The National Under 20 football team captained by Mochudi Centre Chiefs defender Thato Kebue is expected to face Lesotho tomorrow (Saturday) in the COSAFA Under 20 tournament at Moruleng, South Africa.
The team succumbed 2-0 to Swaziland in their opening game of the tournament on Wednesday afternoon.Despite decent number of experienced players in the youthful team the result comes as a dent to their campaign. A few months ago the senior national Zebras gave a good account of themselves reaching the finals of the 2016 COSAFA Castle cup tournament where they lost to South Africa. The Under 20 national team dubbed Diamond Zebras is led by the experienced young players including defender Thato Kebue, Goitseone Legopelo, Michael Tinye and Thatayaone Dithokwe.The meticulous Township Rollers defensive midfielder Gape Mohutsiwa is also part of the team.
Coach George Mogopodi’s squad includes skillful Ocean Lottering, Thatayaone Maome, Ronald Fortune and the speedy winger Mothusi Cooper and prolific goal scorer Aobakwe Tshobo among others. However, all is not lost as the team awaits the next fixtures, which will decide their fate in the tournament. The team will battle it out with Lesotho on Saturday before engaging in what is expected to be war against bitter rivals South Africa on Monday. All the games will be played at the Moruleng Stadium and if the Zebras want to stay in the tournament they will have to win their next fixture.
The reigning 2015/16 Mascom Top 8 champions Orapa United are expected to compete in the CAF Confederations cup this year.
Orapa spokesperson Tebatso Hule recently confirmed that the club has finalised their registration for the continental showpiece. Hule explained that they are ready to take on continental rivals. “We have met all requirements and registered for the tournament through the Botswana Football Association (BFA),” he said.
The CAF Confederations cup is the second Club tournament in Africa after the Champions league (CAF) and the Ostriches will be debutants in the tournament. This will come as a major feat for a club founded just over five years ago. The Ostriches gained promotion to top-flight football in the 2013/2014 season.
The Boteti based outfit was established as a common objective for the residents of the area to invest on a single team in a bid to gain promotion to the top league. The team has since shattered expectations and become legitimate league title contenders.
Having come close to wining the BTC Premiership cup on numerous occasions and ultimately winning their first-ever silverware, the Mascom Top 8 last season the Ostriches are expected to pose a serious threat in the competition.
“This is an opportunity for our players to expose themselves to the African giant teams. As the Orapa United brand, we have good players and I believe we are a good team to compete in the tournament,” Hule said.He explained that the intention of the team is to go as far as they can in the tournament, adding that the club is financially stable for travelling and any other expenses will not be a challenge for the BTC Premiership log leaders.
Participating in Africa has proven to be a daunting task for Southern African Clubs. Meanwhile, the triumph of South African PSL club Mamelodi Sundowns in the Caf Champions league will come as a great inspiration to the Ostriches.
Two top BTC premiership clubs Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs this week claimed to have lost business since the introduction of the e-ticketing system for their games.
The two teams claim the e-ticketing system has brought more worries to clubs than the previous over-the-counter sales. Both Rollers and Chiefs have since agreed that the system is not client friendly. In an interview this week, Rollers spokesperson Phempherethe Pheto dismissed the web ticket system as a headache for both clubs and the league. “It does not work well for our clientele and it is a challenge when it comes to accountability,” explained Pheto.
The system was supposed to be piloted for a few games before the board can make a final decision. This publication is in possession of blank tickets provided for a recent premiership game. In addition, Pheto said the league has not provided them with a report concerning blank tickets or whether investigations were carried out in the matter.
He added that they are still waiting for findings. Moreover, Pheto said they have since engaged the league on numerous accounts concerning the system. “I approached the Botswana Premier League (BPL) to address this matter. However, it seems BPL board supported the system,” said the Rollers spokesperson. Pheto cited poor network at Serowe Shoprite as one of the shortcomings that come with the system.
Rollers played many home games at Serowe Sports Complex last season. According to Pheto, the BPL board recently agreed to abandon the web tickets system, adding that the system was meant to stop tickets from being sold at the gates. Pheto, said the main challenge with web tickets is that clubs receive tickets very late especially at category A games.
