Tuesday, 22 January 2019 16:19

BFA ropes in German football expert

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is expecting a German football expert to come and assist with some of their structures next month. The expert who is reported to be a doctor in Sports Science is expected to assist the BFA in football development and women’s structures.

This week the BFA Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo said the female German expert who will reside in Botswana for four years will arrive in mid-February. “The expert will stay and work in Botswana following an agreement between the German Olympic Committee and the BFA. She is expected to focus on coach education and talent identification,” Mfolo said. 

The BFA boss further explained that they had made a proposal through the Botswana Olympic Committee. Mfolo said the expert will arrive at the right time as they are in the process of resuscitating women’s football. “FIFA is coming for the Women’s Football Strategy workshop in February.” Mfolo said the BFA will be responsible for providing housing and local transport for the German expert.

Almost two years ago German Football development expert Christoph Rocholl was tasked with coming up with a model of structural development of football talent from the grass roots in the country. Some of Rochel’s findings include the despaired state of local football pitches and lack of infrastructure. The expert further said football education was severely lacking in the country. In conclusion, Rocholl recommended an expert to come and assist in local football structures.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 15 January 2019 10:53

Broadcasting deal yet to materialise

The 9 million pula broadcasting deal between Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Baboneng Film Productions seems to be a pie in the sky. It has been a good six months since the five- year- deal was announced, however Debswana First Division games are yet to beam live on television.

Baboneng Productions was given Television, radio, print and Internet rights as well as the branding of stadium during matches. Nevertheless, not a single game was broadcast on radio and only one match was televised on Maru TV. The deal was that at the start of the 2018/2019 season, games were to be broadcasted live on Maru TV, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development’s (MYSEC) NOWtv and Local radio station Duma FM.

In fact, BG Sport has learnt that the BFA deal has been revised to involve the airing of the premier league games too. According to reliable reports Baboneng was to work hand in hand with Botswana Television to make the dream a success. A contract between the two parties has already been drawn up.

Things have been stagnant with the biggest monster in the room being insufficient funds. Baboneng was to pay BFA P1.5 million and each team to receive a P50 000 grant at the start of the season.
The BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo confirmed in an interview this week that they are still waiting for the money. Mfolo noted that it appears the company is still experiencing financial difficulties as things might have not turned out as expected with the financier.

“They have not paid yet, however they are in constant communication with us and hopefully a solution will be found in the near future,” he said.The BFA CEO noted that it was a bit disappointing that the deal has not rolled into action as planned, saying they saw a future in it. It would have been history in the making if the games were to beam live on TV.

Quizzed on whether they were not quick to put pen to paper, Mfolo said that the proposal was convincing enough. He added that they will be monitoring the situation closely and want to give the company a fair chance to prove their mettle. “The content they produced during the 2018 Charity Cup was top notch and of high quality, however if all fails, then we will consider the exit clause,” Mfolo said.

Programmes Manager at DUMA FM, Donald Seberane said that they will only broadcast the games if they find a sponsor. He explained that the cost of broadcasting the 65 games stands at P 3 million. An amount the company cannot afford at the moment.
Spokesperson at MYSEC, Thobo Tlhasana said that they have the funds to broadcast the games, however they still have engineering issues. “I am not sure when the games will start airing live on NOWtv,” he said.

As for Baboneng CEO, Kesebonye Seabelo, he remains confident that come high or low, he will live up to his promises. “Whether the heavens are blue or black the proposal I gave BFA still stands and we will not disappoint,” he said. He is confident by the end of February 2019 things will start looking up.

He revealed that most sponsors including Debswana mining Company and Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) would be fully onboard this year. “They had already exhausted their funds and we suffered a setback on funds. It costs about P138 000 per game and the relationship between us and BTV will enable us to save costs as we will produce more than one game in a day,” he said, adding that it is not a one man show as he is working with all the stakeholders, including BFA to find sponsors.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 15 January 2019 10:24

Transfer window blurred by clubs’ debts

The first week of the second registration, transfer and loaning of players for the 2018/2019-football season has seen only two clubs seeking clearance letters from the club Licensing First Instance Body (FIB). This is in light of Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s conditions that no premier league club with overdue payables such as employee remunerations and tax levies will be allowed to register new players.

