It is now common knowledge that the organisers of the annual Kabelano Charity Cup have bowed to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) pressure to move the tournament’s date from July 26 to the following weekend. The BFA top brass cited a clash of interests as on the same date, there will be the association’s elective general assembly.
The tussle for the said date was only a tip of an iceberg, it has emerged. Sources have told BG Sport that actually, the BFA leadership wants to stop the tournament and eventually replace it with one of their own. Indications are that this year’s edition may as well be the last as football authorities feel they derive no benefits from having the tournament as part of the local football calendar. Both the premier league and the BFA are reported to be finding the objectives of the tournament alien to their outlook of things and that it was time the organisers were told to pack and go. It is important to note that the one-day football extravaganza was started in the mould of a similar charity tournament in South Africa which was from 1986 to 1998 known as the Iwisa Maize Meal Charity Spectacular, although until its demise in 2010 was called the Telkom Charity Cup. In 2011, the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) announced that the tournament would be scrapped off from their calendar with the PSL chairman Ivan Khoza quoted as having said the competition had outlived its usefulness.
Now a similar sentiment seems to be permeating the football sphere in the country, with the top football brass feeling they should at least be having control on the tournament and with the discretion to decide which charitable organisations to benefit. In fact, there is a reported sentiment that every year some of the proceeds from the tournament should be used to take care of some individuals who have served the country’s football but can hardly do anything for themselves at the moment. A source close to the matter said the football authorities also feel that some families that depended on departed football servants should also be funded from the money made through the football event, as well as funding other development needs of the sport. Now the PSL in South Africa is reported to be using what is called the Carling Black Label Cup as one where the football authorities have a say in which organisations to benefit from the tournament, something the football leadership in Botswana wants.
Since inception in 1995, the Kabelano Trust has donated over P2million to different charitable organisations, and the organisers’ chairman Terrence Dambe differs with those who say the local tournament has not benefitted football. “We have always been supporting football. In our last edition we gave some of our gate takings to both the BFA and the premier league and at one point we contributed to BNSC’s Re Ba Bona Ha programme. For now I cannot comment on the issue of the BFA wanting to phase it out,” Dambe told BG Sport. BFA President Tebogo Sebego would neither comment much on the issue except to say, “We have given Kabelano the green light to stage this year’s tournament. As for what happens in the coming years we will sit down to map a way forward.” Teams that will take part in this year’s event – scheduled for August 2 - are Extension Gunners, Township Rollers, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gaborone United.