Monday, 27 January 2020 15:41

FIFA snatches BFA TD

Former Botswana Football Association (BFA) Technical Director Serame Letsoaka has officially been announced the new FIFA technical consultant for the South and East African regions.

Letsoaka spoke about his imminent departure late last year but noted that he will not leave right away as he still had some wrapping up to do at BFA. The former TD is actually still in the country and will probably be at the Association for the next six months or so before he leaves for good.

BFA Chief Executive Officer Mfolo Mfolo confirmed the appointment of Letsoaka at FIFA saying he is a hard working man and it was only a matter of time before he rises up to higher places. “He is bigger than any federation and we are not shocked about this. It was long coming, all that we are grateful for is the time he sacrificed heading our technical team,” he said.

Serame is the man who the BFA applauds for breathing life into coach education locally. He was appointed TD back in 2018 on a three-year term. Mfolo mentions that coach education had collapsed before Serame’s arrival however, the man ensured that there were coaching courses conducted for CAF A and B and all groups that underwent training are now waiting assessment.

He was also instrumental in pushing the youth programmes in regions together with the rise of women football. Nonetheless, Mfolo remained cagey about the already vacant TD position saying it was a bit too early to speak about any appointments.“There are processes to be followed so I will not comment on that for now,” he said.

He however, mentioned that German expert Carolin Braun will temporarily be assisting the technical department. Mfolo expressed confidence in that the lady has progressed well and most likely to fit well into association structures. Meanwhile, it is expected that whoever will be appointed has big shoes to fill given the reputation and impact Serame had at the association. It is not clear if considering a local will be an option. It is alleged that before the appointment of Serame, the BFA believed that no local was skilled enough to lead the four-year programme that the BFA had embarked on.

Serame also had, during his time at the top, believed that Batswana should relax and be willing to learn He always argued that there was no point in complaining over foreigners being hired when they bring a lot of expertise to Botswana.“They should learn and be able to run things in their own country instead of always crying when there are no results coming their way,” he had advised.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 14 August 2019 11:51

BFA struggles with financial reports

Botswana Football Association (BFA) will not present a complete audited financial report to members at the upcoming Annual General Assembly (AGA) to be held in Gaborone this coming weekend, BG Sport can confirm.

If anything, a draft report may be issued instead. This is the second year in succession that the association would have failed to produce the report well in time.  The 2017 and 2018 audited reports were only presented at an Extra Ordinary Meeting that the BFA convened in October 2018. Disgruntled BFA members this week confirmed that they have received official notification regarding the AGA from the association without financial reports in the information pack.

This is despite the constitution saying formal communication should be made seven days before the date of the General Assembly. The notification should contain the agenda, the president’s activity report, the financial statements and the auditors report together with any other relevant documents.

This has left disgruntled members believing that it has become custom for the association not to produce the report.  Moreover, they allege that tempers flew at Lekidi offices this week with members of the National Executive Committee said to be unpleased. Without holding anything back, the members sharply pointed a finger at the BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo, the accounting officer, saying he better have answers as to why things are seemingly going astray.

It appears the members are not at all pleased with the CEO as they added that since Mfolo joined BFA back in 2017, his team has not been able to furnish the members with the financial reports in time. In response, Mfolo admitted that the auditing process was still ongoing but did not take blame for it. “It was an issue of regions sending incomplete information and this has largely caused audit delays,” he said. The CEO explained that in the past, only the BFA office report was compiled however they now have to include reports for all the 17 regions, Botswana Premier League and women football, among others.

“It is not an excuse however we also need them to do their part to ensure that the process is completed well on time. This should not call for any worry as we intend to normalize the matter going forward,” Mfolo said.  He assured that they would be taking action against those that submit required information after much pushing. Mfolo noted to convene an Extra Ordinary Meeting is costly and has to be avoided. They are however headed that way. Meanwhile, there is overwhelming fear that should BFA continue failing to produce the reports on time, it will only worsen things with the already strained relationship between BFA and the Ministry of Sports.

Minister Tshekedi Khama recently said he will be keeping a close eye at BFA and it was alleged that he even demanded access to the association’s audited reports. It was alleged that the Minister was a concerned man in that millions were splashed at BFA with results not showing.

