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BFA, Gov’t ponder on AFCON bid

Zebras

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is eager to host the next edition of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) where the government of Botswana is expected to play a pivotal role at a time when the organizing committee dreaming to host prepares to hand their hefty book to Confederation of African Football (CAF) when bidding stage comes into the open.

BFA has to-date managed to win the confidence of the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) and all thoughts around the African football prestigious tournament are given serious attention with acceleration of construction of 1o mini stadia across the country.

The stadiums are expected to be built in Bobonong, Tonota, Moshupa, Kanye, Rakops, Goodhope, Tutume and Chobe. Each stadium is expected to cost over P5 million.However, sources say some of the villages might be bypassed, but reasons are not forth-coming.

BFA President who also sits on the CAF National Executive Committee is expected to embody a more emotive promise about the possibility of the African cup tournament in Botswana and how it can benefit the citizenry and by extension, the Southern region.

With Zimbabwe having come out clean about their intentions to bid for 2034 World Cup, there is a growing feeling that Botswana should try her luck as well. The Botswana delegation is hopeful that they will strike a fine balance between the two tournaments.

Although, the commercial potential of a Botswana AFCON cup is a compelling factor in their favour following the relatively uncertainty of many African countries (due to political instability, extent of corona virus) and state of insecurity, BFA is minded not to make that the thrust of the case.

Hence the concentration on providing a home from home for all teams among Botswana’s diverse population and the opportunity to use the proceeds to advance legacy projects around Africa. The feeling on the ground is that the move might be bold, but some association influential players believe that it will be a matter of upgrading the stadiums in Maun, Masunga and Serowe.

Another idea harboured is that a stadium will be built in or around Gaborone to boost the National Stadium. The Lobatse and Francistown stadia are also expected to play a role in hosting.

All the while, a 20 million Pula operational budget is said to be needed to travel African countries in hopes of convincing them that Botswana is more suitable to host the tournaments looking at its security and economy stability.

Vice President Marshlow Motlogelwa says this remains an ‘infant thought’ but BFA is considering engaging more stakeholders to stand up for the bid.
However, the association is rubbing its hands in glee after successfully managing to convince the football governing body (FIFA) to build a state of the art stadium.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced plans to raise $1bn dollars to build at least one stadium meeting FIFA standards in each African country.
He insisted that FIFA wants African football to shine and will work with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and other stakeholders to improve refereeing, infrastructure and competitions on the continent.

“We want to bring it (Africa) to the highest of heights and show the world the outstanding talent and amazingly gifted players your continent possesses,” said Infantino.

“To do this, we want to implement a three pillar approach: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions, in close cooperation with CAF, all of its 54 member associations across Africa and other stakeholders. I am positive that we will make African football reach the top level where it should be because quality and potential are definitely here,” he concluded.

This publication is reliably informed that the first stadium is to be built in Botswana.Botswana passes the mark when it comes to transportation, accommodation and hotel facilities. The fact that CAF would want a country that has hosted youth tournaments before enables Botswana to score points in that it has hosted youth games.

BFA will consider roping in an experienced sports person and the high profile of former players like Diphetogo Selolwane are anticipated to appear for the thoughts building around the bid. Selolwane’s name will be seen as a watershed moment.

The southern region however might be dealt a devastating blow following the catastrophe that hit Angola when they hosted the 2010 edition. The Togo team was shot by rebels and panic erupted. Moreover, the field is open and the ever shifting sands of CAF internal politics make the race hard to call and feed fears of horse trading and backroom deals.

South Africa is far ahead when compared to Botswana (whose bid was rejected in 2013), Zimbabwe and Zambia are not far off the mark, but the ball remains with the association to convince the government about the intent.

Sport

Sebego challenges BFA constitution

13th October 2021
Tebogo Sebego

Botswana Football Association (BFA) constitution appears to be under heavy scrutiny as Tebogo Sebego, the president of Notwane Sporting club, questions its authenticity, with strong indications that several clauses were removed and others added without the input of the General Assembly.

