Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Mclean Letshwiti this week refuted allegations that he snubbed the well-publicised COSAFA and ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa’s high profile birthday party.
The party recently held in Harare, Zimbabwe made international headlines as FIFA president Gianni Infantino attended it. The FIFA president visited the region at a time when COSAFA is mobilising to take over the leadership of CAF from long-time president Issa Hayatou of Cameroon.
This week Letshwiti said he had planned to attend the party on 24th February as there was a meeting planned. Instead the party was held on 25th February. “I was supposed to get into a 7pm flight to Harare, for one reason or the other the FIFA president had a change of schedule so the date had to be quickly changed” Letshwiti said.
“Football does not pay my bills. I had two crucial business meetings here in the morning and in the afternoon. The intention was that immediately after those meetings I am booked on a flight to Harare.” Letshwiti said it was difficult to rearrange his schedule after the FIFA president made other arrangements. “Infantino is not just an ordinary individual, there is budget, security and logistics to consider before his travel. Nevertheless, the COSAFA President did not travel to Gabon but I managed to do so and I personally addressed presidents of all COSAFA FAs while I was there,” said the self-styled football administrator.
In other matters, Letshwiti said former BFA president David Fani who served as COSAFA additional member was recently voted out during the last elections. “COSAFA has recently resolved to vote only presidents of associations into the executive committee. It was not that we were against him. It was a collective decision taken by presidents of COSAFA member associations.”
Moreover, Letshwiti endorsed Madagascan FA president Ahmed for CAF president, since the regional block has stated its position to challenge for the presidency in the eagerly anticipated CAF elections later this year. The BFA president said his role in the new regional bloc is that of strategist, which includes being a uniting force for COSAFA.“I am the driving force, the strategist, I keep the group together”, said BFA President.
Nevertheless, the shrewd businessman conceded that COSAFA leaders were disappointed after he could not make it to Harare. However, Letshwiti revealed that Infantino has invited him to Zurich and he is yet to fulfil this request. “I still owe him a visit.” The BFA president said he has not yet proposed a date to visit Zurich because he is busy. “Go and write what I said not what you think,” a rhetorical Letshwiti said in his trademark parting shot
The International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG), in partnership with local football giants Township Rollers FC aim to register over 20 000 people in the HEFORSHE campaign programme by the 25th March.
HEFORSHE is a United Nations (UN) campaign programme that was launched in Botswana late 2015 to advocate for gender equality in sports. To achieve the 20 000 target, Rollers and the South Africa’s premier league outfit, Platinum Stars will clash at the National Stadium in Gaborone on the 25th March.Speaking at the partnership launch this week, IWG Secretary General Game Mothibi said the time has come for Botswana to start taking responsibility and discuss gender issues in sports openly. Mothibi explained that there are more pressing issues relating to gender issues in sports.
“We have to address matters such as violence in both men and women, women welfare in sports and try to do away with sexual harassment in sports.” There will also be a workshop on March 20th for both male and female Township Rollers players, to bring them on-board and make them ambassadors of the campaign.She said the programme had only 86 participants when they took it over from Home Affairs but it has since grown and currently has 2036 signatories. Mothibi is confident that their vision will be realised and pleaded with the community to support the cause.
“Gates will be opened from 10 am on the day and there will also be a ladies’ game, between Rollers and Gaborone United at 2pm while the big game will be played at 7pm. Mothibi said they expect local artists Vee Mampeezy and Dr Vom to keep the audience captivated throughout the day.
Tickets for the game are currently on sale. Platinum Stars president, Clifford Rammorwa said they are particularly delighted to be part of the noble cause, adding that they take gender issues with utmost seriousness in South Africa.
He promised that the whole Platinum Stars squad will be available from 24th to 26th March and they wish to continue supporting the HEFORSHE legacy in any way possible.
“We will arrange for a morning programme on the 26th March where we will be sharing skills with children, I hope most are aware that we are one of the best performing teams in South Africa, we finished third last season and I hope we will leave a positive impact in Botswana,” he said.
The Botswana leg of the 2017 Standard Chartered Road to Anfield five-aside tournament kicks off at Village suburb in Gaborone this Saturday.
This follows a draw this week where 32 local teams were divided into eight groups each consisting of four teams. The local teams are expected to play a series of knock out matches to decide the ultimate winner in the country.
The knock out tournament winners will face the best teams from neighbouring countries including Zambia and Zimbabwe from 18th to 22 March in Gaborone. The regional winners are expected to play a finals tournament at the home of English Premier league side Liverpool FC, Anfield, from the 18th -22nd of May 2017.
