Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 26 February 2019 - Botswana Guardian
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 12:26

Hot seat vacant

The search is now on for the next Zebras coach after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo confirmed that they have since parted ways with the veteran tactician, Major David Bright.

Bright was reportedly handed a letter to show course why the association should not terminate his   contract a week ago. However, both the BFA and Bright remained mum on the issue as speculation grew on the coach’s future at Lekidi. Some of the targets given to the local coach included qualifying for the 2019 Afcon finals and moving the Zebras up 15 places in the World FIFA rankings. When addressing members of the media at a press conference in Gaborone this week, Mfolo said the current regime at the BFA wanted to stop senior national team activities but this  was not possible.

“The BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) has done a thorough introspection on the activities of the senior national team and I wish to state that we as the Association would like to thank the senior national team coach for what he has done for the sport.” Quizzed on whether they fully supported the coach, Mfolo said the coach was given adequate time to prepare the national team especially during the designated FIFA week.

“There was no other time to prepare the team because there are league games and other competitions around the country. In some countries the team even converges when they play their games.” The BFA secretariat boss said they had agreed to deliverables with the coach and whenever one felt that it was getting hot, they were free to jump ship. “Even if you are in a situation where you are building the team, results are expected.”

Furthermore, Mfolo explained that the departure of the coach meant that the whole senior national team technical bench was dismantled, adding that some of them may be brought back under a different dispensation.  During Bright’s tenure at Zebras there were instances where a player allegedly sneaked alcohol into camp and other questionable behaviour. In response to issues of discipline, Mfolo said it was up to the   technical team to instil discipline in the players. 

With regards to the future of the national team, Mfolo said, the senior national team coach is an executive position in the Association. “So, it is only proper that we advertise it. In the interim, the Technical Director is expected to consult with the coaches association in order to prepare for the Afcon qualifier game against Angola. “ Meanwhile, Bright could not be reach on his mobile at press time.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 12:22

Tsotso’s talent being stifled – Kowa

Former Botswana Football Association (BFA) Technical Director, Matshidiso Kowa, credited for developing Zebras midfielder Mogakolodi Ngele, one of the greatest football exports Botswana has ever produced, did not mince his words in a recent interview when he accused South African Mamelodi Sundown’s coach Pitso Mosimane of destroying the player's career. The development coach lashed out at Sundowns for the way his beloved protégé is being treated.

Speaking to BG Sports about Ngele’s career stall, Kowa has called on Mosimane to set Ngele free so he can spread his wings elsewhere. “A professional coach shouldn’t have any problems selling players to other teams, if you remember very well Tsotso was flourishing when he was loaned to Bidvest Wits in the 2016/2017 season, he won the league and he was withdrawn from Wits. Several teams like Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits were after him but an individual won’t sell him because he fears the harm he can cause.”

Kowa said professional coaches all over the world give players a chance to play elsewhere if they don’t fit in their team, “Luis Van Gaal bought Angel Di Maria while at Manchester United and the player wasn’t what he thought he would be, he then sold him, Alvaro Morata is currently being given a chance to play at Atletico Madrid but he wasn’t playing at Chelsea, why can’t Pitso do the same thing with Tsotso?” Kowa retorted. “I was listening to the radio yesterday and Mosimane was accused of destroying talent in South Africa, remember Sibusiso Vilakazi who was causing Sundowns headaches while at Wits, George Lebese was at the peak of his game at Kaizer Chiefs, Pitso picked and froze them.”

Kowa says he has had an encounter with Mosimane before and questioned him about the player, “I met Mosimane in Morocco not so long ago, when I asked him about the player, he said he is becoming lazy, I told him to sell the player. He didn’t sell him, obviously because Sundowns is one of Patrice Motsepe’s hobbies, they are not that professional if you can observe.” Furthermore, Kowa  expressed disappointment over youngsters who never return to their roots when they need advice, “these youngsters never return to us to ask for our advice under this kind of circumstances, instead they go to sharks, people who don’t appreciate the good that you do; when you do something good, people want to take it away from you and drag it down below.”

