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Clubs suspend player contracts

Township Rollers have agreed with their players that they will instead pay allowances until the situation gets back to normalcy.

Having experienced tough financial liquidity in the last five months, a handful of Premier League clubs have reached a decision to suspend the operations of player’s contracts until such a time when football fully returns to the field.

WeekendSport established that elite clubs feel incapacitated to continue paying players while their coffers are running dry, this is because there is no source of income, either from individual team sponsors or television right grants.

Worse still, even if the game is given the greenlight, spectators are not yet allowed back in the stands for clubs to generate money from gate takings.The clubs that include high paying Township Rollers, Gaborone United, BDF XI, Orapa United, and Jwaneng Galaxy have all agreed with their players that they will instead pay allowances until the situation gets back to normalcy.

Rollers has agreed to give each player P 3.500 as allowance but will also pay rentals on behalf of players. GU, Orapa, Galaxy, and BDF XI have all gone for half salaries and the arrangement has now reached its second month.Rollers’ monthly wage bill is about P 400 000 and it has never be augmented since COVID- 19 ran amok in March of this year.

The team argues that even their sponsor, Stanbic Bank, bore the brunt of the disease, therefore incapable of living true to the terms and conditions of the contract.Orapa and Galaxy’s stories are similar. Both are powered by Debswana and when the virus bolted into Botswana football, they decided to offer half salaries.

Their decision to give pay cuts solely rested on the ability of Debswana Diamond Company to soldier on amid the distress brought about by the virus. The company announced that they too have been hit hard as their income has dwindled. The realization meant that Debswana will cut club funding by 30% to remain afloat.Galaxy’s monthly salary bill is about P 450 000 while that of Orapa is P 375 000.

Albeit both clubs are benefiting from the Debswana sponsors, the figures they receive are not uniformed. Orapa United is getting P 2 million per season while Jwaneng Galaxy sees P3.5 million over the same space in the year.When the 30% cut is implemented, it effectively means Orapa United will get P600 000 per year while Galaxy will receive close to P1 million. Usually, both clubs use the money for purchasing of players with the lion’s share consumed by settlement fees, commonly referred to as signing on fees.

As early as this week, BDF XI also began negotiations with players to offer allowances until the future of football becomes clear. However, only players who are not working for the BDF army will be affected while those who are soldiers will remain on full pay. The policy has also been adopted by Police XI.Prisons XI, Security Systems, BR Highlanders as well as Morupule Wanderers have gone into allowance strategies to continue surviving amid the coronavirus threat.

However, Football Unions’ Botswana (FUB) Secretary General, Kgosana Masaseng says his union will try to exert pressure on the football leadership to release COVID-19 funds for the benefit of players. “Players are living in a very uncompromising situation, it is tough outside. We understand that quite a number of clubs have suspended the operations of the contract because of lack of income but we will do our best to make sure that players are assisted.

One of the intentions is to negotiate with BFA to see how possible it will be for the FIFA Covid fund to be used to pay players until everything gets back on track,” he said.

Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.

The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.

Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.

The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.

The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.

“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.

In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.

He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.

When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.

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Sport

P50 000 to expatriate Rollers players

14th September 2020
FRANCIS AFRIYIE

Township Rollers is anticipated to spent around P 50 000 to expatriate their foreign based players amid ravaging corona virus threats. The club, in collaboration with the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) tested Francis Afriyie, Fabian Assagou Guy and Kamogelo Matsabu before they can head to their native countries.

The trio are awaiting the results which are all expected to come out negative, following which they will immediately board planes to their various destinations. Afriyie was a Rollers striker from Ghana.

Matsabu, regarded the darling of the club is heading back to South Africa while Guy signed by the club but has never impressed, will board a plane back to Ivory Coast.It is likely that both Matsabu and Guy will return as they are still contracted to Rollers. However, Afriyie will not return after failing Rollers litmus test.

The striker failed to break into the starting 11 of head coach Frank Nuttall for the season and it appeared that frustration got to him. And when it finally knocked him down, the striker in a rough and unexpected remonstration stormed out of the bench while a Rollers game was on.

The former Gho Maria striker penned a two year deal in January and it is rumoured that his contract was heavily incentivized, catapulting him to being one of the highest paid players at Rollers.His end of season departure will now put a serious question mark over Rollers’ recruitment policy.

He becomes the fourth foreign striker to fail the club examinations and released while on contract. Before him was, Mthokosize Msomi from South Africa, Terrence Mandawa from Tanzania and Fabian Mbowa from Ivory Coast. Msomi and Mandawa’s release were sanctioned by former coach Nikola Kavazovic. Mbowa is loaned to Police XI to create space and playing opportunity for the now departing Afriyie.

Releasing Afriyie will now mean that the club’s striking woes continue. Rollers management complained at times last season at the lack of productivity from their strikers but they hoped that striker Tumisang Orebonye and other targeted signings, aided perhaps by Edwin Moalosi who remains on the books, could fire an upturn.

However, it was never meant to be as they finished the season second behind league winners, Jwaneng Galaxy.

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Sport

Leopards dump jilted Tsotso

7th September 2020
MOGAKOLODI TSOTSO NGELE

Black Leopards head coach, Joel Masutha, is reported to have orchestrated a move that could see mid fielder-cum-striker, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, being dropped by Leopards.

WeekendSport has learnt that the coach summoned the Zebras former captain to a one-on-one meeting a month ago to relay the bad news. It is reported that Masutha told the player that he is surplus to requirement and therefore he will not be selected for any game unless he opts to leave.

Reports further state that Tsotso was not encouraged to fight for his position but instead was told that there are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities and helping the club to dodge the dreaded relegation axe.Ngele therefore is waiting for his contract to expire before plotting his next move. He is said to be torn between playing for one more year in South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.

The Rollers decision will once again hinge on his private business which he would love to monitor closely. He owns a sports clothing label where he already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold. He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm.

He played in crucial matches and his stunning free kick against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.It is said Ngele’s future at Thohoyandou- a location where Black Leopards is based- encountered problems of many kinds. His future is believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.

The player is also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury. Ngele had signed a two year deal, but as things stand, the left footed midfielder is heading out as his contract staggers to an end. He is believed to be earning close to R80 000 after tax deductions.

The lifestyle and living conditions at Thohoyandou are also seen as factors that further complicate Ngele’s situation hence the sudden collapse of concentration in football.Ngele is said to be represented by Tim Sukazi who still hopes that the player’s breakthrough career is worth fighting for.

When signed by high spending Mamelodi Sundowns almost 5 years ago, he was represented by Mike Makaab, also a renowned football agent in South Africa.It is growing precarious for Ngele who was chained for longer spells at Sundowns.

But when a move to Leopards was announced, there was a high expectation that the player was nearing his revolutionary season.

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