Items filtered by date: Friday, 03 August 2018 - Botswana Guardian
Friday, 03 August 2018 15:29

Teams assemble technical arsenal

With just under three weeks before the 2018/19 BTC Premiership resumes, excitement has build up as unexpected transfer announcements continue to shock and thrill football supporters across the nation.

The shake up in the technical departments of most domestic premier league teams is just as exciting. Most BTC Premiership outfits are expected to appear with different coaches during the first week fixtures on 18th August. Miscelleneous or Tse Nala as they are affectionately called have since reunited with their coach Chippa Koolese who has returned from a stint at Orapa United. Koolese will replace the revered but nomadic ‘Oris’ Boyo Radipotsane who is believed to have moved on to Morupule Wanderers.

In an interview this week, Miscelleneous spokesperson Edwin Ntau said they parted ways with Radipotsane at the end of the last season. At Miscelleneous, Radipotsane defied all odds and led the Serowe outfit to a top 8 finish. In their last season’s campaign, Tse Nala recorded a win against the then undefeated Township Rollers.  Ntau said Koolese is a capable   coach who once took the team from six points up to the last 12, a feat that saw them surviving the clutches of relegation.

“We hope that he stays for two seasons. It is a gentlemen’s agreement, which means he can move on if he finds greener pastures.“
After parting ways with Serbian coach Zlatko Krmpotic, the other top team, Jwaneng Galaxy this week confirmed that they are looking for a competent coach in Botswana and beyond borders.

In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said Matshidiso has been serving as assistant to Krmpotic before the Serbian left the team. 

We did not   come to terms with the coach and now we are   searching for a replacement. Meanwhile Morake   also revealed   that Galaxy are in talks with former Zebras goal keeper, Modiri Marumo. Marumo recently had a successful spell as a coach in South Africa.
Our intension was to land Galaxy in the Premier league and ensure the team settles and eventually wins silverware. “And thus far we have reached most of these targets.”

Of late, Gaborone United have been making headlines for the wrong reasons after one of their former players successfully sued them at FIFA. However, GU chairman Boitumelo Nsunge said the Reds are currently in a rebuilding phase, and they are currently assessing a number of CVs from international coaches. Nsunge said former GU player and assistant coach Stephen Maphosa is still in charge of the technical department. “We are   currently waiting to asses two coaches   from Europe,” he said.

“We are  currently in the process of rebuilding he team. GU will combine both younger and experienced players.” GU, who have been experiencing financial difficulties parted   ways with outspoken Argentine coach Rudolf Zapata who has moved on to coach in Kenya.
Meanwhile, Orapa United recently announced the arrival of former Township Rollers assistant coach Teenage Mpote.

Mpote will be expected to work with the Zimbabwean mentor, Bongani Mafu. Mpote’s arrival came as a surprise into the Orapa fold and rivals will be left scratching their heads. Mpote was at the helm of Rollers, one of the biggest football brands in the country before the arrival of Serbian Nikola Kavazovic.

 After a short spell as assistant to Kavazovic, the two men had a well-publicized fallout that saw Mpote leaving the Blues. A well-respected tactician and disciplinarian, Mpote will be expected to serve Ostriches well after replacing Daniel Chico Nare at the team. In a recent interview, Orapa spokesperson Kabo William said they have recruited Mpote who will be working alongside Zakhariah Mudzadzi who serves as a development coach.

“Looking back at our previous results in the league we have decided to bring Mpote in the technical team. We preferred Mpote because he plays the role of a parent and he will instil discipline in the team,” William said.

 “This season we want to fight for the championship and we need pace going forward so most of our team will be under 24 years.”
Newly promoted BR Highlanders are expected to retain their headcoach Kabo Dintwa. In a recent interview, Dintwa said the Mahalapye outfit needs to be revamped in almost all departments. 

The coach remained realistic about their prospects this season, adding that they will not be aiming for a top 8 finish in their 18/19 campaign.
”We need to survive in our first season return,” he said.

Dintwa took over the team in the 2017/18 season after a spell as assistant to veteran coach Boyo ‘Oris’ Radipotsane. “The first division (DNFD) league is difficult and it takes a lot of work before you can gain promotion. Unlike the Premier League you are not given space in the lower league. There is hard marking and there is no room on the ball.”