He stressed that Ngele is getting old and he remains stuck with a reserve side as he is currently training away from the first team at Sundowns, “Age is not on his side, I don’t know if he is even playing in the reserve league but if he is playing I guarantee you he will go back to his best if he finds another team,”  Kowa lamented.

At the peak of his strength, Ngele won the MTN 8 Trophy and the Telkom Knockout with Platinum Stars; back then he was a pricking thorn to Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and his current Club Mamelodi Sundowns. He went on to win two Absa Premiership title, one with Sundowns and the other with Bidvest Wits. As if that was not enough, he added to his list another Telkom Knockout trophy with Mamelodi Sundowns.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 12:19

German expert starts work at Lekidi

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) this week officially unveiled the long awaited German technical expert, Dr. Carolin Bruan, who is expected to be in Botswana for two years. Dr. Bruan is highly skilled in matters of sports, including football.

Dr Bruan is expected to travel to all the 17 regions of the BFA to support the formation and education of youth representative teams. The  technical  expert is expected to ensure that coaching education and talent identification are of paramount importance in her mandate.

Addressing the media at a press conference in Gaborone this week, BFA CEO Mfolo said Dr Bruan commands an illustrious background in her country, having been a youth and women’s coach. “She has organised courses and held seminars for coaches. She is a doctor in sports science and we are delighted to have a person of her calibre in our midst.” Dr Bruan’s mandate include working closely with the BFA Technical Director, Serame Letsoaka, advising BFA in fields of basic and further training of coaches, including the creation of the coach education system, creating and implementing a program to improve football structure.

For her part Dr Bruan said she has worked in different countries including Gambia for football and academic reasons. “I came here because I saw so many people working hard to improve football in Botswana. I have a PhD and the highest football license in Germany.” Bruan said she is a member of numerous boards in her native country and happens to hold a special CV back in Germany. “Botswana is a special country and I want to develop a structure in Botswana where people can have great football.”

Meanwhile, the BFA Technical Director, Serame Letsoaka said there will be no clash of roles between him and Dr Bruan at Lekidi. Letsoaka said the expert will be focusing on school and regions where she will be developing coaches.  “This week we are expecting 60 coaches to be in training at Lekidi. The   expert is expected to be travelling around the country as we do not have enough coaches. It is important that we take the course to the people.”

Dr Bruan’s arrival follows a recent visit by another German Football development expert, Christoph Rocholl, who was tasked with coming up with a model of structural development of football talent, from the grass roots in the country. Some of Rochel’s findings included the undeveloped local football pitches and lack of infrastructure. The expert further said football education was severely lacking in the country and he recommended an expert to come and assist in local football structures.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 12:13

Black Peril taunts big prey

Black Peril made a blazing debut in their first game in the eagerly anticipated Orange FA Cup. After beating Mogoditshane Fighters 5-1 at Tlokweng VDC Grounds, the Tlokweng outfit or Mochacho as they are known, have sent a stern and chilling warning to their future opponents in the knockout   tournament. In their second-round game, the team is expected to prove their mettle against a premier league team.

“We came prepared because this team had beaten us in the league last week. I was hoping for a brace and a hat trick was a bonus. I plan to be the top goal scorer of the tournament. I came   from Notwane where I did not get enough game time, which is the reason I came here,” said Mosha Tlhaolang. The player, who is already in the running for top goal scorer after his performance, made it clear he was not eyeing the big prize. 

“This is my second game, I came here to help the team”
 For his part Mochacho Assistant Coach, David Mfolwe said, “This game was a grudge match, we played against these guys last weekend in a league game and we told ourselves that we cannot be beaten twice and we also wanted to proceed to the quarter finals. Mosha does have a chance of fighting for the top goal scorer honours after scoring the hat trick.” Mfolwe said the player is currently on loan from Notwane FC where he was not given a chance to play.” If you look at this cup you can score seven goals and win the prize.  If he scores two goals in the next game, he will be in the contention.”