The directive was effected this year and is to be implemented during the ongoing registration window that opened doors this past Wednesday.According to the FIB Secretary General, James Setete who spoke to BG Sport in an interview this week, only two clubs which he felt uncomfortable to mention by name, had declared that they have no overdue payables and the FIB Committee is still processing their submissions. 

Setete noted that they have a few check areas that they follow to ensure that indeed the team can be cleared to sign new players. The bold decisions taken by the BFA in conjunction with Botswana Premier League (BPL) is to ensure that clubs do not sign players while they still owe a significant number of their players. This has in the recent past come back to haunt the elite league with the games being disrupted on several occasions. Players would strike or abandon matches altogether decrying that they have not been paid their dues.

The identified weakness has been that teams often overspend, with players’ salaries alleged to be escalating to P30 000 per month, a player.  The BPL CEO Thabo Styles Ntshinogang has also on many occasions advised that teams should cut their cloth according to size. Saying it was not wise for teams to focus on signing a player that the club cannot afford to pay. The tendency had left many clubs near bankruptcy and sinking deep in debt.

Meanwhile, Setete has warned that even though it is still in the early days, and not certain how many teams are actually interested in signing new players, clubs should refrain from false declaration during the transfer window.  He explained that should teams be tempted and somehow try to cheat the system, they might land in trouble.

Depending on the extent of the offence, a team might get off with a warning, a fine not exceeding P10 000 or even demotion to lower structures in the worst -case scenarios. Meanwhile, the first game in 2019, following the festive break is a match against Orapa United and Prisons XI today at Itekeng Stadium

Published in Sports

Bafanas Football team are the champions of the 4th Motang Tlou Soccer Challenge held in Goodhope last month. Bafanas defeated Young Bucks 2-1 in a thrilling encounter that pulled a huge crowd from all corners of Barolong Farms.
For their efforts, Bafanas managed to pocket P7, 500 and a floating trophy.

This week the event organisers said the annual tournament lived to its real promise and started in earnest on the 26th December 2018, adding to the norm and known traditional choirs associated with festivities in Barolong. The eight teams that competed in the festive tournament included Flying Squad-Goodhope, Dangerous Darkies-Pitsane, Mmutlanyana Iphare- Ramatlabama, YoungBucks-Cwaanyaneng, Gamokoto Young Zebras-Gamokoto, Tswagare United-Tswagare, Maranatha Kicks-Pitsane, Bafanas- Ramatlabama in the same order. The organisers emphasize that the aim of the tourney is to give people a variety of entertainment during the festive season as well as showcase the talent that exists in the region. This was a different kind of tournament as it used technology platforms in its marketing and publicity.

The SMS campaign was an exciting initiative which received well over 23,000 votes for its maiden entry with over 40 teams participating across the length and breadth of Barolong Farms. Facebook was the ultimate tool used for regular and timely updates about the tournament.  Top of the pack was a team from Goodhope, Flying Squad which beat Dangerous Darkies from Pitsane by 19 votes on the last day of voting. Dangerous Darkies had led the votes for long periods until the last date. Flying Squad did not come as a surprise to some as they were still the 2016 defending champions and wanted to show who the real kings of the soccer challenge were and the only host team from Good hope. 

The tournament was community involving as some teams went to the extent of asking old people to vote for them with their last ten pula. It was not surprising to realise what it meant for some to have made it to the top 8. To make the event colorful and fun, Young Bucks, Mmutlanyana Iphare and Bafanas brought in their supporters with their choirs. Mmutlanyana went a step further with a composition of a song in appreciation of the tournament sponsor “A ruri leboleletse Motang ka setlhopha, go re Mmutla o a betsa, go utlwala” Mmutlanyane Iphare from Ramatlabama were the fans favourite from the onset, perhaps due to their unique name. The name resonated well with the old folks as it was one of the most feared back in the days, especially when pitted against the likes of Young Stars of Ramatlabama.