Published in Sports
Friday, 03 August 2018 14:45

Fiery Kavazovic charges at everyone

Township Rollers Serbian coach Nikola Kavazovic has emerged as one of the most controversial and polarising figures in domestic football. The man, who has less than a year in Botswana, has already divided opinion across the local football landscape.

Clearly, Kavazovic is not afraid of controversy or confrontation, whether it’s against rival teams, his own players or the media.  Kavazovic’s latest action has seen him divide Popa fans when he announced the suspension of popular goalkeeper Mwampule Masule. During a press conference   following a CAF Champions league fixture against Egyptian club Al Ahly, Kavazovic dropped an unexpected bombshell and announced that he has taken measure against the bulky goalkeeper.

Kavazovic declared that he had cut Masule’s salary in half after the player went absent without leave. Furthermore, the Serbian continues to make inflammatory statements towards the media. This past weekend, Kavazovic spewed vile statements when addressing a press conference. The press conference saw Kavazovic’s confrontational nature overshadowing the game when he charged at ocal journalists accusing them of spreading lies about issues surrounding his team.

 “I can never get used to questions from Botswana. What was your question?” Kavazovic  said  with a  mischievous  chuckle  when he responded  to questions surrounding the  Masule  debacle. While channelling his inner Jose Mourinho, the coach accused the media of peddling lies surrounding the issue, “I am glad you asked that question because there   will be a lot of speculation about that. I know there will be a lot of speculation on that” Kavazovic went on to explain that he has since suspended the goal keeper and charged him 50 percent of his salary.

 “He left the team a month ago and travelled to South Africa in an effort to find a team that he will join without permission,” Kavazovic charged. “Before   you write any lies about my relationship with Lemponye Tshireletso…. let’s   make it clear between Tshireletso and Masule’s.

Masule is a player   under contract who left the team without permission. We were forced to chase him in South Africa because we did not have a goal keeper for the game in Alexandria, Egypt.” On the other hand, Kavazovic argued that Tshireletso, who recently went for trials in South Africa was a free agent and he had the team’s blessings.  Commenting on the matter this week, the Vice President at the Botswana Football Coaches Association (BFACA), Enos Mmesi said Kavazovic’s rather severe disciplinary actions against Masule were acceptable.

Some coaches are given such powers. “As a coach, I can cut a player’s salary. This is because the coach is a key member of the team management.” Mmesi said   so far, they do not have a problem with how the Serbian coach goes about his work. Previously, Kavazovic was recently involved in public spats with his assistant Mogomotsi Teenage Mpote who has since moved on to Orapa United. Kavazovic has previously made inflammatory  statement against rival teams and   accused the media of peddling lies about him on several occasions.l

Published in Sports
Friday, 03 August 2018 14:31

Debswana boosts Boxing Awards

The mining giant, Debswana has injected P250 000 into the Annual Botswana Boxing Awards, elevating the sponsorship money from P50 000 in a partnership that dates as far back as 2010.

Speaking at the Sponsorship launch on Tuesday night, Debswana Head of Human Resources Lebole Mokoto said since 2010, Debswana and BOBA have enjoyed warm relations characterised by mutual interest, shared values and vision.

“The Debswana Boxing Awards have set a couple of objectives and one of those is to recognize excellence for both athletes and officials; these annual awards should motivate upcoming youngsters to develop positive attitude so that they become competitive in the zonal, continental and international competitions,” Mokoto alluded. Moreover, Mokoto said Debswana noticed the immense contribution of sports in humanity, “We will continue to support various Sporting codes including boxing through our corporate social investment program, the program has been established to create and build sustainable projects and investment so that we make meaningful impact in the country’s economy.”

For his part BOBA President Thato Patlakwe said the awards create a keen interest and strengthen competitiveness amongst boxers,

“They make boxing events exciting to participate in and the sponsorship has reassured boxers and picked up their morale.” Patlakwe said the awards have helped destigmatize women in boxing as the belief that women cannot play the sport of boxing is slowly fading out.  “BOBA has through these awards acknowledged and rewarded women for their positive contribution to the development of women boxing in the country.”
The awards ceremony will be hosted on September 8 in Gaborone.

