Only five BTC premiership clubs have complied with the First Instance Body (FIB), a committee appointed by the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to facilitate the strict club licensing initiative.
This means 11 premier league clubs have not complied with club licensing requirements ahead of the 2017/18 premier league season. Addressing members of the press and stakeholders in Gaborone this week, FIB chairman Mfolo Mfolo said they have since given non complying BPL clubs a waver to compete in the 2017/18 BTC premiership league under conditions that they comply by 31st October.
However, Mfolo said teams that have not complied by the deadline would be barred from competing in the league for the rest of the season if they do not come to the party. FIB has been in a rigorous exercise of educating, receiving applications, advising, finally adjudicating and licensing.
Fresh information reaching BG Sport is that the FIB was pressured to accommodate those clubs under certain conditions. The BPL season failed to start in August, which is set on the constitution due to failure to pay match officials their dues from the previous season. The 2017/ 18 season is also going to start late due to prolonged sponsorship negotiations and club licensing exercise. “The late start of the season has nothing to do with us,” Mfolo said when addressing a press conference this week.
The global football authority, Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) issued a circular no. 1128 in 2007 called FIFA club licensing regulations. The resolution was passed at the May 2007 congress with a clear and simple mission to coordinate and implement licensing universally among members. The local football governing authority is among FIFA members, which failed to embark on the licensing system since 2013.
The club-licensing manual has been introduced by BFA as a plan to comply with the FIFA circular no. 1128. BG Sport revealed that a number of clubs had been going through a rough patch financially, which made it difficult for clubs to have audited financials. FIB has also put recommendations for provisional license holders to pay for audits as a collective, to make it cheaper.
Mfolo announced that only Security Systems, Police XI, Orapa United, Galaxy and Township Rollers were awarded outright full license. FIB chairman praised the league champions for even going an extra mile to submit financial budget for 2017/18 season. FIB will be in office for the next 2 seasons.
Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Sharps Sports person of the year nomination list. The award has been eluding Makwala over the past few years due to inconsistencies. The key interest at the awards usually is the sports person of the year who happens to be the overall winner. The sports person is usually contested by the sports man and the sports woman of the year. Junior Female Sports Person of the year usually attracts athletes from the Botswana Chess Federation, Botswana Tennis Association and athletics. BCF hosts more youth competitions than most other codes. Besa Masaiti is not a surprise in this category though she did not win anything internationally even though she improved her FIDE ranking.
Tennis protégé Tshegofatso Tsiang who is based at a high performance centre in South Africa is another candidate even though her achievements at the international stage are a bit vague. Another dark horse in the junior women’s category is Galefele Moroko who rose to prominence as one of the few promising athletes at BISA competitions a few years ago. However, the young athlete has also not won any major competition.
The junior male sports person of the year is the only category contested by athletes who competed at the Olympics. Gavin Mogopa is the first Judoka to represent Botswana at the Olympics last year in Rio even though he made it as far as preliminary stages. Karate happens to be one of the most consistent sport codes and thus far and Thabang Setshego comes as no surprise.
Setshego will be a favourite to walk away with the award. Another likely winner is Karabo Sibanda who managed to beat teammate Baboloki Thebe for the nomination. Sibanda’s record at junior and senior level is impressive after finishing 5th in 400m at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Sibanda was ranked 2nd fastest Junior 400m in the world in 2016. The sport code of the year is one of the toughest competitions with Botswana Cricket Association (BCA), Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA). BCA has one of the best strategies in the land. BCF is one of the few codes to have retained sponsors over the years while the BAA remains one of the high performing codes in the field of play even though administratively it leaves a lot to be desired. The coach of the year category nominees is Peter Molefhe (Karate), Mogomotsi Otsetswe (Athletics) and Thebe Setlalekgosi (Boxing). The umpire/referee of the year nominees are Edgar Serole (volleyball). Joshua Bondo continues to fly the flag on behalf of the poor performing football team. Gaone Poane of tennis is also nominated. The contest is possibly between Serole and Bondo. The group code of the year pits BOTESSA against BOPSSA. The awards organiser included the category for athletes living with disability since last year. Kedumetse John - Special Olympics and Goitseone Ramontshonyane - Special Olympics contest for this category.
The male sport person with disability Keatlaretse Mabote of PASSOBO and Brightfield Shadi from Special Olympics hooting Stars, Miscellaneous, and Black Forest are the only clubs to be awarded provisional license with grade B. Mfolo explained that the provisional license was for those clubs that met the requirements, though they had some outstanding issues which are key to licensing, for example failure to get a medical doctor. Extension Gunners, Uniao Flamingo Santos, GU, Sankoyo Bush Bucks, BDF XI, Gilport and Tafic managed to pass the test but they were also awarded provisional license.
BG Sport recently revealed that a number of clubs have released players who were owed money to look for employment elsewhere as a smart way of cancelling outstanding salaries. Most BPL clubs claim to be relying solely on gate takings and TV rights to manage the day to day running of business. According to the licensing manual all BPL members that have outstanding debts should have a payment plan before they can be licensed. Mfolo warned that tax evasion is fraud therefore clubs should take responsibility and liaise with Botswana Unified Revenue Service.
Article 3.3.3 of the club licensing manual states that, “only clubs which fulfil the criteria set out in this manual, at the deadline defined by the BFA, maybe granted a license to enter the domestic club competitions of the coming season”. The newly introduced monitoring and evaluation instrument may force the league to commence with fewer clubs if any member fails to comply.
BPL recently announced the postponement of the new football season to allow members to comply with licensing regulations. FIB chairman Mfolo Mfolo recently praised the Uniao Flamingo Santos development model. BG Sport is informed that Santos scored the highest in sporting category.
The licensing has been introduced to the local football authority by CAF as a ploy to curb amateurism in African elite leagues. CAF sent its consultants Honor Janza and Sunzo Nyirenda to come and assist the local association to set structures for licensing. The local association failed to cascade the FIFA vision to make it realistic and achievable.
Club licensing objectives include ensuring that clubs have adequate levels of management and organisation. To improve the economic and financial capability of clubs increased transparency and credibility.
The licensing manual prescribes that clubs should have agreed deals with their secretariat, medical doctors, general manager, finance manager, sporting arena and infrastructure.
The club licensing rules guide that all players are subject to medical tests before they could sign contracts with clubs. The local transfer window closed on the 25/ 09/17 and the league is expected to start on the 09/09/17. The new challenge in signing foreign players is issuance of work permit by the ministry of nationality, immigration and gender affairs.
The Ministry of Sports has set new standards for awarding permits to foreigners. BG Sport is reliably informed that BFA is yet to make a case to guide the ministry on requirements of work permit for footballers. The 2017/18 BTC premiership was expected to kick start on the 9th August.