The very first game ended in a thrashing of Flying Squad by Young Bucks 4-0. Flying Squad was distraught after the humiliating defeat but admitted to have met a well prepared and determined side.  The other games were more balanced with cautious approach from the teams after watching the first game which was more open with a lot of goals. Gamokoto Young Zebras was defeated 1-0 by Tswagare United in the second game. The third game Mmutlanyana Iphare played to a goalless draw with Dangerous Darkies but Mmutlanyana proceeded to win 4-3 on penalties.

The last game of the day, Bafanas won 1-0 beating Maranatha Kicks.  The first semifinal was played the following day and pitted Young Bucks against Tswagare United in a rain-soaked match; the game was suspended for a few hours before it was resumed only for Young Bucks to win it 2-0. The second semifinal was moved to the next day between Mmutlanyana Iphare and Bafanas, which ended in a goalless draw and Bafanas went on to win 5-4 on penalties. The final game brought Goodhope to a standstill. It lived to its expectation as supporters were treated to scintillating football where two teams went for each other in an entertaining encounter. The book makers could not tell where the game was going as both team played attacking football, exercising caution and high defensive discipline.

The award ceremony included the Chief representative of Barolong Botiki Motshegare and Minister of Minerals Resource, Green Technology and Energy Security, Eric Molale as guests. The Chief Organiser, Kennedy Motang was more than elated with a well-organized event. He promised a bigger and better tournament for 2019 to celebrate the tournament’s 5th anniversary. Motang assured a significant improvement in the prize money for this year’s event. “People were already enquiring about when the voting lines for the 5th edition even before the ball was kicked for the 4th edition, this is the level of interest that has been created around the tournament,” Motang said.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 20 December 2018 13:33

Alleged bidding war for Zapata thickens

Three business tycoons, Gaborone United sponsor Nicholas Zakhem, President of Township Rollers Jagdish Shah and Botswana Football Association (BFA) President Maclean Letshwiti are allegedly after Rodolfo Zapata’s coaching services, BG Sport has learnt.

From a distance, it might seem that Shah has beaten all to the chase as Zapata put pen to paper at Rollers last month, however fresh information reaching this publication suggests that the race for Zapata’s attention is pretty much ongoing.In fact, according to those paying close attention to the developments, it is alleged that even Zapata himself is torn between the three gentlemen. Zapata is yet to officially start work at Rollers, with a pending work permit, however reliable anonymous sources have recently linked him with BFA, saying he might land the job as the next Zebras coach. 

Letshwiti and Zapata are said to be the best of buddies. Letshwiti is alleged to be one of those admiring Zapata’s coaching abilities. Nevertheless, BFA has since denied any interest in Zapata and maintains that they will not be releasing the current coach Major David Bright anytime soon.

As for Zakhem, who only returned to GU this year following a fallout with Moyagoleele in 2016, has evidently enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Zapata. This was out for all to see back in the days when Zapata was still GU coach. Actually, things began souring for Zapata once Zakhem decided to pull out; the Argentine coach tried to soldier on until he finally decided to resign and took up a job in Kenya early this year. Now with Zakhem back at GU and Zapata back in the country, it is alleged that Zakhem would love nothing more than GU to reunite with Zapata.

It is further alleged that it was Zakhem who spearheaded the idea of stalling to cancel Zapata' s working permit with GU to prevent him from starting work at Rollers. GU finally wrote the release letter after a good month of waiting. Zakhem said that it should be known that Zapata is contracted to Rollers and as for GU, they are happy with Makwengwe. However, he noted that the coach’s contract ends this season and they might consider extending it. “We have a good coach in Phillimon Makwengwe and we are happy with his performance,” Zakhem said this week in an interview. 

