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Mamelodi rises from the ashes

FORMER BPL CEO- Bennett Mamelodi

The name of Bennett Mamelodi has made headline impacts within the corridors and boardrooms of Lekidi Football Centre throughout this week.

Some football administrators get exasperated at the mention of his name while others rejoice at the thought of his presence within the football corner.

But above everything else, this is a man whose administrative prowess and blunders have long divided football opinion. Ever since his plans to build a Premier League ‘monster’ in 2016 unravelled, he fell down the football terrain after a new regime took over.

But five years on, possibility that Mamelodi might be re-appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the newly registered elite football body called, Botswana Football League (BFL) lingers.

The carefully laid plans to elevate Mamelodi into BFL radar is said to be orchestrated by Chairman Jagdish Shah. It is believed that the Township Rollers man has requested for the re-advertisement of the post so that Mamelodi’s football resume can be assessed and processed.

The first phase of the advertisement was completed last year November and it turns out that the blood brother to Ashford Mamelodi did not throw in his curriculum vitae for reasons best known to him. The football conspiracy between Mamelodi and Jagdish comes afar but their love and hate relationship is credited for catapulting the premier league to greater heights.

During years gone by, Mamelodi is believed to have brought the premier league to a stature worth millions of Pulas. Bringing and nurturing Botswana Telecommunications (BTC), the former and long standing partners of elite football is one thing he is still remembered for.

But his recklessness and his inability to operate by the book has painted his otherwise industrious football knowledge with a black brush.While it is clear that BFL has ran out of options in pursuit of a competent CEO, it is also a devil‘s job to appoint a man whose affair with BFA never experienced a happy ending. Football is a game of emotions, so the adage goes.

They were certainly high when Mamelodi was expelled in 2016 and immediately took his brief case to court for legal redress. Have they let bygones be bygones? This question stands still amid allegations that his way back into Lekidi football offices is carefully crafted.

In Mamelodi, some say the league will profit immensely especially at a time when the struggle to build the baseline amid ravaging corona virus circumstances.

But others fear that this is a man who can manoeuvre the football terrain; a schemer who can overthrow the football regime if not closely monitored.

This is the same strategy that was master-minded by former premier league Chairperson Mike Molefe, and it took off immediately when Mamelodi was first given a six months contract to negotiate more sponsors for the league in April of 2012.

At the time, his salary did not exceed P25 000. In August of the same year, as Mamelodi stamped his authority on the ground, he fired one Setete Phuthego after local auditor, Marzas Company, found out that the former General Manager had abused office and crippled league coffers.

Although, high and file cadre of Botswana Football are not proudly maintaining it, it crops out that there is an under boiling battle to put together a succession plan especially at the premier league.

This surface war of succession, unbeknownst to many, is bringing into open the contradictory faces of the league house: the robust force of grass roots social equality within themselves, versus the tight control by the Chairman and his preferred mates to capture the soul of the elite league.

Mamelodi surfaced on the football spectrum at the turn of the millennium after his brother, Ashford, connected him with the then FIFA representative, Ian Riley. The two would later form a company called Pula Sports Marketing that negotiated sponsor (BTC) on behalf of the league. The company has since liquidated.

Mamelodi is still an employee of premier league champions Jwaneng Galaxy and was not available to give clarity on rumours linking him with the BFL post. As of going to print, Shah has not answered questions as to why the league has re advertised the CEO post but those close to him suggest that the adjudicating committee had not found a fitting administrator hence calling for fresh applications.

Last year, only two names had shown interest. The name of one Harry Koata from Masitaoka together with Olebile Sikwane were shortlisted.

Sport

Dambe, Tsotso dump Zebras

12th April 2021

Remnant of the historic Africa Cup of Nations squad of 2012, Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele and Botswana’s first-choice goal keeper, Kabelo Dambe, will never embody the future of the Zebras as long as Adel Amrouche is at the helm, WeekendSport has established.

The duo made this confession in the squad secret WhatsApp group seen by this publication, expressing concern and antipathy about playing for the squad heavily polarised by the coach.

It turns out that the coach has players he favours and prefers, many of who appear in the starting line-up as a long lasting promise to be signed under his stable. The aim is to ultimately recruit them to far flung clubs and earn a commission.

Ngele who remains the only player to have scored the Zebras goal (in open play) at the 2012 edition has endured a rocky affair with the coach.

Not much has been established as to why the affair is in tatters but sources claim that it stretched to a point where Amrouche confronted Ngele’s former coaches at Black Leopards to discuss possible options of side-lining him. The idea was to frustrate the player and kill his confidence as the only player Zebras looked up to.

Ngele, under former coach Peter Butler, was named the squad captain but under Amrouche, he has played cameo roles in World Cup and AFCON qualifiers. Ngele has made three appearances and came once as a substitute in all the 10 games Amrouche managed.

Ngele was hoping for his own great leap forward in an effort to end his nightmare and play for the Zebras especially after earning playing time with his new club, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.

Do this day, Ngele has made more than 35 appearances for the Zebras since earning his debut in 2009. Away from The Zebras stage, Ngele made significant contributions at Platinum Stars, the first team he signed his professional contract with. In 67 games, he scored 19 times.

