The Zebras’ loss to Uganda last weekend was a result of players’ low morale and administrative misfortunes that plundered any chance of the team proceeding beyond the group stages of the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon.
The nation’s hope that the team could do miracles was misplaced in view of the administrative nightmare that preceded preparations. There were no sound preparation games except for a last minute encounter with the always ‘friendly’ Likwena of Lesotho. It is coming out that the players were owed money in the regions of over P10 000 emanating from appearance fees, winning bonuses for both Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers and 2017 AFCON qualifiers as well as the last friendly game in Serowe.
It is reported that players had actually threatened a boycott and demanded to see the Minister of Sports even a day before they left for the Serowe friendly.
Although the meeting with the minister did not materialize, BNSC met them and ensured they were partly paid. This however was short-lived as they could not get their balances which were promised to be paid on a Monday before the Uganda game.
To cut the circus short, after the merry go round, punctuated with hopes raised and dashed, the players missed three days of training on the week of the game and were only told on the day of the game, Saturday, that the association has no money to pay them. Left with no option as the hours dropped by, the players decided to just play.
The captain of the team Joel Mogorosi did not even mince his words but made it clear to the BFA patron and State President Ian Khama who asked them to always report to him when faced with such challenges. Speaking to BG Sport, one player who preferred anonymity summed it as follows: “People don’t know what is happening within the association. As players we sometimes just give-up on complaining because when we complain people outside think we are crybabies and we are unpatriotic to our country. They don’t take our welfare seriously and they never keep their promises. So we end up resorting to boycotting.”
The BFA’s CEO Kitso Kemoeng confirmed to BG Sport that the association is broke. He said the recent withdrawal of both Orange and BancABC sponsorships have done more harm than good as their coffers are dry to pay players.