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Football at crossroads

Botswana Football Association medical committee is reported to have completed their guidelines that will ultimately feed to the future of Botswana leagues.

The game of football went under curfew in March after the discovery of the novel corona virus, but how the game is to return to normalcy is a question that has become a pain for the association to answer. Many countries across the globe have taken decisions regarding the way forward and some have out rightly ended their respective leagues.

FIFA-the world football governing body- on the other hand has left the door revolving for member states to pronounce the way forward, but has over-emphasized on the need to protect the lives of players and pay utmost adherence to new medical guidelines.

While countries like Kenya, Argentina, Netherlands, Belgium and France have ended their respective clubs, Botswana is about to announce its decision after thoroughly studying the medical guidelines.

WeekendSport is informed that the guidelines formulated in order for players to return to the field are coming at a cost, and by the look of things, local individual clubs will pay the price.

It is understood that it will take a total of P 1500 to test one player. FIFA has recommended that players be tested twice a week. This, therefore means that a team has to incur P 3000 on one player.

The  BFA medical study alongside that of FIFA recommends that temperature taking alone is not enough, but a team needs to use two sets of similar kits for the duration of the match. The official period of the match game is 90 minutes. One kit is to be used in the first 45 minutes while the other kit will be used on the last 45 minutes.

When reached for further clarity, the Chief Executive Officer of the football association, Mfolo Mfolo said that the medical guidelines are almost done with and are on their way to the National Executive Committee for approval.

“The guidelines have since been established, and there is nothing more I can talk about until the National Executive Committee meet and discuss them,” he pointed out.

It is obvious that the guidelines will make a strong case for Botswana football; whether it returns or the calendar is over. Last week, a number of clubs voted that the league be declared over, and the champions be awarded and others be relegated.

However, it seems that the fairest, most realistic, and best option for the governing bodies is to declare the season void. This places no one club or no one league above another in status. In fact, every division below the National League North and South has already done this.

Europe and the rest of the world must reflect this decision for continuity’s sake — although other African countries have decided otherwise, emphasising the need to establish this stance as soon as possible.

All the while, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has made decisions that football-like Rugby and netball- is contact sport and will have to wait until the 1st of July.

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Sport

Nikola rejects Galaxy for Rollers

6th July 2020
Nikola Kavazovic

Nikola Kavazovic has rejected a 2 year contract extension at BTC premiership champions Jwaneng Galaxy. The Serbian born gaffer is said to be on his way to joining his former team, Township Rollers. This was laid bare by Jwaneng Galaxy this week after confirming that they have amicably parted ways with Nikola. The club has failed to agree on contract terms with Nikola after the winning coach raised his pay demands.

“Nikola was just being smart on them and he didn’t want to leave on a bad note. He just raised his demands and they couldn’t agree on that as they felt nothing should change because Galaxy management felt he can’t be given credit for winning the league,” said a close source to the developments.

With Galaxy now out of the picture, everything seems poised for a Nikola- Rollers reunion now. When contacted for comment, his agent, Bakang Moipone said the coach has shown interest to continue working in Botswana and will consider any good offer. Moipone declined to confirm or deny that Nikola has been offered a contract with Rollers.

Nikola left Rollers after an impressive first 2017/2018 season where he guided the Blue Army to winning double; the Mascom Top 8 and also the BTC Premiership.  The gaffer also made history as he guided Mapalastina to reach the group stages of the CAF Champions league where they locked horns with African giants such as Esperance de Tunis and Al Ahly. Nikola then left the team after a reported fall out with club President Jag dish Shah over pay rise. He then headed to South Africa where his career was dealt a major blow as he relegated Free State Stars to the first division and his contract was eventually terminated.

A close source at the club revealed that the club decided to offer Nikola a two year contract as they couldn’t risk bringing someone outside the country and also because he left an impressive record at the club and will want\ him to revive them. “ Nikola is a good coach apart from other small issues he has done brilliantly when he was here so he has been offered a contract and we expect him to sign it as he has also shown interest to return with his Serbian assistant coach,” said the source.

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Sport

TAFIC formally objects BFA decree

6th July 2020
premier league players

As highly anticipated, Francistown shrinking giants, TAFIC has sent a communication to the table of Botswana Football Association (BFA), ardently opposing and objecting the curtailment of the season. The club wrote to the BFA National Executive Committee arguing that the decision to stop the league, with 10 games to spare, was unlawful and ought to be reversed as soon as possible.

The club, through its belligerent and often unassuming Chairman, Carlos Sebina has sent a two paged letter, outlining why it was precisely wrong to stop the league as it is, award log leaders and relegate others while his team was still fighting for survival. The Francistown based outfit seemed committed to the substantive matter and is eager to exhaust all legal routes. The club argues that they are prejudiced by the NEC’s decision and objects the legality and fairness of the said resolution.

“The league season is less than 70% complete and effectively 10 games of the requisite 30 are still to be played. In that regard, all the teams have 30 points at stake to be played in order to determine the log standing,” the club’s objections read in part. At the time when the decision was taken, TAFIC was lying on the 13th position with only 18 points accumulated.

Furthermore, the club argues that “whilst we accept that COVID 19 has placed football in an abnormal situation and that health considerations have to remain paramount, we conversely contend that fair play requires that teams be crowned or relegated on merit. Hence we argue that the correct position is to allow not only the reasonable and acceptable percentage of games to have been played but rather the team be allowed to compete on the field of play as and when the situation becomes tenable for the league to resume.”

Although the decision did not affect TAFIC alone, two other clubs, Molepolole City Stars and Miscellaneous are also at the receiving ends albeit their silence thus far. From what this publication could gather, TAFIC is preparing to challenge the decision on two counts, one the lawfulness behind declaring a season over without all 30 match days being completed, and secondly, if this was lawful, then the only way to fairly decide club classification was through the voiding of the 2019/20 campaign in its entirety.

The club states that “force majeure does not place the stoppage of the league at the doorstep of any party. To the contrary where there is force majeure, the priority is to facilitate for the reinstatement of the status quo and this means resumption of the league and not a complete abandonment of the same. To this end, we hold the view that the NEC application of force majeure principle was erroneous and contrary to fair play.”

TAFIC prays that the decision be reversed within 7 days or the matter will be alternatively taken to the Disciplinary Committee for adjudication. The club wants BFA to re-engage all stake holders and seek guidance on the way forward. TAFIC says the questionnaire sent by the association to affiliates was insufficient consultation because it did not seek reasoned opinion based on the BFA and FIFA statutes. BFA Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo was not available for comment at the time of going for print.

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Sport

Four clubs receive sport subsidies

6th July 2020

The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture development (MYSC) has taken a detailed and systematic approach in transacting subsidies to premier league teams. The process, as slow as it is, has brought diverging views as four premier league teams receive their part.

WeekendSport learned that Jwaneng Galaxy, Orapa United, Miscellaneous of Serowe together with Notwane have all received players stipends after three months of waiting. This therefore means the quartet adds to Gaborone United to be the only teams that have been assisted. Sources say the Sport Ministry is assisting teams in batches and it is obvious that the process will take longer than anticipated. Each premier league club was asked to submit 25 players; each is to receive P7.500 for the months of April, May and June.

As of last week, clubs were complaining that the subventions are not forth coming yet the situation on the ground is beyond repair. 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 get a dime from the Sport Ministry account because they have applied for the separate BURS subsidy. Clubs want the Ministry to quicken their steps because players are no longer cooperating let alone coping.

Between March 22 and April 14, 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. It is not clear what will happen after the government stops its assistance as football is still under curfew. Clubs are not making profit as long as the status quo remains unchanged.

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