Published in Sports

On his first attempt at the 30 kilometres Desert Bush Walk, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development,  Thapelo Olopeng  was worried that such a great initiative by the youth was still struggling to get support from  the private sector.

Speaking to BG Sports after completing the race, Olopeng said,   “I support  this walk and I will  continue  doing so because its  proceeds are used  to help the poor; it is also for educational purposes. My ministry is also responsible for sports tourism hence we have the likes of Khawa challenge and this walk attracted regional countries and has now turned to be a regional walk as we have seen walkers from Lesotho and South Africa.

I edge the private sector to support this initiative so that we could grow it from being a regional to a continental and  world event.”

 Olopeng walked together with his cabinet colleague and Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Madigele who settled for 15 kilometres and left early as he had other business activities to attend in his Mmathethe-Molapowabojang constituency. Both are looking forward to participate in next year’s  walk which is expected to be much bigger as it will be celebrating its fifth anniversary.

Published in Sports
Friday, 03 August 2018 11:22

Let us prioritise Disability Sports

The honourable Minister, I write to request that Botswana withdraws from the 2022 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) candidate city race. And no, it is not too late. In fact, there are cities that have withdrawn from hosting these mega sports events after having been awarded the rights.

A good example is our neighbour South Africa. Durban was awarded the hosting rights for the 2022 Commonwealth Games but they declined soon after. Durban is a city with more facilities, human capacity and financial resources than Gaborone yet South Africa’s Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, was honest enough to admit the costs for hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games would be more than the country could afford.

Returning to the Olympics, the US city of Boston withdrew from consideration for the 2024 Games. The city’s mayor was paraphrased as follows: “he refused to mortgage the future of the city away.” Other cities that had announced their interest – the Italian capital, Rome, the Hungarian capital of Budapest and the German city of Hamburg also withdrew from the race. The cities of Stockholm, Lviv, Krakow and Oslo also withdrew their bids to host the 2022 Winter Games.

These are developed western cities yet they made honest admissions that hosting the Games, at that particular time, would not be in their cities and countries best interests.

Perhaps we do not have financial issues like the above-mentioned cities but surely there are other sports issues that demand our urgent attention and should be a priority right now than hosting the YOG. They say acknowledgement is the first step to recovery and we also need to acknowledge our current state. As a country, we should be honest with ourselves as far as the sporting fraternity is concerned and re-evaluate whether hosting the Youth Olympic Games is our top priority.

As a nation we have all that it takes and required to stage the YOG in terms of capacity and competence. Hosting the YOG would be a dream but unfortunately the opportunity has come at a wrong time.
Our athletes are doing well and they can shine at any event staged anywhere in the world. We do not have to host a mega-sports event for us to motivate them or develop our sport fraternity.

The timing is awful for the Botswana government, through your ministry, to spend taxpayers’ funds on staging the next YOG because we still have many issues plaguing our sports sector to deal with. Issues like inclusion and integration need to be dealt with and resolved before we can entertain thoughts of using excess funds to host any mega-sports event.

Are you aware honourable minister that we do not have a disability sport secretariat in Botswana? Botswana National Olympic Committee has not, does not and will never fully serve athletes with disabilities because that is not their mandate. Asking them to take on disability sports and athletes under their wing is doing an injustice to both entities as it is not the NOC’s responsibility.

The current system through which disability sport affiliates to BNSC also needs to be reviewed.
My plea to you Sir, is that if at all there are funds in coffers stashed somewhere that are enough to bring the world youth over, can we use that to not only establish a secretariat for disability sport but to also build a high class inclusive and accessible sports centre. My greatest fear is that at the speed we are moving, athletes with different abilities will continue to lag behind able-bodied sport.

The cost–benefit report has proven time and again that it is rarely worth hosting a mega-sport event. Exceptions are only for cities that already had plans in the pipeline to restructure and add some developments.  In Botswana’s case, such restructuring and developments can still go on without having to host the YOG as they can immensely benefit our sports sector.

