadic achievements coupled with factionalism.
Former Botswana Football Association President Tebogo Sebego and Ookeditse Malesu have both seen their intentions to contest for BFA presidency suffer a major blow after they were vetted out by the Elections Committee chaired by Moemedi Letina.
After being asked to submit affidavits by the Elections Committee, the two were the only candidates who did not pass the integrity check. This leaves the incumbent MacLean Letshwiti unopposed at the elective general assembly to be held on August 8th, at a venue to be announced.
Sebego is said to have failed the test after the committee realised he had some criminal cases and after also having submitted a letter clearing his name from Botswana Law Society at the eleventh hour.
When contacted for comment, Sebego said he has been aware of plans to destabilize his campaigns and he wasn’t surprised to hear he has been vetted out. ‘‘I first saw the rumours that I have been vetted out and I wrote to the elections committee inquiring only to be told it’s not true and later I was told I have been vetted out. I have already met with my team and we will be appealing,” said Sebego.
On the other hand, former Chief Executive Officer, Ookeditse Malesu cried foul that he has been vetted for something that he was not aware of because investigations by DCEC are not public.
“I have received their letter stating that I have been vetted out because I didn’t disclose that I am being investigated by DCEC. So does DCEC tell you when conducting their investigations? I don’t know, but I haven’t been aware I am being investigated by them and we will go the legal route and seek justice,” said Malesu.
However, a source from Letshwiti`s camp dismissed claims that their team is behind the vetting of other candidates. “We are aware that the two men pose a serious challenge to de-throne Letshwiti and we have been busy campaigning and remember Letshwiti has his own personal interests but he has declared them so they can’t blame him or claim any foul play from us.
We want to win fairly so let’s wait and see how their appeals will go,” said the source. The Appeals Committee chaired by Professor Othogile is expected to deal with the matter on Wednesday next week.
Botswana Scouts Board has appointed Lt. Ezekiel Zack Malenya their new Chief Scout, following the demise of Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Mr.Samuel Sam Keitireng.
Lt. Ezekiel is a world renowned leader Trainer of Scout having Crawled through the Scout Ranks beginning as a humble Cub Scout to the Chief Scout. Currently Lt. Malenya is the Executive Chairperson-Scouts in SADC region, Chairperson-Africa Region Resource Mobilisation Committee and Ambassador-World Scout Foundation.
Some of his roles include, briefing the patron(H.E the president) on development in the movement both locally and internationally, Forge partnerships with stakeholders, sign warrants for commissioners etc
Lt. Ezekiel has been instrumental in Training and Development of young people in Schools and local Communities in Botswana through Programs like Discipline Boot Camps & Study Boot Camps (Bana ba Metsi School & Matsha college respectively),RAYS- Reaching Adolescent &Youth through Scouting, STEM-Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics not forgetting distribution of Solar Study lights computers and books around the country.