Sebego, who vied for the BFA presidency in October 2020, feels Notwane is a bonafide member of BFA and has been participating in the past three BFA assemblies but cannot be part of the mess that the club and others did not create. On 13th September 2021, Notwane forwarded a complaint letter to the football association’s chief executive officer (CEO), challenging how two constitutions were amended.

The club says a constitution dated 25th June 2021 and the other bearing a stamp of 10th December 2020 were amended under fraudulent circumstances and want an explanation on how it transpired. “We have recently received a constitution dated 25th June 2021 stamped by the registrar of societies. The said constitution carries some changes that were never discussed and voted upon at the BFA general assembly.

Of particular interest, we have noted that the following new amendments, Article 33 of the 2016 constitution, is replaced by article 30. The procedure has been reduced, but the principles remain the same. The relevance of this is to restate the constitutional culture and mandatory powers of the General Assembly as the sole body responsible for constitutional amendments,” part of the letter seen by this publication reads.

Article 33 that Sebego complains of reads thus, “The general assembly is responsible for amending the constitution and the standing orders of the general assembly.” Furthermore, Notwane argues that another article (22.1) of the 2021 constitution then wipes off the presence of 16 delegates from the Premier League clubs and eight representatives from the first division together with their voting rights.

The club believes that while the autonomy of the Botswana Football League (BFL) was approved in the 2020 General Assembly, the assembly never discussed, voted or approved the removal of delegates from the General Assembly. The team believes that the amendments are therefore unlawful for lack of authority from the General Assembly. This is the case because it has a significant impact on the landscape of the structure of the General Assembly, Notwane argues.

Moreover, Notwane’s shock is skyrocketing, especially when raising another equally screaming change in the constitution. In the letter state, the club states that article 33.4 of the 2021 constitution introduces a term limit for the president. The club speculates that the amendment seems to be carried from the 2019 version of the constitution, and whatever its genesis, the matter was never before the General Assembly.

“It is only the General Assembly that has powers, through the right constitutional channels to introduce a limitation on the term of the president and further to define the limitation based on the reasons presented to it,” the argument goes on. The old constitution was limited to at most two terms, but it seems the president can now enjoy the third term.

Sebego and Notwane argue that they have raised these articles to demonstrate that the constitution was amended without following due process in an unconstitutional, unlawful and somewhat fraudulent manner. They say this 2021 constitution and that of the 2019 version are, in their view, unlawful documents and should be reversed without delay.

The complaint letter was also copied to the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) desk and the registrar of societies — an organisation that issued a stamp on the constitutions in question. Notwane, in a parting shot, wants to be furnished with minutes that allowed the constitutional changes because, to their understanding, there was none.

It has come to the attention of this publication that Notwane had given the BFA head of secretariat seven days to have replied, but nothing has come out. However, neither party was available for comment as the paper was going to print.

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Sport

Cooper awaits FIFA decision 

13th October 2021
Mothusi' Mini' Cooper

A clash of personal egos, paper trail gone wrong and unfulfilled promises are the primary reasons Botswana international star player, Mothusi’ Mini’ Cooper is still on the fringes despite a vast of football talent at his disposal.

Cooper has suddenly become the centre of controversy after completing a dream move to Lusaka Power Dynamos in Zambia and adorned by many football lovers. His move left his parent club, Township Rollers, divided. Cooper left Rollers last season, but the club he was hoping to re-write his name into folklore has suddenly given him nightmares where he is now stuck on the way forward.

It is reported that the pint-sized midfielder has terminated his two-year contract with the Lusaka club after the club failed to fulfil the terms of the agreement. When cancelling the contract, Cooper was doing so with the hope that he would eventually re-united his old club, Township Rollers.

According to informants, Rollers high-ranking officials refused to accept Cooper back because Power Dynamos is yet to finish the transfer fee paid for the player. It is said that Rollers were reluctant to release the player, but his agent forced matters, consequently fracturing the relationship between the player and Rollers management.

