The Botswana Football Association's (BFA) First Instance Body(FIB), which is responsible for club licensing continues to weaken while local league clubs struggle to comply with both FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) regulations.
Mid last year, former FIB chairman Mfolo Mfolo moved up the ranks to become the BFA Chief Executive Officer. This meant Mfolo was forced to leave his duties as the committee chairman with Batlang Serema having since replaced him. The FIB took another blow last month when its Competitions and Club Licensing officer Stephen Maleka who was relived off his duties pending P 600 000 fraud case at Lekidi. Maleka’s former assistant Kabelo Seboko has since replaced him as the BFA Secretariat. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the FIB is weakened by the departure of both Mfolo and Maleka. However, Mfolo remained cagey when quizzed about the state of the FIB. Recent reports have alleged that numerous BPL clubs have been failing to pay players, this raises questions on whether BPL teams will fully comply with club licensing regulations.
According to the BFA Club licensing report for the 2017/2018 football season, all clubs satisfied the licensing requirements, however issues of unpaid player salaries and clubs not having administrative officers still haunt the league. In an interview this week, Mfolo said so far, they have only received one official report from Gilport Lions concerning unpaid salaries and they acted on the matter. Mfolo explained that on paper, they are not aware that majority of local clubs are failing to pay players and cannot act based on hearsay. “We await formal communication from the Footballers Union Botswana (FUB) and if they do not report anything to us we take it that everything is well,” Mfolo said. However, the BFA CEO further noted that in his opinion, clubs overburden themselves, saying they are living beyond their means hence the current situation.
He advised that it is high time teams realize that they cannot afford to pay players more even when they badly want them in the team.
Still on that, one local coach confessed that some players are paid more than coaches in Botswana. The coach who preferred to speak on a condition of anonymity said a player can be paid close to P30 000 and that weighs heavily on the teams. “Sometimes we are scared to voice this issue because people will feel that we are being jealous but it is the sad reality, we are not being paid yet they want results week in and out,” said the concerned coach. For his part, FUB Secretary General Kgosana Masaseng said they are also concerned that players do not report to them,which makes it hard for them to act on their behalf.
“We need them to react so that we can represent them well because if they do not do that clubs easily question the truth of the allegations and in most cases, we cannot provide evidence,” he said.
Masaseng further explained that they have observed that the only time that players react is when they have terminated their contracts with clubs. He advised that players should stop sitting on their rights over fear of being victimized.
Nevertheless, Masaseng said there is a team from their side that has been tasked with finding means of dealing with the issue of unreported cases.