We are doing very well in the able-bodied sports sector, the children that side have undisputable role models that we have developed and we now need to look on the other side. There is potential also waiting to be developed: we are a diverse nation and diversity is also packaged in ability degrees.

We need to start acknowledging athletes with disability and work towards removing barriers they are experiencing when trying to claim their rights on an equal basis with others. Let us inspire children with disabilities to believe that they too can make a living from sport. We are Africans and that on its own gives us unique challenges as compared to the rest of the world. We have cultural burdens to deal with that influence our decisions both consciously and subconsciously.

Unless and until we get honest with ourselves, we will be running ahead and forgetting our own behind. We will have “them” and not “us” scenarios.
My appeal, honourable minister is that you kindly take another look at the YOG feasibility report in relation to our own current situation at home, not the world.

For fully developed countries without social crises like ours, they have excess to spend. For us, it is not an inclusive dream and we should not be ashamed of withdrawing our candidacy. Once we are stable, ready and inclusive, then we can think about hosting, just not now.

Let us rather spend the next four years that we want to spend preparing for the YOG towards deliberately overhauling our system and establishing structures that will facilitate the development of sport in the country. Let us create a system where our athlete programmes are clearly defined and easily accessible for everyone who wants to participate in sport to do so without experiencing challenges. As I have stated, let us have a real structure and move from a volunteer-based approach of dealing with disability sport.

Let us spend the next four years benchmarking and implementing what our neighbours are doing in South Africa, Zambia and Namibia in terms of disability sport. Their approaches are making them excel and we need to adopt and contextualise it to our country. Let us be realistic in our YOG optimism. Let us be our brother’s keeper. Borrowing the words of Nelson Mandela in conclusion, “sports can create hope where there was once only despair.”

Published in Sports
Friday, 03 August 2018 11:12

BPOPF morale high following court victory

Buoyed by a favouring Court of Appeal ruling last week Friday, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) this week revealed they were surging ahead with their strategy to grow the Fund. This will involve giving citizen companies an opportunity to manage assets as well as explore Africa and China markets.

BPOPF Principal Officer, Boitumelo Johnson appeared relieved after Court of Appeal President Justice Ian Kirby confirmed the appointment of a Statutory Manager for Capital Management Botswana(CMB), an entity that has been managing some of the Fund assets. BPOPF has fallen out with the former over several irregularities as well as alleged corruption by directors in executing their investment mandate.

Now that CMB has been placed under statutory management, Johnson told the media that all their efforts will now be focused on ensuring that diversification of investment portfolio under the Investment Policy Statement (IPS) goes unhindered.  The investment committee is expected to give the Fund the leeway to invest in China and other African markets, so as to spread risks and get maximum return on investments, all for the benefits of members, active, deferred and retired. 

  Johnson speaks highly of China, which is under the Premiership of Xi Jinping. “China is a unique market with many opportunities,” said Johnson who was appointed the head to the country’s biggest fund in 2015. He said the good part about Chinese equity space is that there is limited external investment in their territories. 

“Of course we will be entering the market with caution,” noted Johnson. BPOPF will be thriving on the matured economy such as China, which is the world’s biggest economy after the United States of America (USA). In May 2018, International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that, the Chinese economy will expand by 6, 5 percent this year, but warned that rapid credit growth and trade frictions could pose risks for the world’s second-largest economy.

On other updates, the BPOPF boss announced that the Fund has injected P1 billion into two local companies under their incubation programme. Lighthouse Capital, a company owned by a local Bame Pule but based in Johannesburg, South Africa as well as Aleyo Capital has been given local mandates of P500 million apiece.

Aleyo Capital is owned by former Botswana Development Corporation’s investment chief, Bafana Molomo.  The BPOPF Chief stated that their expectation is that the two companies will be investing in the local economy. “We want them to generate growth and help grow a good number of SMMEs,” he said.

BPOPF also confirmed they have not awarded a tender worth P500 million which is targeting the local listed equities. “None of the locals met the requirements,” said the BPOPF top executive without stating if they will re- issue the tender or not.
There is another top priority for BPOPF especially after the Court of Appeal ruled out that, the Non-Bank Financial Regulatory Authority(NBFIRA) was right in appointing  Peter Collins as Statutory Manager of CMB, a company which was given P400 million to invest in the local market by BPOPF.