For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs spokesperson, Clifford Mogomotsi shared the same sentiments as Pheto, arguing that the system has failed to live up to expectations. “It is a good initiative but it has teething problems, for example our stadiums do not have ticket reading machines, which means manual services are still needed,” Mogomotsi said. Nevertheless, Mogomotsi expressed optimism that the league will resort to e-ticketing when resources permit.
The e-ticketing is used in developed countries where the network is good and the gadgets at stadiums are also electronic. Moreover, Mogomotsi explained that the exercise is costly but does not reduce their ticketing challenges. “We thought it was an improved version of what we had.”
Director at Web Tickets Cowell Habana said the project is handled by the BPL management committee. However, he admitted the committee engaged them concerning some teething challenges. “We received those complaints, management committee has engaged us, we agreed that point of sales are not enough and they needed to be increased. They also said we are expensive and we justified our costs,” he said.
Quizzed on the recent game between Rollers and Black Forest at the national stadium, Habana said, “Let me tell you what happened, clubs requested 3000 tickets to be printed for counter sale. However, the clubs seem to have underestimated the number of tickets that were in demand for the game. If you check out the local market, promoters use our system; we are currently selling tickets for about 34 events right now. How can 34 event managers be wrong?” wondered Habana.
Stanbic Bank Botswana this week injected P3 600 000 into BTC premiership giants Township Rollers FC. The seven-figure deal is expected to cover three-seasons starting from 2016 until 2019.
The sponsorship was officially unveiled at Stanbic Bank Piazza in Gaborone on Tuesday. Announcing the partnership between the commercial bank and premier league reigning champions, Stanbic Bank Head of Customer Channels, Calistas Chijoro said the Bank is further reinforcing its commitment to sports development through the sponsorship.
Chijoro explained that efforts made by Stanbic are aimed at cultivating a culture of partnership and collaboration, adding that for a business organisation to bloosm, it needs to develop strong relationships. Addressing football stakeholders at the glitzy sponsorship launch ceremony Chijoro said they were particularly delighted to be shaking hands with one of the most successful football clubs in the country. “We seek to establish mutually-beneficial relationships with such entities, as we continue to empower and nurture sustainable development,” Chijoro said.
Chijoro described Township Rollers as the best football club in the country, for it has won 13 Botswana Premier League titles, five Kabelano Charity Cups and one Mascom Top 8 title. It has also participated in continental cup competitions. Chijoro said that Mapalastina have over 180 000 registered supporters and a large pool of followers on social media. “This is one of the best supported teams the country has and probably the only one.”
Mapalastina were given a word of caution by the Bank official to always stick together through thick and thin in order to stay relevant “The sky is the limit, there is still a lot to achieve out there, take your achievements to a whole new level, do not be comfortable in your current state, continue dreaming.”Chijoro pleaded with the team to utilise the funds wisely. “You are in a privileged position, plant a seed now, bearing in mind that in the future you will be harvesting from the same tree.” For his part, Rollers Chairman Jagdish Shah said Mapalastina are more than happy to open doors for Stanbic Bank, adding that their hopes are to see the partnership grow in years to come.
“I welcome this gesture with open hands, I believe it will also motivate other companies to support local football in the country, I believe Botswana Football Association (BFA) and BPL will be proud too.” Roller also enjoy fruitful partnerships with Builders Mart, JB Sports, Cresta Lodge, Liberty, Shield, Umbro and Jack’s Gym.
The eagerly anticipated clash between BTC Premiership giants Gaborone United and Mochudi Center Chiefs at the National Stadium this Saturday is expected to be a tactical showdown between two foreign coaches.
Both Zapata and Mafu come into the game with their reputations on the line. GU’s Rudolf Zapata and Chiefs’ Bongani Mafu are both hard pressed to bring positive results to their respective teams. The 12th man is also expected to be factor in this mouth-watering encounter. The Moyagoleele faithful have been restless and growing increasingly anxious on Zapata’s poor run of form, while Magosi mentor Mafu has gathered praise after recently vanquishing Township Rollers 3-2 over the weekend.
In their last fixture, Zapata’s charges were pegged back to position 10 after losing 2-1 against BTC Premiership rookies, Security Systems. This result has left the fans even more agitated with the coach. The enigmatic Argentine has since adapted a brilliant play of short passing and high pressing, which has been fruitless in front of goalposts thus far.