Shah was reported to be the man envying the services of Zapata long before the coach took the Kenya job. By then, Rollers was still under the watchful eye of Coach Nikola Kavazovic. Rollers was alleged to be already looking for a replacement in Zapata if Kavazovic ever decided to leave. When Kavazovic finally left, Rollers swiftly moved to bring Zapata back to Botswana.
It is alleged that Shah even paid for Zapata’s flights to Botswana. It might devastate him should the Argentine coach decides to abandon Rollers for either BFA or GU.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 14:47

Bright's job on the line

According to fresh information coming out of Botswana Football Association (BFA) this week, the Association is busy looking for a perfect replacement for the senior national team head coach, David Bright who might be sacked anytime soon. BFA spokesperson, Tumo Mpatane has however, laughed off the matter when reached this week, “We are not talking to Zapata, that is false, we have a contract with Bright and not looking for a coach,” he said.

In fact, BG Sport has been reliably informed that one of the candidates that have caught the attention of BFA is Township Rollers Head Coach, Rodolfo Zapata.Nevertheless the Argentine , who is yet to start his work at Rollers, is said to be currently in talks with BFA. According to a source that preferred anonymity at BFA, the Association has lost all the trust in the current coach and will move swiftly to replace him. Performance is dwindling at Zebras and it is totally going against what the BFA had been promising to deliver in recent years.

Bright was appointed as the senior team head coach last year on a three year contract basis. His charges were recently tossed out of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers and according to FIFA rankings, Botswana is currently at position 145.Nevertheless, Bright was addressed as ‘ancient’ by one influential official at BFA when asked what the future holds for the senior team head coach. “We have so much to deal with at the moment, that one is ancient,” the official said.

Zapata who seems to be a man in demand signed a contract with Rollers a month back which according to unconfirmed allegations, runs till 2019. However, he has not resumed work yet as his work permit is said to be pending at the Department of Immigration. On the other side, his former Club Gaborone United (GU) is alleged to have finally made contact with the coach in recent developments asking him to return to GU and complete what he had started before resigning early this year.

GU is alleged to be deliberately sabotaging the deal between Rollers and Zapata by stalling to cancel the work permit,they ( GU) had with Zapata. The GU permit is expected to expire in June 2019. This has since brought matters to a total stand still with Zapata not able to begin his duties at Rollers.

Now as it stands, the decision solely lies with the Argentine coach, GU is reported to be owing him over P300 000 but with the team having reunited with sponsor Nicholas Zackhem, anything is possible. Also this publication can confirm that during his troubled days at GU, Zapata hinted that he admired coaching Rollers, a job he now holds.

He also jokingly said he would not mind coaching the Zebras at one point, now that might just turn out to reality too. The move to the Zebras would not be so far- fetched considering that Zapata mentored some of the current national team squad while at GU. The likes of Mpho Kgaswane, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Alphonse Modisaotsile and Tumisang Orebonye.

BFA has of recent been reinforcing measures and focusing more energy on youth development, the mandate goes in line with the language that Zapata is known for; focusing more on grooming youngsters than relying more on senior players. BG Sport failed to get any response from Zapata as the coach could not respond to all messages sent to him and efforts made to reach him. However he had at an earlier stage said that he was in no position to discuss anything even his contract with Rollers.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 12:27

Regions applaud return of the FA Cup

Nhabe Regional Football Association (NRFA) Chairman, Norman Sebele and Kweneng Regional Football Association (KRFA) Secretary Patrick Lesotlho have applauded the much-awaited and prestigious Orange FA Cup, which they believe will improve the state of football in the country.

Orange FA Cup spectacle was launched last week after six years of recess. Orange has sponsored the tournament with a whopping P12.6 Million for the next three years. The Champions of the tourney will amass P700 000.00 while the runners-up will get P350 000.00, and the semi-finalists will receive P150 000.00 apiece.

