Finally, after failed petition threats and peace talks – Botswana Football League (BFL) teams received their first monthly grants of P100 000 last week Friday – this publication can reveal. In January, some disgruntled BFL shareholders threatened to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zakhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah over grants.
The shareholders were unhappy with how the board is running the league affairs. They were crying foul that the current board has not been calling regular shareholders’ meetings where they could be updated on issues; especially progress made on searching for sponsors. The league is now going for the second season without title sponsor.
“The other issue of concern for the shareholders is the monthly grants which the board took a deliberate decision to halt when the current 2022/2023 season started. The concerned clubs were intending to write one petition letter and hand it to BFL and BFA leadership for possible intervention,” informant told this publication in January.
According to highly placed sources, the 16 premier league teams received their share of P100 000 grants last week Friday. The money came from the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) broadcasting deal. In October last year, the BFL league treasurer Jagdish Shah announced that they have signed a three year contract with DBS to become the official broadcast partner of which in the first year, BFL shall receive P7 million while in the second and third year of the agreement- the state broadcaster will pay P 8 million.
“They are set to receive another P100 000 grant from the BFL coffers in April which will translates to P3.2 million shared,” shared the source.
Previously Gunners chairman Bruno Masisi told this publication that it not easy to run a club like Extension Gunners without a financial sponsor. “Imagine you are running a club with an expenditure of over P154 000 monthly against a cash inflow of less than P25 000 and at maximum being P25 000,” he explained.
Gunners chairman further attributed the recent bad performance to lack of motivation within the club as players and technical members are not being paid their dues. “Basically we are in a bad situation,” he said. The elephant in the room is the lack of finances – hence everything else attributes from this problem.
The P100 000 surely will come as a morale booster for the so called struggling teams as they will be fighting to survive the relegation.
However, despite the grants being credited into team’s accounts, WeekendSport can exclusively reveal that cash-strapped side Mogoditshane Fighters are still cashless. Allegations are that the current chairman of the club has transferred the money from the team’s account to his company’s account.
When reached for a comment, Mogoditshane Fighter chairman Reginald Mautlane refuted the allegation of transferring the money from the team’s account to his company’s account. “The team is registered under a company. This comes after the committee unanimously agreed to change from the society to the company as way of attracting potential sponsors,” shared Mautlane in short interview. “We have opened an account with Absa bank and the signatory are the same people from the society’s account.”
Meanwhile, BFL and Absa bank renewed their marriage vows for the remainder of the season with the commercial bank releasing a P1.7 million cheque which the bank says will cover the financial costs of what remains of the current season. The renewed terms by the two entities comes after the P6.7 million deal between BFL and Absa elapsed in 2021.
According to Absa Managing Director Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane, the P1.7million will be used to support the league in a variety of ways which includes supporting the running of the game and fulfilment of the remaining fixtures. She further said the latest sponsorship package will enable the league to continue to develop and grow, while adhering to the highest standards of corporate governance.
Pheko-Moshagane quoted Johan Cruyff, Dutch football legend who once said, “Football is a game of mistakes. Whoever makes the fewest mistakes wins.” She further said they believe that the Botswana Football League is well-positioned to make the fewest mistakes and achieve success.
One of the ways through which mistakes can be minimised is through the adoption and strict adherence to corporate governance, she advised. “It is through a sound corporate governance structure that confidence in the sport of football can be maintained leading to the attraction of more corporate sponsors for the beautiful game,” she cautioned BFL offices.
Nevertheless, Board chairman Zakhem who was tickled pink at the occasion, pleaded with the local banking giant, Absa to become the league title sponsor. “We are looking for title sponsors and Absa really suits this space, Absa premier league or Absa football league sounds like a perfect match as we want Absa to come on board although it will be expensive but you know it’s worth it,” he shared.
Zakhem said the new BFL CEO will approach the bank for the proposal and they are anticipating a positive feedback. In response, Pheko-Moshagane said the door remains open for engagements, further assuring the BFL the support to develop and expand football in the country. It remains to be seen if sponsoring the league fully is too rich for Absa blood or not.