Going forward, Mfolwe says they are hoping to face a Premier league team because we are really ready. “We have been training for this tournament for a while. We are currently fourth on the log and only four points behind the log leaders.” For his part, Muchachos headcoach Kaelo ‘Wire’ Kaelo said, “We are enjoying ourselves, and against a bigger team no one will expect us to win but it will be a good thing to pit my boys against a Premier league team.” Kaelo said the atmosphere is great and both Orange and the premier league should be congratulated.

In a post-match interview, Botswana Football Association Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo said the opening FA cup games have been a success, adding that the atmosphere is vibrant and people are relaxed. “For sponsors, there has been commercial value, people are making calls to check the results and the sponsor is gaining mileage,” he said.

“I have just received a call from Mmankgodi, there were 800 tickets printed and I have just been told that they have sold out. We expected the same from Hukuntsi. I did not expect this, every time I go and watch the premier league it’s a sizeable number of people that   come to the ground so I am overwhelmed by this.”

Mfolo said this was the first time he attended regional football games. “Going forward I think we can improve as far as managing crowds. I stayed about 15 minutes outside while I was trying to get in. All other   aspects   are at an average level where there is room for improvement.”

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 12:07

Shareholders okay Cresta’s P260m deal

Shareholders of Cresta Marakanelo have overwhelmingly voted in favour of acquisition of several property assets around the country, which are expected to cut down on rental the company pays to landlords.  Present at the meeting were shareholders who hold 98,8 808, 924 shares, representing 75, 6 percent of the shares eligible to vote at the meeting and 53,4 percent of the total issued share capital of the group.

Last Thursday, scores of shareholders at the extra ordinary general meeting held at Cresta Lodge gave the company the leeway to enter into a transaction in terms of which it will acquire Tribal Lot 141, Maun. The above land currently houses the Cresta’s Rileys Hotel. The property, which is currently rented by hospitality group, is currently owned by Botswana Hotel Development Corporation (BHDC). The latter is a subsidiary of government’s investment arm, Botswana Development Corporation (BDC).

A circular to shareholders seen by Botswana Guardian puts the price tag for the above asset at P 25million.

According to the group which is headed by Mokwena Morulane, shareholders have also given directors the nod to acquire Plot 50719 Gaborone (Cresta Lodge), Plot 6384 Francistown (Cresta Thapama), Plot 1169 Gaborone (CrestaPresident) and a portion of Plot 276 Selebi Phikwe (Cresta Bosele). All the above properties are owned by Letlole la Rona Limited, a Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed company.  The above properties are expected to cost P235 million.

Cresta, which has lately not improved its profitability, is expected to fund the acquisition through debt. In a brief interview on Wednesday, Managing Director, Mokwena Morulane said they are content now that the shareholders have passed the resolution  as the acquisition is in line with their strategy. Ahead of the extra ordinary meeting, the board which is chaired by Moatlhodi Lekaukau has pleaded with shareholders to vote in favour of the proposed acquisition for a number of factors.

“The Board believes that the future growth and sustainability of Cresta will be enhanced as a consequence of the acquisitions, as provided for in the Acquisition Agreements and recommends that Shareholders vote in favour of the ordinary resolutions necessary to approve and implement the Acquisitions. The director holding Cresta shares intends to vote in favour of the transaction,” reads a circular from the board.

All things being equal, Cresta will no longer be liable for the 8% annual rental escalations, which are adversely affecting the profitability of the Company, if the deal gets the approval nod from BSE and Competition Authority. The rental increase for 2019 will amount to P2.5 million for the properties, resulting in annual lease rentals of P34.1 million.

“Acquiring the Properties gives Cresta security of tenure beyond the remaining 18month lease term and allows the Company to invest in refurbishing the hotels to defend and increase its position in the market,” said Cresta.