The quarter-finalists will be given P60 000.00, and those that reach the last 16 round will get P25 000.00 and the ones toppled at first and second round will get P5 000.00 and P10 000.00 respectively. In a brief interview with BG Sport this week, Sebele said he is exultant about this new development to local football, “It has been a long time without this tournament, in our region we will be represented by two teams, one from Botswana Telecommunications (BTC) Premiership league Sankoyo Bush Bucks and the winner at our Regional league Maun United Terrors,” he said.

Quizzed about the costs that will be incurred when moving around the country as per the fixtures schedule, he said; “The issue about money is difficult, thus we will sit and discuss how we can help each other for the matches to be eventually played because we really have to play these games, who knows, maybe we will get lucky and emerge victorious in the end,” said Sebele.

For his part, Lesotlho  expressed worry that there has not been enough coverage of the regional league. “The regional leagues have not been receiving enough courage of late but the return of the much anticipated Orange FA Cup will bring back that element. Furthermore, I am really happy about this and cheering for Masitaoka Football Club, which will be representing us,” explained Lesotlho.

According to Lesotlho, Majatlhaga as the team is popularly known is ready to rub shoulders with the big boys, “Masitaoka FC have been doing well; they are currently leading the log as we speak and we are optimistic that they will make our region proud by going all the way to win this trophy,” he said.

On the other hand, Botswana Football Association (BFA) Media Liaison, Tumo Mpatane told BG Sport recently that; “All the teams will be given subsidiary money believed to be in the region of P5000.00 to help themselves with all the logistics, it is not enough but it is better than nothing as the clubs will be able to cover some of the costs,” he said.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 12:16

Sponsorship windfall for BFA in 2018

Botswana Football Association (BFA) had a good year in 2018 as the Association received millions in sponsorships and donation deals. The money believed  to have been  received  by the  Association  hovers in the region of P35m for one season.

Local supermarket Choppies announced a P 3.7 million hospitality deal with BFA back in February. The Choppies sponsorship was meant to assist the national youth male development teams and will be used in a period of three years. 
On the 3rd of December, BFA pocketed a gallant P12.6 million from Orange Botswana and another impressive P 3 million from First National bank Botswana (FNBB) rolled into BFA coffers exactly three days later. Both sponsorships are also set to be used in a period of three years.

Still on that, a month back, XL Skyways also came forward with a P 750 000 donation specifically to be channelled towards youth development and women’s league, the funds will also be used in a period of three years, (P250 000 per season).
The 2018 signed deals by BFA add to the existing three- year P39 Million (P13 million per season) BTC Premiership league sponsorship and the P 3 million of pre- season tournament, the BTC Charity Cup (P1 million per season).  There is also the Mascom Top 8 tournament sponsored by Mascom Wireless which splashed P 16 million towards the games, also to be used in a period of three years    (P5.3 million for season 8).

In addition, the umbrella sports  body being the  Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) also dishes out P 10 million to BFA, although the grant was reduced to 7 million for the year 2018. There are also grants from the International football governing body (FIFA).

Undoubtedly, BFA remains the biggest financially supported code in Botswana and according to the Association, a chunk of the received funds is for development purposes. Currently the national team is ranked 145 according to FIFA rankings. Botswana recently bowed out of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, both the senior and junior team. At the on -going African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Gaborone 2018 youth games, Botswana boys won against Namibia but lost to Eswatini and drew with Zambia. However all was not enough for the boys and they bowed out of the competition on goal rule.

The girls drew against Malawi, walloped Zimbabwe and went on to be humiliated by Lesotho with a 6-0 defeat. It remains to be seen if performance will change in terms of play anytime soon during the Maclean Letshwiti regime. Letshwiti, when ascending to the BFA presidency, promised that he will make a turnaround at the association and it seems they are doing well in the sponsorship end.

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The 4thAnnual Motang Tlou Soccer Challenge will return to Barolong Farms from 26th until 28th December. This year the format has been more inclusive as all teams in the Barolong area have been given an equal and fair chance of participating in what is dubbed the “Barolong Premier Top 8 Soccer Tournament”.