Head of Corporate Affairs and Brand Marketing at Standard Chartered Bank Botswana, Itumeleng Ramsden previously said the major prize for winning the regional tournament includes an all-expenses paid trip to the United Kingdom including dinner with Liverpool football legends as well as professional training sessions.
Notwane football club Chairman Chimidzani Chimidza is convinced they are on course to reclaim top club status in the country.
The new Toronto chairman said this during the launch of the club website in Gaborone earlier this week.“We have a dream to go back to the BTC Premiership, quality players are at our disposal all we need to do is play enticing football which is result orientated and with all that formula I see Notwane returning to top flight football.”Chimidza stated that Notwane was previously known for producing young talent and they seek to uphold grassroots development by re-introducing the under 12 and under 10 teams, adding that the junior teams will feed the seniors.
Moreover Chimidza said they have recently approached several companies for sponsorship “We had hoped to announce sponsorship together with the website and the official Facebook page, we want to sustain ourselves in the premier league and battle for silverware so we need monetary support.”
The team is motivated in just two years we hope to be amongst BTC Premiership clubs but this seems to be the most appropriate time for the club to aim for the premier league as the First Division South race is still within their reach. Notwane are currently sitting on the 5th spot, and only five points separate them with log leaders Sharps Electrical.
The newly launched website will be an initiative to bring together the club and supporters as the Notwane faithful will get the chance to view results through the website. The website has SMS integration, the fans can also order club merchandise through the website.
Orapa United are currently in Mbabane, Swaziland on a mission to reverse the score line against Mbabane Swallows in a 2017 CAF champions league encounter.
In fact, this is the third day that the Boteti outfit have been on camp in Mbabane ahead of their Saturday 2nd leg game against the Swaziland side. The Ostriches are trailing behind after losing 1-0 in the first leg game at the Francistown stadium. The loss at home only made the Ostriches more determined and vengeful towards their CAF opponent hence an early visit to Swaziland, nothing short of a win will satisfy Ostriches tactical headcoach Madinda Ndlovu.
The Zimbabwean coach and his charges will come after the Swazi side with all they have in a bid to make it to the next round. “I am going to Swaziland to win,” Ndlovu was quoted as saying in the press soon after losing to Swallows at the Francistown stadium last week. The Boteti outfit and reigning Mascom Top 8 champions seem to thrive against tough opposition with their famous wins against reigning BTC premiership champions Township Rollers being a prime example.
Despite the CAF encounter being the Ostriches’ first assignment outside the country, the orange and black clad outfit are more than capable of claiming the scalp of Mbabane Swallows. Ndlovu, who has quickly turned the Ostriches into perpetual giant killers, has a decent arsenal to launch a full-scale attack in Swaziland and make it to the next round of the continental showpiece.
Ndlovu will rely heavily on his strike force in a bid to secure an early goal. Upfront the Ostriches will deploy Patrick Lenyeletse, Ronald Chikomo, Lemogang Maswena and Gift Moyo. The defence will be marshalled by the robust Olekantse Mambo whose physique and agility pose a threat to opposition strikers. The Ostriches defence also includes Kealeboga Molebatsi and Lesenya Ramoroka while the goal posts will be in the trusted hands of Mosimanegape Robert.
In an interview this week, Orapa United spokesperson Tebatso Hule said the team was currently in Swaziland and that management was expected to join them on Thursday this week. “The team went to Swaziland in two batches after we could not fit them all on the same flight.
“We decided that the team should go there early and familiarise themselves with the environment. Our focus is to qualify for the second round.” Hule said adding that an away goal will be crucial on Saturday. Hule revealed that the Ostriches were bitterly disappointed after losing their home game but this time around, the technical team is familiar with Swallows. “The whole team that played the first leg will be available for the Saturday encounter.” Hule said they have made travel arrangements for supporters to travel to Swaziland for the game.
A Botswana Football Association (BFA) bred referee may soon break boundaries after she was listed among prospective officials for the 2019 FIFA women’s World cup scheduled for France. Botsalo Mosimanewatlala (34) is expected to represent Botswana at the international showpiece in just two years from now.
Mosimanewatlala is no stranger to international games after she recently officiated at the women African Cup of Nations competitions in Cameroon last year. This week, a member of the BFA referees commission, Glenda Mokokwe confirmed that Mosimanewatlala has been named among the prospective officials for the 2019 world cup in France. Mokokwe, who is also a CAF instructor said, “Botsalo is a top match official, she passes fitness tests well, she has been consistent in submitting her reports on time”.