Zapata may run the risk of being too predictable and as he will be expected to deploy the same tactics against Magosi. Zapata’s attacks are likely to start from the back with two explosive wingbacks in Karabo Phiri occupying the left back and Jackson Lesole on the right. Crucial crosses are expected to flow towards the prolific striker Moatlhodi Ralesotla who has been impetuous in front of the goal area.
Zapata is likely to place all his bets on influential and reliable attacker Mpho Kgaswane. However, it remains to be seen whether the player will be given a free role behind the striker, which can be destructive to the Magosi defense. Kgaswane’s role will be to delay play and allow the inviting runs from Ralesotla.
Kgaswane can also pounce on any missed opportunities by the strikers. Moyagolele now is a place behind Magosi in the log standings. A win for both sides will move them closer to position six, which will see the two teams edge closer to the top of the log. On the other hand, Bongani Mafu has recently redeemed himself among the Magosi faithful.
Beating bitter rivals Rollers will ensure that supporters flock the National Stadium to see Magosi validate their position and status by beating another fierce rival in GU. Magosi’s performance over the weekend saw them rise above Moyagolele on the log to occupy the 9th position.
The Zimbabwean mentor will depend on the same antics he employed against Rollers last weekend. Mafu will be expected to congest his midfield deploying Arnold Mampori, Lesego Molemogi, Lesego Galenamothale and Dirang Moloi; the congested midfield will shut down the shot passes adopted by Moyagolele.
The hefty midfield will play long through balls to the quick youngster Thatayaone Ramatlapeng and the wingers Ayanda Molefhe and Remington Masuku.The wingers will look to occupy the spaces left by the adventurous Moyagolele full backs and play cutbacks to Dirang Moloi who always run late into the attacking area.
Attempts to keep all intoxicating bevearages out of the stadiums are not bearing much fruit as patrons continue to bring beer bottles into the sports arenas especially during football games and drink as they enjoy the ‘beatiful game.’
According to the secretary general of the First Division League Committee, Rapula Gaotlhobogwe, smuggling beer into sporting arenas is prevalent. “We are concerned and always appeal to teams to educate their members on the hazards of drinking in public places such as a stadium. Besides, the law prohibits it,” said Rapula in an interview.
Since intoxication is associated with aggressive behaviour, Rapula contends that, because football is a FIFA product, revellers must behave in a way that does not threaten the security of their fellow revellers. “A minimum of 25 security personnel is what is required at the stadium and it is the responsibility of the hosting team to provide the security so as to, among other things, ensure that beer is not smauggled into the stadium,” noted Gaothobogwe. Contacted for comment, publicity secretary of the Tati African Football Independence Club (TAFIC), Warren Kolola, conceded that containing the smuggling of intoxicating beverages into the stadium is a big challenge.
“We try by all means to make our stadiums alcohol free whenever we are the hosting team. The first difficulty though is that we do not have the capacity to search all the vehicles entering the stadium. Secondly, because we cannot affort the services of a security company as we do not have the money to pay it, we normally have to rely on Volunteers from the general membership of our team. Not only are they not even trained in the area of security, they do not have the legal standing to demand to search anybody’s vehicle and this leads to some people entering the stadium with beer.
“Besides, some people simply drive into the stadium with beer under their vehicle seats and dare anybody to try and search them,” said Kolola. He added that, people smuggle booze into the stadium with the full knowledge that it is unlawful to drink in public. In his view, bye-law officers and the national police should help with the manning of the stadium during games because they are, unlike volunteers, protected by the law in the event they are assaulted in the execution of their mandate. For his part, the manager of ECCO Football Club, Mothusi Jowawa, explained that one of the reasons why teams seem to look the other way when patrons smuggle beer into the stadium is that they are struggling financially.
“We rely on their P20.00s and have got little motivation for alienating the patrons just because they smuggled beer into the stadium because, we would be the losers. Actually part of the alcohol levy should be used to sponsor the teams,” said Jowawa. In his view, instead of closing beer out of the stadium, beer kegs (a kind of drum) should be allowed into the stadium so that people may drink. “It is the bottles that should not be allowed. Instead, people should be allowed to sell beer from kegs as well as disposable cups for their customers. Football is entertainment and it is inconcievable to separate football and alcohol,” he said adding that banning beer from the stadiums has the effect of turning people off from the stadiums hence denying the teams the necessary revenue.
