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Knives out for BFA

The struggle to make two ends meet within Botswana football circumstances can no longer be ignored.

A year after football was halted in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19, nothing pleasant has come the way of premier league clubs, many of which have gone bankrupt immediately after the first countrywide lock down was announced.

Players form and fitness levels have taken nosedives due lack of football activity, but the reported rise of anxiety and depression within their circle is what has added insult to injury.

According to the recent football study by International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO), 48% of footballers in Botswana have reported anxiety symptoms, worrying about their immediate future in football.

As football survives from sponsors and donors, players lives are now directly dependent on hand outs and food hampers.

But that cannot be sustainable in a football environment desperately in need of fine tuning and paradigm shift.

Notwane Football Club, one of the perennial campaigners of the elite league, is the latest to join the bandwagon, demanding immediate disbursement of FIFA relief funds from the association.

The club, spearheaded by Tebogo Sebego, whose bid for BFA presidency was unsuccessful last year forwarded a demand letter to the association on March 8, that Notwane and other clubs are feeling incapacitated to carry on with football matters.

Notwane began their demand with much assurance that FIFA, the world football governing body, has approved a COVID relief fund but there is no exact explanation as to why nothing is coming their way.

It is a factual position that FIFA approved a COVID-19 relief plan to assist not only the member association but also clubs and players to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

To date, there has not been any communication pertaining to disbursement of payment which has resulted in players welfare being compromised contrary to the spirit and intention of the FIFA COVID relief plan, Sebego wrote.

BFA, under the stewardship of Maclean Letshwiti, finds itself not only battling the coronavirus, but also fighting tooth and nail to prove critics wrong that football is not dead in Botswana.

The Notwane letter, with Sebego seemingly on top of his game to pile pressure at Lekidi Football Centre, cannot have come at time when minds of the National Executive Committee (NEC) have no clue on how best to return to the field with or without sponsors.

Word from the seemingly tense committee is that BFA is considering buying COVID- 19 medical equipment and give each club in the elite league to test their own players. The debate appears to be taking long hence the appeal by Notwane and other clubs to fight from their corner.

We therefore, on behalf of players and staff demand a written confirmation of the status of disbursement and time lines thereof. We believe that FIFA has already disbursed to the member Associations and therefore remittance should have been made to the various structures in terms of the plan approved by the NEC, Notwane further posited.

BFA on the other hand says it has already distributed the first instalment before last year and soon the second disbursement will follow. According to insiders, the plan would have been approved in January but why it is not yet the case is still unknown.

FIFA COVID-19 relief fund was approved following FIFA council meeting convened on 26th June 2020.
The basis of the relief fund is to achieve the right social and economic impact to support club football and, players and staff through these troubled waters.

There is fear that clubs will soon revolt against the association and the aforementioned demand is just a tip of the iceberg.

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