A local female referee assessor says that women referees must undergo male fitness test before being fixtured to officiate BPL games. BFA has five female referees who have been invited to officiate at international games. Mokokwe explained that the neighbouring football authority SAFA usually invites local officials International Working Group on Women and Sport General Secretary Game Mothibi who was in the dark about Mosimanewatlala`s listing to the FIFA 2019 world cup said that the FIFA move reflects that women are progressing well as far as empowerment is concerned.
“We are really making progress regarding women empowerment. It could be at a snail’s pace but we have now joined the world and women in sport can be counted among the world class.”Meanwhile, BFA Public Relations and Marketing Officer Tumo Mpatane said they have not received any communication from FIFA concerning the 2019 World cup officials. However, Mpatane said they will get back to BG Sports as soon as they get the information. Of late local female referees have been facing challenges as the Women football league has been delayed for unknown reasons.
Mosimanewatlala and other female officials will have to rely on FND and BPL league to retain their fitness. It is not clear which criterion is used to select the 88 officials from the FIFA member associations. FIFA is keeping an eye on all continental bodies with Asian Football Confederation (AFC) providing 14, Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) 10, The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) 13, Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) 15, Oceania Football Confederation (OFA) 3, Union des Associations Européennes de Football (UEFA) 33.
BFA has recently experienced tremendous growth as far as match officiating is concerned, with the likes of Joshua Bondo who just came back from the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. BFA officials have received invitations to officiate at different CAF competitions and international friendly games. The list is endless Joshua Bondo (2007–), Lekgotla Johannes (2001–), Bolokanang Julia Lekgowe (2011–), Kutlwano Leso (2010–), Tirelo Mositwane (2013–), Omphile Phuthego (2013–) and Tshepo Mokani Gobagoba (2016–). Oamogetse Godisamang, Ketlogetswe Goitse Modimo, Meshack Medupi, Moemedi Monakwane, Kitso Sibanda, Bakwena Simankalele, Bolokang Lekgowe, Katlholo Moremi, Yvonne Letota, and Tshepiso Ramothogobeng have been assigned international games in recent years.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) factions seem to be alive and well. Four months after the Maclean Letshwiti regime vanquished their rivals, factions seem to linger at the football association.
The recent reports from Lekidi are that the new regime dubbed ‘Servants of Football’ is moving quickly to finish off the remnants of the football administrators with allegiances to the vanquished Tebogo Sebego regime. The last known members of the Sebego regime are said to be constantly looking over their shoulders. The current regime is tying loose ends especially in the BFA National Executive Committee.
Masego Nchingane, a well-known Sebego regime lieutenant is the only remaining NEC member from the ‘Friends of football’ regime. However, speculation is that the Letshwiti camp is doing all in its power to charm the loyal Nchingane into switching allegiances to their side.
Source close to the BFA said Nchingane finds himself in a peculiar situation and his future in football administration hinges on whether he switches to the Letshwiti regime or not. The Team Letshwiti insiders reveal that the former NEC additional member (women category) Suzie Montsho was allegedly forced out of her position at Lekidi. Montsho was part of the Sebego regime and her departure gave Servants of football an opportunity to co-opt their preferred candidate, Tshepo Mphoeng into the position.
The casualties are not only at Lekidi house as shockwaves of the clean-up campaign are felt in all BFA regions. One of the targets of the Servants of football is Kweneng regional chairman Loago Raditloko. The Kweneng regional chairman was known to be part of the friends of football faction led by former president Sebego.
BG Sport has it in good authority that the Letshwiti camp served Secretary General Rapula Gaotlhobogwe and first division chairman Mpezeni Sambandawe with letters of suspension pending disciplinary hearing for misconduct. However, two were not found guilty of any charges and were later reinstated.
Another target of the Servants of football is the BFA Southern region chairman Lesego Leaketsa who was allegedly pushed out of office. Leaketsa who was with Team Sebego ahead of the BFA AGA is reported to have already left office. Leaketsa was re-elected at the regional level ahead of the BFA AGM. The former chairman of Southern regional association was also a regional block representative during the previous administration. There are 17 BFA regions and four blocks around the country.