The international football governing body, FIFA is also probably paying attention to details and might not take lightly to BFA failing to produce audited reports on time. In a recent interview with BG Sport, BFA president Maclean Letshwiti said nobody was safe before FIFA. The governing body is reportedly busy doing a clean up campaign and will not take light issues that suggesting maladministration. Nevertheless, Mfolo hinted that they would be submitting a report to FIFA next month. 

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 26 February 2019 12:13

Black Peril taunts big prey

Black Peril made a blazing debut in their first game in the eagerly anticipated Orange FA Cup. After beating Mogoditshane Fighters 5-1 at Tlokweng VDC Grounds, the Tlokweng outfit or Mochacho as they are known, have sent a stern and chilling warning to their future opponents in the knockout   tournament. In their second-round game, the team is expected to prove their mettle against a premier league team.

“We came prepared because this team had beaten us in the league last week. I was hoping for a brace and a hat trick was a bonus. I plan to be the top goal scorer of the tournament. I came   from Notwane where I did not get enough game time, which is the reason I came here,” said Mosha Tlhaolang. The player, who is already in the running for top goal scorer after his performance, made it clear he was not eyeing the big prize. 

“This is my second game, I came here to help the team”
 For his part Mochacho Assistant Coach, David Mfolwe said, “This game was a grudge match, we played against these guys last weekend in a league game and we told ourselves that we cannot be beaten twice and we also wanted to proceed to the quarter finals. Mosha does have a chance of fighting for the top goal scorer honours after scoring the hat trick.” Mfolwe said the player is currently on loan from Notwane FC where he was not given a chance to play.” If you look at this cup you can score seven goals and win the prize.  If he scores two goals in the next game, he will be in the contention.”

Going forward, Mfolwe says they are hoping to face a Premier league team because we are really ready. “We have been training for this tournament for a while. We are currently fourth on the log and only four points behind the log leaders.” For his part, Muchachos headcoach Kaelo ‘Wire’ Kaelo said, “We are enjoying ourselves, and against a bigger team no one will expect us to win but it will be a good thing to pit my boys against a Premier league team.” Kaelo said the atmosphere is great and both Orange and the premier league should be congratulated.

In a post-match interview, Botswana Football Association Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo said the opening FA cup games have been a success, adding that the atmosphere is vibrant and people are relaxed. “For sponsors, there has been commercial value, people are making calls to check the results and the sponsor is gaining mileage,” he said.

“I have just received a call from Mmankgodi, there were 800 tickets printed and I have just been told that they have sold out. We expected the same from Hukuntsi. I did not expect this, every time I go and watch the premier league it’s a sizeable number of people that   come to the ground so I am overwhelmed by this.”

Mfolo said this was the first time he attended regional football games. “Going forward I think we can improve as far as managing crowds. I stayed about 15 minutes outside while I was trying to get in. All other   aspects   are at an average level where there is room for improvement.”

Published in Sports
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
Monday, 22 October 2018 11:01

Baboneng yet to pay BFA

Baboneng Film Production is yet to pay Botswana Football Association (BFA) the agreed P1.5 million for the airing of live Debswana National First Division (DNFD)games.BFA and Baboneng recently announced a five-year P9 million broadcasting deal ahead of the 2018/19 season earlier this year.

Some of the terms of the deal were that the local production company would pay the BFA P1.5million per season for the first two years, while the last three will be worth P2million per season.Baboneng has been given sole rights to TV, radio, print and Internet content as well as the branding of stadium during matches. However, BG Sport this week learnt that the football Association is still waiting for payment.

The first games of the 2018/19 season were beamed live on television through Maru TV, this past weekend. It was for very first time in history that First division games were broadcast live on television.This week, BFA Chief Executive Officer Mfolo Mfolo had nothing but praises for Baboneng, “We were mightily impressed by Baboneng, they did very well, everything went according to plan, we are happy,” he said.

Quizzed on whether Baboneng had already paid or not, Mfolo revealed that they are waiting for the money and hopefully Baboneng Productions will pay by next week. Baboneng CEO, Kesebonye Seabelo refrained from commenting on the matter saying they are still sorting the issue at management, “It is a controversial matter, I will not want to discuss it now,” he said.