CMB and BPOPF are partners in Botswana Opportunities Fund, which in turn holds 40 percent of Bona Life though their partnership squabble is still before the arbitrators. Meanwhile, Botswana Guardian understands that BPOPF was expected to meet the Statutory Manager of CMB, Collins on Wednesday to discuss what steps to follow now that CMB, which has held over P400 million  on behalf of the Fund, has been placed under statutory management.

The Statutory Manager is expected to make a full report to the regulator. CMB has invested in local companies such as Cell City and Wilderness Safari although such investments have come under spotlight.  As things stands, BPOPF is seeking to get back the over P400 million given the company once the statutory management is over.

Published in Business
Friday, 03 August 2018 10:59

FSG expands its regional footprint

The Funeral Service Group (FSG) has intentions to strengthen its footprint in SADC countries where the group currently operates, before setting eyes on new markets.

Mike Nikolic, FSG Group Managing Director said the company plans to increase its market share locally, in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa ahead of making new initiatives to swell their pan- African presence.

“We are going to continue to expand in these countries (Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa). They are keeping us very busy,” said Nikolic. Nikolic said FSG operations have been rising in Zambia and Zimbabwe, where the group intends to open up more outlets before the year ends.

“In Zambia, we are the leading brand and we entered Zimbabwe end of 2017, still at infancy but very positive about the market,” said Nikolic, highlighting that in South Africa the company’s strength is in accessories and tombstones.In Botswana the company controls 60 percent of the market share and is using its local experience to leverage its entry into other markets.

Nikolic further revealed that rolling out services into other countries has its own challenges for the group, though it was an inevitable move considering Botswana population size. “The road was not easy but very rewarding,” said Nikolic, adding that the group’s trail of success is notable through influence in product development which is  rubbed off to its peers in the industry across the continent.

FSG also attributes its business growth to the group’s ability to evolve and embrace technology, courtesy of the company’s ICT department created in 2006. “All our software programmes are created in Botswana and utilised in other countries. This has given us extreme strength, our operating systems are very unique for all our fleet and business management system,” Nikolic said.

This month, FSG celebrates its 25th anniversary with the biggest celebration slated for the 6th of August and the company remains optimistic, amid the challenges the company has faced. “It was very hard, but we have achieved a lot, in a very admirable way,” said Nikolic. 

FSG’s diversified portifolio comprises of manufacturing coffins and caskets, funeral services, assurance, property and catering over 25 years. The group’s subsidiaries include FSG Private Cemeteries, FSG Assurance, FSG Properties, FSG Enterprises trading as iFood and FSG Services.

With over 20 branches in Botswana, the company has two in Zambia – Lusaka and Ndola and is in the process of opening another in Kitwe, one in Zimbabwe’s second capital Bulawayo and ten branches in South Africa. The company’s annual revenue exceeds 165 million pula and 500 employees in the four countries with Botswana claiming the largest stake of 350 employees.

Published in Business

The Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BEMA) has vowed to continue efforts to increase visibility for local products and manufacturing companies on the globe.

Speaking at the launch of the second edition of the BEMA Directory, Nkosi Mwaba, President of the Association said the publication provides dynamic support for manufacturers and exporters but not just a platform to showcase products.

“In most cases, the market doesn’t know who we are or where to find us. Our members often miss out on opportunities due to lack of information,” said Mwaba. He further said the second edition of the BEMA Directory signals a very positive development in the drive to support the international orientation of Botswana firms.

The Association says plans are in the pipeline to ensure that the directory is made available online to create more links between exporters and key buyers in the marketplace. “I am convinced that the business world, exporters’ associations and all those bodies and organisations that are striving for an export business culture in Botswana will turn the directory into an important tool for the networking and marketing of Botswana products,” Mwaba said.

Commenting on the directory, BEMA board member, Sagren Munsamy expressed optimism that the product will prop up the country’s exports. “It’s going to take Botswana a step further, ensuring that BEMA is spoken about,” said Munsamy.