Kaizer Chiefs, one of South Africa’s biggest football clubs, has been facing a coaching crisis. In the midst of this turmoil, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, a local hard-tackling defender, has quickly become an integral member of the squad. However, despite his impressive performances, Ditlhokwe must avoid complacency and continue to work hard to secure his place in the star-studded team. TSHEPO KEHIMILE explores the potential impact of Chiefs’ frequent changes in coaching staff on Ditlhokwe and emphasize the need for him to maintain his high level of performance.
Ditlhokwe’s Rise to Prominence:
Ditlhokwe’s journey in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) began when he joined Supersport United on a three-year deal from Township Rollers. His talent and dedication quickly caught the attention of the technical team, and he became a trusted member of the squad. In January 2023, he signed a five-year contract with Kaizer Chiefs, one of the biggest clubs in South African football. His performances during pre-season matches against Young African and Township Rollers showcased his potential and promised a bright future at Amakhosi.
The Acid Test:
As the season progressed, Ditlhokwe faced several challenges. His first test came against Chippa United, where he and his defensive partner, Given Msimango, managed to keep a clean sheet in a goalless draw. However, miscommunication between the defense and goalkeeper Riyaard Pieterse led to a 2-1 defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns. Despite this setback, Ditlhokwe and Msimango redeemed themselves in subsequent matches, guiding Chiefs to a 3-0 victory against TS Galaxy and a 2-0 win against Stellenbosch.
The Impact of Coaching Changes:
Chiefs’ frequent changes in coaching staff can potentially affect Ditlhokwe’s performance and place in the team. The departure of Coach Molefi Ntseki, who had shown faith in Ditlhokwe, raised questions about whether the new coach would retain him as a regular starter. The arrival of Cavin Johnson as the interim coach saw Ditlhokwe maintain his place in the starting lineup, but the team continued to struggle defensively, conceding goals in matches against Golden Arrows and Cape Town City.
The Need for Consistency:
Ditlhokwe’s consistent presence in the starting lineup is commendable, but he must not become complacent. As competition for accolades and starting positions intensifies, he needs to work even harder to improve the team’s defensive record. Chiefs’ recent signing of his former Supersport United teammate adds further competition for the starting berth, making it crucial for Ditlhokwe to maintain his high level of performance.
Thatayaone Ditlhokwe’s journey at Kaizer Chiefs has been impressive, with his consistent performances earning him a regular place in the starting lineup. However, he must avoid complacency and continue to work hard to improve the team’s defensive record. The frequent changes in coaching staff at Chiefs add an element of uncertainty, making it essential for Ditlhokwe to prove himself to each new coach. By remaining focused and dedicated, Ditlhokwe can solidify his position in the team and contribute to the success of Amakhosi.
The Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) recently organized a successful Boxing National Championships, sponsored by Maun Quarries and Tau Grading, with a generous amount of P100,000. This financial support is a welcome development for the boxing fraternity, as it has been almost a decade since such a windfall was received. The championships showcased the incredible skills of boxers like Mmusi Tswiigi, who achieved a remarkable victory by Referee Stop Contest (RSC). However, despite this success, BOBA acknowledges the need to improve and participate in international competitions to increase the chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics.
National Championships Success:
The Boxing National Championships witnessed outstanding performances from various boxers. Mmusi Tswiigi’s victory by RSC highlighted his exceptional skills and determination. Other notable performers included Rajab Mahommed, Maxwell Sechi, Thabang Chakalisa, Kerapetse Segole, Joel Kgogobi, Botshelo Thomologo, Otsile Mogobye, Mompoloki Sebula, Kenaope Boifang, Solomon Motshwarakgole, Keamogetse Kenosi, and Tshephang Moilwa. These boxers demonstrated their talent and dedication, bringing pride to the nation.
The Road to the Olympics:
Despite the success at the National Championships, BOBA Secretary General, Taolo Tlouetsile, acknowledges that more needs to be done to secure a spot at the Paris Olympics. Tlouetsile emphasizes the importance of international exposure for local boxers to gauge their readiness for such competitions. He recognizes that the opponents in international competitions are more active and challenging, making it crucial for local boxers to participate in various international events.