The shock announcement that BTC premiership outfit Gilport Lions will return their status to BMC Social welfare club took another twist this week after the team could not honour their fixture against Mochudi Centre Chiefs this week.
Earlier this month, Gilport Lions Enterprises (PTY) Ltd issued a letter to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) through their attorneys Lore Morapedi requesting that the status of Gilport Lions Sporting Club be returned to Botswana Meat Commission Welfare Social Club. The letter alleged some irregularities in the transfer of the controversial team status from BMC Welfare Social Club to Gilport Lions.
“Our clients have after a long and careful consideration of demands by BMC social welfare club acceded to their demands. A meeting was convened between the parties on 10th of November wherein our clients communicated their decision to members of BMC Social Welfare Club.”
On Monday this week, another shocking letter from Gilport Lions was issued to BFA, in which the team stated that they will no longer be in a position to honour Botswana Premier League fixtures as has been the case in the last two fixtures since they had handed over to BMC social welfare club.
“Our client has acceded to the BMC Social Welfare Club’s demands as stated in the previous letter and has honoured the last two fixtures to enable a smooth transition of the status to BMC Social Welfare Club,” the letter reads.
“BMC Social Welfare Club is informed that its responsibility starts immediately with ensuring that the football club meets its Botswana Premier League obligation in respect to the next fixture scheduled for 22 November 2016 at 1900 hours, against Mochudi Centre Chiefs at the Molepolole Sports Complex,” a letter from BFA Acting Chief Executive Officer Susan Lawrence reads.
BMC Social Welfare Club responded to the later on Tuesday 22 November 2016 requesting that Gilport Lions’ games be suspended. “We are mindful of the powers of the National Executive Committee as spelt out in the constitution, in light to (sic) such powers and for the good of the game our clients propose that the BFA suspend the games of Gilport Lions of week 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12,” BMC attorney Tefo Sibanda said in the response letter.
The request is to facilitate the smooth transition process and to ensure that BMC FC takes advantage of the January transfer window to recruit and register player. The team will then play the suspended games at such times and venues as the Premier League with involvement of the parties may decide.
BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the BFA legal team was still handling the matter and could therefore not comment. Meanwhile, Gilport Lions failed to honour their fixture against Mochudi Centre Chiefs on Tuesday night.
The 2016/17 Mascom Top 8, popularly known as ‘Tse Di Tona’ tournament, was officially launched in Gaborone on Wednesday this week. The tournament that brings both pomp and flair to local football is expected to start on 28th October 2016 at the Francistown Sports Complex.
Teams expected to compete for the P 1.2 million first prize include BDF XI, Miscellaneous, Police XI, defending champions Orapa United, Gaborone United, Jwaneng Galaxy, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.Delivering his keynote address at the launch, president of the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Negros Kgosietsile said Mascom Top 8 has contributed to the competitiveness of soccer in Botswana. Kgosietsile explained that the tournament has elicited interest in all football stakeholders and has kept the passion burning in the hearts of many Batswana for over five years.
The BNOC boss applauded Mascom for broadening their scope and their involvement in other sports like Volleyball, Cycling, Athletics and horse racing. He noted that long-term commitments with sponsors are essential in achieving the country’ s goal of becoming a great sporting nation the world can be proud of.
He further advised that Botswana Premier League (BPL) and participating clubs should conduct themselves in a manner that will make Mascom proud and want to be associated with Botswana Football Association/BPL for many years to come. Acting Botswana Premier League Chief Executive Officer Thabo Ntshinogang said tickets would be available today (Friday) at Mascom stores.Ntshinogang explained that nine games out of the 13 games to be played would be televised. The first clash will be between Police XI and Township Rollers while Magosi are expected to face off with newbies - Jwaneng Galaxy Stars.