Meanwhile BEMA Chief Executive Officer, Mmantlha Sankoloba said the Association is working on a number of projects to ensure the sector is well represented. She said one of the projects is a television program to be aired on DSTV.

Published in Business

Letshego Botswana, a subsidiary of the pan-African group Letshego Holdings, is surging ahead with a multi-pronged strategy of financial inclusion, which among other things includes provision of financial services to micro to small enterprises and affordable housing financial solutions.

The relatively new Chief Executive, Fergus Ferguson revealed this recently at a meet and greet session with the media. The confident Ferguson said there are various initiatives, which Botswana subsidiary has devised in a bid to help the unbanked, those seeking affordable housing as well as small entrepreneurs who are faced with lack of access to credit to expand their businesses. 

A few years ago, the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed group Letshego Holdings Limited, which Letshego Botswana is a unit of, piloted an initiative that is aimed at supporting small businesses, including those who have won supply contracts with the central government. So far nearly 100 companies under this category have been assisted.  

“I think we are now at a point where we need to make a (final) decision on this initiative (of SMMEs funding since it is currently being piloted),” noted Ferguson who was appointed in the position last November. He could not immediately state the value of loans disbursed to beneficiaries.  Most SMMEs in Botswana are faced with challenges such as access to market, capital, mentoring and capacity.

Letshego Botswana is currently exploring the possibility of partnering to mentor and capacitate SMMEs with government agencies such as Local Enterprise Authority (LEA). The latter was formed in 2004 tasked with enterprise development of SMMes. In other markets where Letshego Holdings operates such as in Kenya, Swaziland and Namibia, SME funding has managed to transform customers’ lives positively. Over the years, citizens have complained about lack of affordable financial solutions to those seeking property.

The matter has been made worse by the fact that there are no regulations to residential property lettings or selling, leading to the sector depending mostly on demand and supply. “However, we are working with the regulator on how best we can assist (in home ownership space),” added Ferguson. The micro-lender is regulated by Non-Bank Financial Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA). 

The bank previously applied for a banking licence with Bank of Botswana-BoB but it was rejected without any public explanation. Meanwhile, Ferguson told the media that Letshego Botswana continues to contribute significantly to the group.
According to information obtained from the Letshego website this Tuesday, the company (Letshego Botswana) now contributes over 40 percent to group assets and profits (of P6 billion and P1 billion respectively).

“In addition to formally employed individuals in the Government, parastatal and private sectors, we have made inroads into servicing the generally overlooked low to middle income mining sector employment force. We are furthering this inclusion drive by piloting a unique housing loan product that really does deliver affordable housing capability to our customer.” 

Published in Business

Wilderness Safari which recently had a shareholding structure shake-up ushering in the likes of British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, is selling one of its subsidiaries-Great Explorations, arguing it has not been performing well over the years.

The latter is owned by Wilderness subsidiary, Okavango Wilderness Safaris (OWS).  Great Explorations is being sold to Mountbatten Limited for whopping P16, 8 million.  Great Exploration operates Xigera Camp in the prestigious Okavango delta. “Xigera Camp has performed below expectations in the preceding five years and requires a substantial capital investment for refurbishment,” noted statement signed by group company secretary Lu-Anne Alexander. ‘

It is the Wilderness board’s position that the capital investment required will not be justified by the corresponding return on such investment. The board further understands that Mountbatten is willing to inject the required capital investment into the Camp.
It is for this reason, together with a desire to improve Wilderness’ balance of ‘land’ and ‘water’ camps, that the proposed Transaction has been entered into’

Mountbatten is a 100 percent- owned subsidiary of Wine Investments Limited. It is considered to be a related party in view of the fact that Gavin Tollman is a member of the board of directors of Wine and the board of directors of Wilderness, and that until 11 July 2018, Wine owned approximately 33.97 percent of the share capital of Wilderness.

“An independent professional expert has considered the terms of the above proposed transaction and provided an opinion to the Wilderness board confirming that the proposed Transaction is fair and reasonable to the shareholders of Wilderness,” said Wilderness Safari.

Published in Business
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