The former Southern regional chairman is the longest serving member. He was elected in 2008 and has served as BFA NEC member since 2014. Leaketsa however refuted allegations that he was pushed out, and claims he voluntarily resigned from his post. “I have commitments which keep me away from the region for quite some time, I realised that the region will suffer a lot during my absence. I tendered my resignation and due process took place for my deputy to ascend to the chairmanship,” Leaketsa said.
BTC premiership outfit Mochudi Centre Chiefs (MCC) might have struck gold with their new signing of Absolom Limbondi from Tigers FC in Namibia.
Following the conclusion of the January 2016/2017 BTC premiership transfer window this week, Magosi brought in a significant number of new faces with Limbondi seeming to attract most of the attention. The 25-year-old Limbondi comes with quite a reputation having been voted player of the season and Player’s player of the Namibian league in 2015. However, reports reveal that the Namibian league has been inactive for some time now and Magosi grabbed the opportunity to acquire one of the best country’s best Namibian players.
Magosi had a rough ride this season and with the first round coming to an end this weekend, MCC finds itself limping in the middle of the log standings. Although it’s too early to confirm, Limbondi’s arrival will give MCC coach Bongani Mafu the much-needed boost in the scoring department.
“We have signed him on a one season contract and based on his performance we shall review and decide on the way forward,” said Magosi spokesperson Clifford Mogomotsi this week. Mogomotsi explained that Limbondi arrived in Botswana a week ago and has been training with the Kgatleng outfit. However, the team is still working on the player’s paperwork.
Nevertheless, Mogomotsi confirmed that the new player would not be part of the team that will face lowly-placed Green Lovers at the Serowe Sports Complex tonight (Friday). “We have been struggling with strikers who can get the ball across the net and Limbondi seems to have exactly what we need,” a confident Mogomotsi said. Meanwhile struggling rookies, Mahalapye United Hotspurs have signed 10 new players to address their faltering fortunes.
“It is really hard when a team does not have financial investors, our players are demoralised, even the support from Mahalapye fans is shallow,” team spokesperson Boniface Disho said.
Disho decried that even though they have embarked on rigorous campaigns to find sponsors, the community response is quite disappointing. He said they normally make about P2 500 from gate takings, which is barely enough to sustain the team as they have security and players bill to take care of. Disho also expressed concern over that Botswana Premier League (BPL) grants that are often paid late.
“We are hopeful that we will survive the relegation, I just wish BPL can also up its game because this late payments hit hard on us nevertheless we are hopeful that our technical team will come through for us,” he said. In other transfer window related matters Lobatse outfit Extension Gunners managed to acquire striker Kudzani Machazani of Zimbabwe and Moatlhodi Ralesotla from Gaborone United.
Maun outfit Sankoyo Bush Bucks have signed Kabo Matlhare from Maun Tigers, Refilwe Senyane and Kediemetse Radikoko while Mankgodi’s Black Forest released Kennedy Ramasa and brought in Willington Maposa and Stanley Ngala. Nico United has about 13 new signings with the likes of Thabo Mosielele, Addmore Motswakae, Remmington Masuke and released Gift Moyo, Daniel Taboka and Tlotlo Mpema among the 13 others.
The reigning BTC premiership champions Township Rollers have reunited with defender Edwin Olerile.In addition a resurgent Gilport Lions are enjoying the services of Bobby Gattuso, Jackie Mothatego and the Kgaswane brothers being Mpho and Kaelo from Magosi.
There is more to the recent departure of Township Rollers, coach Mark Harrison than meets the eye. On the surface, it is the story of the nomadic coach finding greener pastures in South Africa at Premier Soccer League side, Baroka FC. Beneath the surface, there is suspicion that both Township Rollers and Harrison only took advantage of a long time offer at Baroka to quickly sneak the gaffer out of the country and stay clear of looming trouble with the African football governing body, CAF.
The recent resignation of a Botswana Football Association's long serving employee is also linked to what amounts to a fraud scandal that is traced to Lesotho where Harrison was dubiously awarded a CAF rated coaching licence required for one to coach in the CAF Champions League. The erstwhile BFA officer is said to have aided Harrison's acquisition of the bogus licence, and his resignation has been linked to the matter as he is said to have known that somehow this matter would be exposed. Reports suggest that Baroka FC had long offered Harrison a job, with Rollers managing to keep the South African side at bay by satisfying the coach.
At the realisation that trouble was looming in relation to Harrison's coaching credentials, Baroka FC was revisited and an agreement was reached, ensuring that Rollers would not answer questions relating to the dubious qualifications of the coach. But BG Sport is informed that Rollers already have a letter from the BFA that asked the league champions to explain the anomaly. This, it is understood, was after CAF had sought a similar explanation from the BFA after Harrison's name had been submitted for the impending CAF Champions League games.
