Dark clouds of relegation are hovering over the Maun based BTC Premiership outfit, Sankoyo Bush Bucks. The situation is currently haunting football enthusiasts residing in the north west side of Botswana. The team is currently neck-to-neck against the relegation spot after week 13 of the 2018/19 BTC premiership league.
Dreams were also shattered on the other side, North East this past season when Francistown based TAFIC were relegated to the Debswana National First division. It would come as a heavy blow for the northern part of Botswana if Ngurungu, as Sankoyo is affectionately known were to go down the same route.This will mean that the North side of Botswana will have no representative in the local premier league. The thirst for the game of football would, once again, dehydrate the north based community. Panic is slowly creeping in at Ngurungu given that they survived relegation by a whisker last season. It was only in the dying moments of the 2017/18 season that Sankoyo breathed a sigh of relief when TAFIC finally dropped the ball and waved goodbye to the elite league.
Sankoyo management and players are best placed to interpret the current log standings better than anyone; eight points after playing 13 games, registering one win, seven losses and five draws. At this stage, if it is not fear, then it can only be worry that is slowly stealing the remnants of their peace of mind.
Like a loyal servant, the Club Chairman Obusitswe John, chooses not to press the panic buttons just yet. He wants to remain calm and believe that his club will survive the intimidating storms threatening to shake his boat. He too agrees that Sankoyo cannot afford to disappoint Maun; they need to inject life into the team in order to keep their premier league status alive. John recalls that back in 2014 when they first knocked on the league doors, they were full of energy and went on to challenge league giants, Township Rollers. However, with time, they have seen some of their valuable players abandon the club for greener pastures and it has since proved difficult to replace them.
It does not help that like many local clubs, their finances are also skating on thin ice. The Sankoyo Community Trust is overwhelmed with the responsibility of financing all expenses of the team and this has since bled the Sankoyo trust coffers dry. “As you are aware our club is from the north and 90 percent of the teams playing in the league are from the South. This means that we are always playing outside Maun and spending more on accommodation and transport expenses,” John said.The Sankoyo Chairman went on to say that if only the Botswana Premier League (BPL) could look at factors such as distance when distributing grants, it would be ideal. BPL has instead resorted to slashing the monthly grants from P50 000 to P35 000.
John added that despite the struggles, he appreciates the special attention the Botswana Football President (BFA) Maclean Letshwiti is giving to Sankoyo Club. “He is very supportive and wants us to stay in the elite league, I recently had a one on one meeting with him and we discussed why Sankoyo cannot relegate to first division,” he said.
John remained cagey when further asked how Letshwiti was assisting his struggling side. Ahead of their next fixture against the equally struggling side of Mochudi Centre Chiefs next week Tuesday, John said the game is a must win for them.“We cannot afford a loss and not even a draw against Chiefs,” he declared.