For his part, Mascom CEO Jose Vieira Couceiro welcomed Jwaneng Galaxy to the tournament, “We are happy to welcome Jwaneng Galaxy to their very first Mascom Top 8, it will present us with an opportunity to engage with the people of Jwaneng for the very first time,” he said.He wished the team well and advised that they draw inspiration from the defending champions ‘The Ostriches,’ who won the last year’s tournament in their first appearance. President of Botswana Football Association (BFA), MacLean Letshwiti said they appreciate the magnitude and unwavering commitment of Mascom as the title sponsor.
He said the intention was to restore normalcy to football and promised to deliver better results. “Mascom deserves better, they did not abandon us during our darkest hour, and with that we will deliver,” Letshwiti said.
The writing is on the wall at Lekidi Football Centre with a seemingly disgruntled and elated football leadership at odds with one another. Currently the Botswana Football Association (BFA) is seemingly going through a transition following a change of guard at the recent Annual General Assembly (AGA).
The Maclean Letshwiti regime, which recently ousted the Tebogo Sebego axis, seems to be reshaping the local game and only time will tell whether such changes will be for better or for worse. Those close to the Letshwiti faction explain that they will create an enabling environment in the next four years for the industry players to reap from their hard work. The buoyant Letshwiti has already been tested by the delays in the start of the football leagues by the recent boycott of the opening games by referees.
Politics rules the game?
Botswana football has suffered greatly over the years due to ideological differences by the politicians. Nevertheless, at face value the new regime seems to be in one book when it comes to matters of improving the game and restoring its identity. The new BFA regime is in a position to craft a strategic plan that cascades from the manifesto of the ruling faction. The faction is built around popular football politicians Maokaneng Bontshetse, Setete Phuthego and Victor Sebolao who do not sit in the national executive committee. The regime has appointed one of their own Booker Banister to chair the Premier League management committee. The leadership has not yet publicised who their legal advisor is, those close to football argue that the association should just have a full time lawyer than an advisor.
According to Letshwiti, the two leaders encouraged him to unite the warring factions and build the image of football anew. Football had lost confidence of the business community and strained relations with government as well. Nevertheless, the Letshwiti regime is yet to speak to the constituency league, which is partly to blame for sour relations.
Creating 5000+ jobs
During his campaign for the presidency, Letshwiti polarised opinion within football circles when he boldly announced that his regime would create 5000 jobs during the four years of his tenure. Nevertheless, the BFA president did not shed light on how the jobs are going to come about. Those on his side claimed that football spinoffs will bring in thousands of pula to SMMEs across the country, thus creating employment for ordinary citizens. It is not clear how the regions will help create conducive environment for the hawkers or small medium enterprises, as they are known in the business world. Moreover, Letshwiti spoke more about development during his campaign, though he never spoke about the subject of commercialisation or privatisation of the game.
BFA and BPL CEOs fate in question
The two Chief Executive Officers at the BFA and the Botswana Premier League are likely to be fired if the political and ideological opinions expressed by those close to the regime are anything to go by. The two are already serving suspension each pending disciplinary hearing. The matter relating to firing and hiring football administrators is a foregone conclusion. Some football politicians close to the Letshwiti group claim the two positions are sensitive therefore there is need for political appointments. The Kemoeng, Mamelodi detractors believe the two have shown greater allegiance to the ousted Sebego regime.
BFA NEC this week resolved to suspend its CEO Kitso Kemoeng with immediate effect while BFA administrator Susan Lawrence will occupy the hot seat on an acting basis. According to BFA press release, the CEO will have his day to respond to issues raised by NEC. Nevertheless, a press release announcing Kemoeng’s suspension did not state which issues were raised by the BFA executive committee. In recent months local media speculated that some individuals close to the regime want the top two positions. Letshwiti admin was elected to office at the 2016 BFA assembly in August.The BPL CEO Mamelodi has been placed on suspension, it looks very clear that the man will not find his way back to his office in the near future.
Those close to football decision-making group said the CEO’s allegiance is questionable while those who want him in office say the league has grown tremendously under his watchful eye. The BPL CEO already has a pending case at the industrial court in which he wants the court to interdict his employers from conducting disciplinary action against him.