But the premiership champions this week denied any knowledge of their former coach being investigated by the Botswana Football Association. Rollers spokesperson Bafana Pheto said they were not aware of any investigations being carried out by the football governing body. Pheto said he has not heard anything from the media regarding the matter. He added that such issue may be involving Harrison as an individual.
“We had submitted the names of the players with CAF going into the competition, which included the coach. If he did not have the right qualifications they would have rejected him,” Pheto said. Pheto insisted that Harrison had the right qualifications to coach at Rollers. He argued that the team would have not hired Harrison if this was not the case.Meanwhile, Pheto said they are going ahead with their CAF champions' league campaign despite losing the coach. “The resignation of the coach was not planned. The competition requires a CAF A licence but the team will be coached by Teenage Mpote who possesses a CAF B licence.”
Mascom Top 8 defending champions Orapa United will face the four-time competition finalists and the 2011/2012 champions Township Rollers at a date yet to be announced.
This was revealed at the Top 8 draw held at the Gaborone bus rank earlier this week. In another mouth-watering fixture, Top 8 rookies Jwaneng Galaxy will take on 2013/2014 champions BDF XI. The pairing of Orapa United and Township Rollers will be a repeat of last year’s final, which saw the former taking the coveted trophy after a 3-1 win. However, Popa popa are expected to come into the game with a score to settle against Madinda Ndlovu’s charges.
Following the well-attended draw ceremony, Popa mouthpiece Bafana Pheto welcomed the draw, adding that it will mean a different match from last year’s final. “We needed to play Orapa United at this time because this is a two-legged game. We lose the first game we get a chance to prepare and correct what we did wrong in the first game.” Rollers won the first edition of the Mascom Top 8 in the 2011/2012 season when they beat Francistown’s Ecco City Greens 3-1 to claim the prestigious trophy. Mapalastina have appeared four times during the tournament’s six-year history.
It remains to be seen whether Rollers caretaker coach Thabo Motang can overcome the highflying Ostriches. Should Rollers progress to the finals they would have missed only one final being the 2012/2013 final. “With the current squad that we have I don’t see Orapa United winning against us, I believe the fact that we do not have a coach will not affect our proceedings in the tournament. Thabo Motlang has worked under many diverse coaches here and we are confident he will lead the team very well.” Said Pheto. Orapa United will look to carry on their decent run and rise to conquer the local footballing fraternity. A place in the final for the Boteti based outfit will mean they increase their chances to be in the history books as they will be the first team to win the cup back to back should they win it.
This week, Orapa United spokesperson Tebatso Hule said they have been preparing for the tournament for the past three months. “We are ready for the semifinal, we are not afraid of Rollers, we believe in our squad,” he said. “We are not under any pressure as the champions but we are aiming to reclaim our championship we do not fear any team whatsoever but I would like it if we could face Jwaneng Galaxy in the final.” On the flipside, Jwaneng Galaxy are aspiring to be the rookie champions as this is their first-ever participation in the tournament. For his part, Galaxy spokesperson, Thabang Moutlwaditse said they desire to be the rookie champions of the 6th edition tournament. “A few teams have won the tournament as rookies so we can do it too, we came here primed for any team, I think it was a fair draw after all.”
Galaxy is a team with limited history but they can write their name in the history books as they face former champions BDF XI in the two-legged semi finals. Galaxy has a broad squad, which is able to compete and if things go well by them they can be crowned champions at the end of the tournament. On the other hand, BDF XI have an aim of equaling Gaborone United who have the most (2) Mascom Top 8 titles under their belt. However BDF XI know what they are up against in the semi-final of the coveted trophy.
“We are aware of how much of a great team Galaxy is, they are not here by fluke, we do not perceive them as underdogs anymore they are a competitive side, nonetheless I am happy that we are facing them, we are going to give them the respect they deserve,” BDF spokesperson Pius Kolagano said.
Kolagano added that the team is not in any way under pressure to win the title. “We are on the list of clubs who have claimed the cup before we cannot be under pressure only rookies in the tournament can be under pressure.” Matebele, the 2013/2014 champions, will fight tooth and nail to see their name on the Mascom Top 8 trophy for the second time. Luis Setshwane’s side will have a mountain to climb when they face the on-form Galaxy in a home and away game, but their experience in the tournament can take them all the way to the finals.