Published in Business

Botswana Exporters Manufacturers Association has maintained that the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should not cripple the local industries. Mmantlha Sankoloba, the Association’s Chief Executive Officer said despite the signing of the agreement being viewed as a symbolic step, “there is still a long way to go to realize the finer tenets of the agreement.”

She warned that presently each African country and regional bloc has several trade agreements with various partners, hence it is important to tread with care on the opportunities presented by the platform. “We still have to interrogate the agreement, and advise our membership on how to get the real meat from the bones in this new development.

“Eliminating all tariffs in the free trade could be problematic, but our view is that, as long as the majority of tariffs that affect our members are scrapped, we will see value in the agreement, from an export and manufacturing sector point of view,” Sankoloba emphasized. Though AfCFTA is expected to make it easier for Botswana companies and other African companies to leverage economies of scale in new markets, Sankoloba wants protection of local industries to continue. “Botswana would still have to protect local producers and industries, impose periodic export restrictions in certain products while the implementation of the agreement gains steam,” said Sankoloba.

She further said the Association hopes that the decision to sign into AfCFTA is backed by evidence. “Lest we join just because other countries are joining, without us realizing much benefit from this, given our membership to so many economic blocks,” said Sankoloba.
However, BEMA hopes that the agreement has the potential to impact the local economy positively, including boosting trade, manufacturing and exports, job creation and poverty alleviation, and impact the local Special Economic Zones.

“We think that the types of exports that would gain most are those that are labor intensive, such as manufacturing and exports, which bodes well for our membership,” said Sankoloba.Despite the local economy’s small population, BEMA believes if positively done AfCFTA opens up infinite market access opportunities for the Association’s members and infinite networking opportunities as well as a chance to exploit the continent’s intellectual resource base.

The specific objectives of the AfCFTA, for purposes of fulfilling and realizing the agreement are that signatories shall progressively eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods as well as to liberalize trade in services and cooperate on investment, intellectual property rights and competition policy. They also envision to cooperate on all trade-related areas and customs. Botswana becomes the 51st country to sign the AfCFT, governed by variable geometry, flexibility and special and differential treatment, transparency and disclosure of information.

Published in Business

Karowe Diamond Mine this week recovered a 223 carats high white gem diamond, adding to the company’s perennial high quality diamond discoveries since beginning of the year.

Eira Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Lucara Diamond, the developers of Karowe Mine said the discovery together with 127 carats and 240 carats discovered earlier this year will be made available for sale alongside other discoveries.

“2019 is off to a great start, with several, high quality diamonds in excess of 100 carats having been recovered by mid February, a testament to the strong, stable operating environment that has prevailed at Karowe since late 2018,” said Thomas. Lucara is a leading independent producer of large exceptional quality Type IIa diamonds from its 100 percent owned Karowe Mine in Botswana.

In 2015, the largest diamond found in over 100 years was discovered at Karowe Mine. Weighing 1,111 carats, the stone became the second-largest ‘gem quality’ diamond ever recovered. Two years later, the uncut tennis ball-sized diamond named Lesedi La Rona was sold for $53 million.

Published in Business

Commenting on the budget allocation on Thursday, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo said the tender awarding committee should be made ad hock and anonymous to reduce corruption in the tender awarding system.

“We need more deliberate efforts to fight corruption as it has hit this country so hard. We need to shift the tender committees and make them ad hock and anonymous, invite many professionals that are very experienced in structuring and closing deals in the private, public partnership projects because we have many talented and well trained Batswana,” said Kenewendo. Last year the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board introduced the Code of ethics for procurement personnel.The institution states that tender committees should be given full powers to adjudicate, award, issue instructions to tenderers and oversee project implementation.