Cooper was earning close to P 25 000 per month, but that lasted for a while. As things stand, the player was training with BDF XI to retain fitness level, but his future is yet to be thoroughly established. Rollers are believed to be reluctant to negotiate terms with him again, and that alone cast aspersions on the way forward. Had the player left on good terms, he would have been readily accepted back, sources claim.

From what this publication gathered, Rollers is still livid at how Cooper left the club, but what is more of a serious matter is the fractured relationship between the club and player agent. It is said that Rollers had failed to pay the agent his dues when Cooper was sold to Lusaka Power Dynamos.

While others within the Rollers executive committee believe this matter could be quickly resolved, the club is still awaiting paper documents filed at FIFA seeking Lusaka Power Dynamos to complete payment of the player. It is not yet clear how much is owed to Township Rollers, but what is apparent is that Dynamos has disappointed.

Cooper was on the wanted list of Orapa United, but the transfer window closed before anything tangible could be discussed.  Phemperetle Pheto, the spokesperson of Rollers, refused to shared details regarding Cooper matter. However, their chief executive officer Bennett Mamelodi indicated through the club’s online magazine that the case is before FIFA statutes and will be discussed soon.

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Sport

League returns October

5th October 2021
premier league players

After more than 550 days without competitive football game in the country, information gleaned from various sources indicates that the Botswana Football League (BFL) is expected to start the 2021/2022 football season not early or late October.

The resumption of the 2021/2020 season comes after a year and few months since March 2020. Local football was halted during the second round of 2019/2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The ban on competitive sport aimed to keep the spread of the coronavirus disease under control. The pandemic had already forced the BFA executive committee to declare the 2020/2021 season null and void in March, citing that the resumption would have caused a fixture pile-up in a limited space of time.

In a brief interview with this publication, the newly appointed BFL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Solomon Ramochotlhwane, said the preparations are ongoing for the football season.  “We are engaging all the relevant stakeholders such as the referees’ committee, teams, even Botswana Football Association (BFA)”.

Ramochotlhwane also revealed that all teams would be expected to test for COVID-19 every fortnight once the league has started. He further indicated that they have since written a letter through the mother body, BFA proposing the vaccination of all the players and technical team members. The Government vaccination rollout plan targets people aged 30 to 44, and BPL wants all players to be included in this age group.

However, Ramochotlhwane noted that they are currently waiting for a response from the health authorities concerning the vaccination of players and the technical teams.  Moreover, Ramochotlhwane indicated that they would use certified stadiums that meet the Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards. BFL, an organ established to run the elite league independently from the Botswana Football Association (BFA), is currently negotiating with former headline sponsors, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).

Impeccable sources report that the two parties are considering a reunion to lift football from its knees. Information gleaned from various sources indicates that each party has amenability and willingness to re-engage, but there is nothing concrete to talk about at this stage. When commenting on the prospects of BTC coming on board to be headline sponsors, BPL CEO said sponsors need assurances that activities will go according to plan and would not risk committing their money into uncertainties.

Ramochotlhwane would not confirm any names but instead mentioned that they have a plan as BPL in place.   It is reported that the new BFL board of directors is quickly drawn to the side of local network giants who also have changed faces in their administrative and marketing wings. BFL is oozing with confidence after reports emerged that BTC’s profits have risen to P 832M. Meanwhile, it is reported that BFA National Executive Committee recently agreed to extend a P 5 million loan to the BFL to commence the 2021-22 football season.

The reported P5 million loan deal follows numerous attempts to secure sponsorship by the newly established BFL body but to no avail. The amount is meant to augment other sponsorship finances sourced thus far. As things stand, the BPL board is believed to have secured a P 6 million broadcast deal with Botswana Television (BTV) and have also closed files with Absa Bank on a reported P3 million deal. The 5 million BFA loan is an expected add-on to the overall P9 million already in the account of the BFL. The move, therefore, means that the 2021-22 football season will be powered at a value of P 14 million.

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