Nevertheless, local radio station, Duma Fm did not broadcast the games as expected, “We are still discussing the matter, apparently the Duma FM board is not happy with the deal, however we had already signed a contract,” Seabelo said. He explained that they are yet to meet with Duma FM to resolve the matter. 

Meanwhile, Seabelo said that production wise, everything went well this past weekend when they broadcasted a game between TAFIC and Great North Tigers in Francistown. “Everything was well arranged, we did not face any difficulty, we even gave BTV the feed and they will also air the games,” he said.

The Baboneng boss said they have reached an agreement with Botswana Television in which they will always avail the feed to them for broadcast. Baboneng are expected to cover 90 BTC Premiership league games.“We are working on the contract with BTV and we will soon be covering the elite games too,” he said. Seabelo went on to explain that they also live stream on Tysflo, a free application downloaded from Google play store.

Published in Sports

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Officers this week completed investigations and handed over to the Director of Prosecution the file of two employees of Botswana Football Association (BFA) Secretariat accused of embezzling the association funds
Speaking to BG Sport, Deputy Public Relations Officer of Botswana Police Senior Superintendant, Near Bagali, confirmed the investigations have been completed, and the case will be submitted to DPP to assess evidence and decision making on whether to prosecute or not.

He further confirmed that the two   were investigated on a case of stealing by servant involving money over P600, 000. But he refused to name the names of the suspects saying that, “I can not divulge the names before they appear for mention in court.
BG Sport investigation established that the two officers – Stephen Maleka and Odirile Daka - allegedly embezzled the funds between April 2017 and January 2018 by way of transferring money originally destined to settle bills with at least 34 service providers, into their respective personal accounts are accused of embezzling funds amounting to over P608.532.40.

The investigation was started  by the CID Officers of Central Police Station whose jurisdiction covers Lekidi Centre- the BFA headquarters - officially reported to them in by BFA Chief Executive Office, Mfolo Mfolo.

Botswana Guardian has learnt that the investigations were complicated as at some stage files containing FIFA payments to BFA in the last quarter of 2017 have allegedly disappeared from custody, hitherto, believed as safe and secure. Information reaching this publication early this year indicated that Maleka allegedly transferred into his account a total sum of P347, 541, 73 which was supposed to pay bills for 17 service providers between 11 April 2017 and 15 December 2017.

Some of the service providers that were to be paid included Adonsonia Hotel (P52, 810); Nationwide Travel (P41, 000); Lipro Executive Catering (P44, 035, 60); Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (P112, 419, 48) and Botswana Power Corporation (P 20, 219, 92) and Village Health Pharmacy (P32, 279, 15).

Daka on the other hand allegedly deposited into his account a total sum of P260.990.67 between 8 March 2017 and 12 January 2017, which money was meant to settle bills with 17 service providers as per documentation prepared and authorised by the BFA Secretariat.

Among these service providers were Cresta Mahalapye (P15, 476, 50); Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (P23, 700, 74); Spring Travel (P44, 500, 00): Tlotlo Conference (P8, 355, 00):  Emergency Assist (P6, 720, 00): and Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (P15, 840, 00).

 Preliminary investigations suggest that this is just a tip of the iceberg with fears that the two may have either been aided or connived with their supervisors to accomplish their mission.
For example, one of the two officers was already serving suspension after the employer discovered that he was living beyond his means.

While he earns a monthly salary of P13, 130 -00, the officer in question was able to comfortably service two loans – he was paying a monthly instalment of P13, 154, 88 with one financial services (name withheld) and another monthly instalment of P10, 227, 98 with another financial service provider ( also name withheld). The modus operandi was such that come every month end, the officer would deposit a certain amount of money into the BFA account and the atter (BFA) would service his account debt with the financial institutions (names withheld).

It is suspected that the loans were secured a long time ago, which begs the question, how this employee managed to evade BFA’s Financial Regulations and Principles.
Another gaping question is how did this employee secure confirmation of employment letter and who wrote it to convince the financial institutions to approve the loans.

Botswana Guardian investigation has established that although for now this could not be associated with the officers, files containing documents on how FIFA has been paying money to Lekidi- Botswana Football Association headquarters - have mysteriously disappeared. The said files are for payments made in the three consecutive months of October, November and December 2017.

Published in Sports

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