The PPAD Act allows the Board to adjudicate and award tenders for Central Government and any other institutions specified under the PPADB Act for the delivery of works, services and supplies of related services.  It also deals with the registration and grading of contractors who wishes to do business with government

She said the economic growth of the country is commendable at 4, 7 percent compared to other African countries but government should ensure that the budget speaks to this in implementation. “We need to ensure that our budget does not only speak in figures but there should be delivery and we will be able to create jobs, open doors and facilitate wealth creation in Botswana,” However, she pointed out that there is a concern as Batswana front on business reserved for them by government. “This is stealing, there should be a deliberate action and punishment to stop this. Fronting is a serious issue and we are currently looking at how we are addressing this issue as a ministry but it is also a legal issue,” she said.

She also pointed out that in the oil industry which government has identified to empower Batswana, it is alleged that Batswana are leaving it because they are offered what seems as a good deal in the short term. Presenting the 2019 Budgets Speech Minister of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo said government has already put in place measures to address some of the concerns about doing business in Botswana. He said government is keen on promoting its long standing principle of inclusive growth and equitable distribution of wealth in Botswana by giving citizens the opportunity to have ownership through privatisation of profit making public enterprises.

Recently, PPADB Supplies Executive Director, Kgakgamalo Ketshajwang told the media that the development of the code is in line with Section 90 of the PPAD Act, which mandates PPADB to ensure that a code of ethical behavior for procurement personnel is in place and enforced.

“Compliance with the provisions of the Code of Ethics is mandatory for all procurement practitioners who are engaged in the service of Procuring Entities covered under Sections 3 and 8 of the PPAD Act. This code will enhance integrity and ethical conduct of public officers handling procurement as global procurement and supply chain standard will be followed and appropriate action taken against those breaching the code,” said Ketshajwang.

Published in Business

As calls for pension fund to finance local infrastructure development continue to make echoes, asset managers argue that few bankable infrastructure projects are popping up.Speaking at the first-ever Botswana Infrastructure Investment (BII) Summit, asset managers said the challenge is not only peculiar to Botswana but the continent at large. Local capital markets industry’s licensed players rose from 12 in 2008 to 64 in 2018 and 60 percent of the players are asset managers and investment advisors.

Non-Bank Financial Institution Regulatory Authority’s (NBFIRA) recent reports says the total assets under management grew from 38 billion pula in 2010 to 52 billion pula in 2017, while the domestic market capitalisation recorded was 29 billion pula in 2009 compared to 44 billion end of 2017, representing a 55.6 percent increase. Dialogue at the inaugural forum organised by MNCapital Group and African Alternative this week highlighted that political and commercial risks are tainting Africa infrastructure development chances. Ashwin West, Investor Director at African Infrastructure Investment Managers said the continent do not have capital challenges but bankable projects. “We have lots of capital chasing small number of projects,” said West.

Sharing his sentiments Hellen Goussard, Head of Unlisted Investment Services at Riscura said the limited infrastructure funding by the continent’s pension fund is a supply issue. “There is a lot of qualitative understanding of what the risk is but very little quantity,” said Goussard highlighting that risks associated with some of the infrastructure project are mainly limited to perceptions. She said foreign exchange rate and political risk make most project on the continent un-bankable. She however urged nation to consider the route of public private partnerships (PPPs) which has a lot to offer and are normal backed by international laws giving investors some security.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Attout, Chief Capital Markets Officer at the African Development Bank (AfDB) said the continent should improve on governance and expressed optimism that most nations are already adhering to such calls.“Thing are changing to the right direction, what is missing is more efforts towards an enabling environment,” said Attout adding that the continent should leverage on the bank for capacity building on infrastructure financing. “We are very optimistic that we are moving into a new Africa.

Capital markets are keen to grow the African infrastructure,” said Attout, adding that the narrative should change from mobilising aid for Africa to investment dialogue. Meanwhile AfDB has announced that it has kickoff dialogue with Botswana to understand the local market for a potential financing of some of the country’s infrastructure development. “We have limited exposure on Botswana and have started bilateral discussions,” said Kazuhiro Numasawa, Principal Investment Officer at Africa Development Bank.

Published in Business
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