The finals of the tournament are expected to be played on the 28th December 2018 in Good Hope. The format is a knockout tournament played in 3 days where the winner will receive  P7500.00 in prize money, a floating trophy and 20 gold medals for the team and its technical staff.

Other teams are expected to get consolation prizes as per the stage they have reached in the tournament. One of the tournament organisers Kennedy Motang said: “In this year’s tournament the organisers have introduced an SMS voting line through the support of VIB Mobile where an average of 42 teams in the entire Barolong region have fiercely participated.”

Motang said voting lines are expected to close this Sunday at midnight, adding that tournament organisers are expecting the SMS voting campaign to help in raising funds to pay for a few of the administrative costs. “The Top 8 teams will then be finalized after counting verifications have been done.” The tournament is the passionate Motang’s initiative to provide soccer entertainment during the festive season in the Barolong Farms region.

“The options were not there for Barolong as the only entertainment available has been traditional choirs. Motang said the tournament was first launched in 2014 and was sponsored from his own pocket.” It was way of giving back to the community and nurture talent that exists in the Barolong area. His love for football dates back to when he was young and a staunch supporter of Township Rollers, Kaizer Chiefs and Arsenal. 

Motang explained that he has experience in marketing local football and this has come in handy when organising the tournament. “I want to help identify talent and see it playing in the elite leagues of Botswana and possibly outside the country.” This year a few friends have begun to see the good in this initiative and expressed interest in assisting through any form or means.

Meanwhile Motang said they would have wished to invite South African football legend Doctor Khumalo as a guest during the finals but budgetary constraints could not allow.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 11 December 2018 11:08

Zapata hangs in limbo

There seems to be more to Rodolfo Zapata’s Township Rollers appointment as new coach than meets the eye. The uncertainty of when the newly appointed coach will finally take over the reins at Mapalastina is dragging longer than anticipated.

Zapata was announced as Rollers coach two months back but his permit is said to be pending up to now. He was roped in at Rollers following the abrupt departure of coach Nikola Kavazovic from the club. The Rollers management is adamant that the only thing delaying is Zapata’s work permit from the Department of Immigration, however issues surrounding Zapata’s appointment have been sketchy, with the team careful enough not to reveal much.

However, an insider at Rollers has informed BG Sport that the contract signed by Zapata and Rollers is for a short period of time, perhaps less than a year. Now with things still stuck in limbo, there is no telling what might happen, an extension, possibly? A few weeks after Zapata was announced as the new Rollers coach, allegations surfaced that Zapata’s former team, Gaborone United prior to leaving for Kenya, was determined to make life difficult for the Argentine’s stay at Rollers.

Nevertheless, GU Chairman Boitumelo Nsunge has since laughed off the matter saying they want nothing to do with Zapata and Rollers officials should find better ways of handling their matters and not drag their name in the mud. Contrary to Nsunge’s claims, this publication is reliably informed by a source at Rollers that the team has recently written a letter to GU. Allegations are that GU management is said to be still holding tight to Zapata’s working permit that was bound to expire next year. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that even the Immigration office is finding it hard to issue another permit to Zapata as his GU permit is still active.

It is not clear how the whole saga will end however Rollers General Manager Sydney Magagane is said to be busy at work, regarding the contract that Zapata had with GU. Magagane, a man well- known to be the master mind when it comes to play rules and regulations might just be Rollers’s ticket out of the current mess.

“There is no other reason (for the delay) than waiting for the Immigration to complete its work; GU has never made contact with us,” Rollers Spokesperson Bafana Pheto said this week. When reached, Zapata also said that he was waiting for his permit and refused to comment further on the matter, saying he was in no position to divulge any information at the moment. It remains to be seen how all will pan out, but GU is still owing Zapata over P300 000, and that could be one of the reasons that saw him abandon the team in the first place.

Published in Sports

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