Amrouche’s insistency and promise to make a loud impact in this year’s qualifiers did not bear fruit. Part of the blame is shoved on Township Rollers stopper, Kabelo Dambe. He is accused to have failed to stand strong for Zebras and shipped in simpler goals that cost the team to book a flight to Cameroon next year.

A goal against Algeria on home soil and a goal by Zimbabwe last month could have never gone through had he positioned himself better, critics claim.

Dambe who has more than 44 caps and played all Zebras games under Amrouche feels hard done and had hoped the coach and the nation would protect him. He feels the ambition of the country to qualify mirrors a tomorrow that could never come because of his mistakes.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) General Manager of National Teams, Monnakgotla Mojaki when pressed for interview failed to provide details about the future of the two stars.

He expressed concern that he was never hands on when the squad played the qualifiers. This according to Mojaki, was the case because the coach had barred him from mingling with the players.

“I am sorry I cannot assist you with anything, I know nothing and remember I have not spoken to anybody since I was asked not to come to camp,” he shared.

Both Dambe and Ngele are not only equally unhappy but are also equal in age; both are 30 years and have played for Platinum Stars at one point in their careers.

However, there is information to the effect that the duo made a promise to return one day, and that is when the coach has parted company with the association.

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Sport

Galaxy star wants out

12th April 2021

Lebogang Ditsile has begun to cast fresh doubts over his future as a Jwaneng Galaxy player. The hard tackling midfielder has handed the club management a transfer request amid rumours linking him with Gaborone United.

This week, the industrious player gave Galaxy an ultimatum -to either improve his contract benefits or let him go- this comes after a decision was taken to offer the whole team pay cuts amid the corona virus pandemic.

Galaxy has arrived at a conclusion of giving each player P3000 until a time football returns to the field.Ditsile, one of the club’ highest paid players is certainly restless and would not want to entertain a second thought over his future.

Galaxy on the other hand is feeling distraught over GU’s constant communication with the player, and are also aggrieved that the Nikholas Zakhem powered team wants to prize away their asset. Ditsile’s contract does not expire until June of 2022.

The situation is not yet explosive but it is believed to have gotten under Ditsile’s skin and it is threatening to turn ugly. Ditsile apparently is the best thing ever to happen to Galaxy and to leave them at this point will surely be a great loss that could take some time for the club to recover.

However, GU is busy making their move for their long-time target and the enterprising midfielder is said to be determined to complete the transfer before the season begins. It is said the player wants to play football without hustles, which Galaxy cannot promise at the present moment, and the allure of GU will certainly prove too much to stay from.

The team led and directed by Zakhem is reported to have promised ‘Tally’ a mouth-watering contract should he voluntarily terminate. It is however noted that GU cannot risk buying the player who is still on a running contract.

It is believed that Ditsile recognises GU as one of the country’s leading clubs, capable of competing for the grandest prizes. In the event of joining GU, Ditsile would have fulfilled his dream of playing for a rich paying club.

He has enjoyed his years at Galaxy, where he is feted by the supporters, but feels that the time is right to move on. It is impossible to dispute the value and service that he has given to the club, with last season being his best.

The fan-favourite, who has had an on and off relationship with the national team, is still held by the terms of his contract while discussions between his agent are continuing behind closed doors.

Those close to developments mention that Ditsile is yet to be shocked by the stubborn position held by the Galaxy; but the club will surely hate losing such a prized possession to their fiercest rivals.

The Galaxy management has a reputation of being tough negotiators but for Ditsile, the offer from GU is one that should be impossible to refuse.On the other hand, GU are mindful of the tactics often displayed by Botswana players.

They have a tendency of bargaining through rival clubs so as to increase salary or force the management to act swiftly.

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Sport

Panic ahead of women champions’ league

12th April 2021

The absence of women national league in the country has caused anxiety and alarm at Botswana Football Association (BFA) secretariat. PIC: Soccer Laduma

This is the case because the inaugural COSAFA women champions’ league is about to kick start and BFA is expected to send the name of the team that will represent the country.

As things stand, the association is caught between a rock and a hard place because they are unable to determine the deserving team. The reality facing the association is because its women nation-wide league has never been played since the first corona virus case was registered in March of 2020.

However, the association has devised a plan and a model to opt for a team that will participate in the tournament to be held between November and December of this year. The play offs are expected to commence in August.

BFA has therefore called for an expression of interest from clubs to select the most deserving team.The expression of interest, according to BFA, should cover the club’s financial viability and ability to honour its games (both home and away) without fail. According to findings, the club will need a minimum of P100 00 to play a telling role.

It is therefore highly unlikely that BFA will find a women’s team enjoying such financial freedom. In any case, the association will be forced to offer financial assistance.Township Rollers, Mexican girls and Double Action are the few teams that can possibly be selected, but a huge question mark hangs over their financial disposition.

One other thing needed through the expression of interest is the current books of accounts which will definitely show that the club has been operating. BFA is of the view that this is important because it will help in showing the financial progression of the team.

“We are very pleased with how these events were organized under very difficult circumstances,” COSAFA General Secretary, Sue Destombes said in a statement.

“We take what we learnt in Nelson Mandela Bay into our planning for 2021. We have a full calendar of tournaments at this stage. We are hopeful we will be able to stage them all, even in these most challenging times.

The highlight must be the introduction of the regional Women’s Champions League, which will be a zonal qualifier for the new CAF Women’s Champions League which is coming later this year,” she further shared.

 

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