The local pugilists faced difficulties during the Paris 2024 Boxing Africa Qualifiers held in Senegal. Most of the boxers were eliminated in the preliminary rounds, with only Keamogetse Kenosi making it to the quarterfinals. The lack of preparation due to financial constraints hindered their performance. The absence of training camps and exposure to international competitions affected their readiness and ability to compete at the highest level.
To secure a place at the Paris Olympics, local boxers must now focus on the upcoming qualification tournaments. The 1st World Qualification Tournament is scheduled to take place in Busto Arsizio, Italy, from 29 February to 12 March 2024, followed by the 2nd World Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, from 23 May to 3 June 2024. These tournaments provide another opportunity for local boxers to showcase their skills and qualify for the Olympics.
The Way Forward:
BOBA National Team Coach, Thebe Setlalekgosi, acknowledges the talent of the boxers but highlights the financial constraints that have hindered their progress. Setlalekgosi emphasizes the need for proper training camps to prepare the team adequately. He expresses his disappointment at missing the International Boxing Association (IBA) Junior World Championships, which could have served as valuable preparation for future boxers. Setlalekgosi proposes a training camp from the first week of December until February to ensure the team is in top shape for the upcoming qualifiers.
The recent success of the Boxing National Championships sponsored by Maun Quarries and Tau Grading is a positive step for BOBA. However, the association recognizes the need for international exposure and participation to improve the chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics. Financial constraints have been a significant challenge, affecting the preparation and performance of local boxers. With upcoming qualification tournaments, it is crucial for BOBA to prioritize training camps and international competitions to give their boxers the best chance at success. By addressing these challenges, BOBA can pave the way for a brighter future in boxing and bring glory to Botswana on the Olympic stage.
Crunch time has arrived for the Mares, the women’s senior national team of Botswana, as they face a crucial encounter against Kenya, also known as the Harambee Starlets.
This match will determine their qualification for the WAFCON 2024 tournament, and the fate of the Mares hangs in the balance. Under the guidance of their new coach, Alex Malete, the team carries a slight advantage with an away goal from the first leg.
Adding to their confidence, the Mares received a major boost with the inclusion of newly appointed Zebras head coach, Didier Gomes Da Rosa, in their technical team. Da Rosa’s appointment as the Director of Football for all national teams, including the women’s team, shows the commitment of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to support the growth and development of women’s football in the country.
The history between these two teams is not extensive, with only two previous encounters. The last match took place in 2015 during the 2016 Olympic qualifiers. The Mares won the first leg 2-1 but lost the second leg 1-0, resulting in the Harambee Starlets advancing to the next round based on aggregate score.
Both teams have their sights set on making their second appearance in the WAFCON tournament. The Harambee Starlets made their debut in the 2016 edition held in Cameroon, and now they aim to secure their next appearance. Similarly, the Mares are eager to make their mark and showcase their progress since their last participation.
In the first leg of this crucial tie, the Mares faced early attacks from the home side but found their rhythm midway through the first half. Keitumetse Dithebe, an attacker from Gaborone United, broke the deadlock with a goal in the 37th minute. However, the Harambee Starlets quickly responded with a penalty kick just before halftime, leveling the score. The second half saw sustained attacks from the Kenyan side, but the Mares held firm at the back, ensuring the match ended in a stalemate.
The Mares can rely on the experience and skill of players like Refilwe Tholakele and Sedilame Bosija, who recently won the CAF Women’s Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns. Tholakele, awarded the Golden Boot, played a pivotal role in her team’s historic triumph, scoring two goals in the final. Her success highlights the significance of her contribution to the Mares’ campaign.
As the Mares head into this crucial clash, they must draw on their collective strength and determination. The opportunity to qualify for WAFCON 2024 is within their grasp, and they must seize it. With the support of their coach, the inclusion of Da Rosa in the technical team, and the talent of their players, the Mares have the potential to rewrite their own history and make a lasting impact on women’s football in Botswana.