The position of national team head coach is one of the few positions which determine the future of football politicians. The Zebras coach Peter James Butler seems to be a darling of the state leadership, despite his enraged social media posts about his superiors, colleagues and the footballing communities. The previous BFA leadership brought in Butler after parting ways with the most successful coach, Stanley Tshosane, in the history of this republic. The nomadic Butler has allegedly found favour among the top brass, which makes it difficult for the current leadership to fire him. The Letshwiti regime is rather expected to put measures in place to control the coach who has become synonymous with his outbursts and social media posts.
Block Technical Directors
During his presidential campaigns, Letshwiti promised football leaders that his leadership would employ technically knowledgeable people to assist in crafting and planning development structures. The four regional directors have been identified already; the financially strained association is still sourcing funds to run the offices, which will be based at the blocks. The local sporting authority Botswana National Sports Commission will host a few or all block directors, until the association finds its own space.
The women football and girl child are among FIFA priority areas as far as development of the sport is concerned. The newly-elected women representative Suzie Montsho, is reported to be relocating to an Asian country known by this publication. Montsho, who was in the Sebego campaign team defeated Theresa Hitchfield and Tapiwa Gaebolae, is likely to be co-opted to replace Montsho anytime soon. The local ladies’ league has been without a sponsor for a number of years after parting ways with transport mogul AT & T Monnakgotla.
The 2015/16 beMOBILE premiership champions, Township Rollers, are scheduled to face South African PSL giants, Kaizer Chiefs, in a practice match on 1st October in Johannesburg.
The game is expected to further boost the escalating Rollers brand as the local outfit continues their busy pre season schedule. However, there is a catch to this unexpected and exciting clash, as the game will be played behind closed doors as part of the next CAF Champions league preparations for both sides.
Speaking in an interview this week, Popa Popa’s mouthpiece, Bafana Pheto confirmed the pre season friendly, adding that the team is expected to leave for Johannesburg on the 1st October. “The team will probably leave early on 1st October and arrive in Johannesburg at around 11 am while kick off is expected late in the afternoon.”However, Pheto said the supporters will not be allowed to attend the match as per request by the Soweto giants.
“Kaizer Chiefs have called us for a practice match and they have requested that we do not allow fans into the game for reasons best known to them,” Pheto said. Moreover, the Popa spokesperson explained that the team’s competence and recent exhibition of quality football have earned them this golden ticket.
“We have motivated teams in the southern region to see the value of our team and we did this through our great display of good football and professionalism. In Lesotho the clubs we played recently told us they wanted to learn from the team. They did so in the end as we also benefitted from them. Thus far, both Chiefs and Rollers are subject to a football erudition,” he said.
Moreover, Pheto said they have learnt a lot from the Soweto giants in the previous years as they have previously played against each other in two CAF Champions League encounters. “We have previously learnt from their professionalism and the way they hold their affairs both in and off the field.”
Pheto added that the professional multiple champions have a great approach to the welfare of players. “It is interesting how they handle their talent, their players live collectively in their base at Naturena and that makes it easy for the management to bring about the best from them (players). Although others look at that approach as taming players, I believe it is the best way to produce a team which can work interchangeably.”
Pheto explained that their trip to South Africa serves as preparations to compete in the next CAF Champions league tournament. “We are preparing for the Champions league because whatever the outcome of the previous season we are bound to play in the competition.
As you can recall Mochudi Centre Chiefs did not participate in the ongoing edition and that means they are barred from participating in the competitions for at least two years, so whether we are the champions or not we are going to take part in the competition,” he said the game also provides an opportunity for the Soweto outfit that has been struggling in the PSL. Amakhosi who are currently under renowned coach, Steve Khompela, need this sort of practice match as they have been struggling to produce results early in the current season.
Amakhosi have since been knocked out of the 2016 MTN8 Cup by newcomers, Cape Town City and recently suffered a major loss to Bidvest Wits in the opening game of the 2016/17 ABSA Premier League. The team also struggled against rivals Platinum Stars, with the game ending in a draw.
Meanwhile, Rollers have been declared the 2015/16 premier league champions after they withdrew their appeal from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last week. “Following this and the playoff match between Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs played on 11th August, which was won 5-1 by Rollers, the BFA hereby confirms that Rollers are the 2015/16 beMOBILE premiership champions with 65 points followed by Chiefs with 62 points,” a statement from the BFA reads.