Thursday, 22 September 2016 16:30

TAFIC assembles strong squad

Despite a few challenges, legendary Francistown outfit, TAFIC FC are ready to participate in the 2015/16 Debswana National First Division League.

The team does not want to be mere participants but main challengers in the league if they are to gain automatic promotion to the highly coveted beMOBILE Premiership. This is according to the team’s public relations officer (PRO), Warrant Kololo. TAFIC have been playing in the First Division League for the past two seasons. “We have assembled a very formidable side and we have got no doubt in our mind that the team, led by Blessing Moyo (Head Coach), Elias Chinyemba (Assistant Coach) and Wrist Mmusi (Goalkeepers Coach), have what it takes to reinstate TAFIC as contenders,” revealed Kololo.

The team has recruited at least 15 new players including Mmilidzi Zekho Makafiri from city rivals, ECCO City Greens, Stewrad Matlala, a South African who played for Security Systems and Simbarashe Sithole, former Ajax Cape Town striker. TAFIC will be playing without veteran Phuthego Modipe who is retiring at the age of 40 and Ogomoditse Baleni. Baleni has joined Sankoyo Bush Bucks. “So far so good except that we are still awaiting the awarding of work permits to our two foreign players. They both have their international transfer clearances. Our hope is that, they will be ready to play at the onset of the the league games,” said Kololo.

He revealed that, one of their sources of anxiety at the moment is a tussle with ECCO over a defender TAFIC wants to recruit. “We have had to take the matter to the Status Committee and are awaiting its resolution,” he explained. The postponement of the league kickoff has hit the team hard as gate takings are an important source of income for the team. “For us, things are very difficult even at the best of times. Several of our players are relying on the team for sustanace. Without the gate takings, matters get worse,” lamented Kololo.

Kololo admitted that  part of the team’s poor performance in the past has been indiscipline. “There have been incidences of indiscipline and we do not take that lightly. We note that in the main, we are dealing with children and we try as much as possible to give parental guidance. When it comes to a push however, we act decisively by either withholding part of the concerned player’s allowance at the end of the month as a show of disapproval on our part.

In extreme cases, we suspend or permanently release the player because we take our image seriously,” said the PRO who is a secondary school teacher, adding that some of the common acts of indiscipline is absenteeism from training or games without leave or inciting the other players against management.

Published in Sports
Friday, 02 September 2016 11:59

A battle of equines in Ouagadougou

On paper, Zebras’ chances to qualify for next year’s AFCON 2017 finals scheduled for Gabon may look bleak. However, the Zebras still have a fight left in them.

This Sunday the Zebras face the Stallions of Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou in what is expected to be a thrilling encounter that could go either way.  Under their prodigal coach, Paulo Duarte who took the reigns from German born Gernot Rohr, the Stallions are expected to leave no stone unturned. Duarte is expected to take on the Zebras with an arsenal of robust Burkinabe team, which boasts mostly of international players.

Currently, the Stallions are joint Group D leaders with the Cranes of Uganda as both teams are tied at 10 points while the Zebras are galloping behind with only six points. Behind the local lads is Comoros with only three points to complete group D log standings. It is against this background that an epic battle will ensue.

Victory for Burkina Faso will make them outright winners of the group if the Cranes stumble in their own backyard when they host stubborn Comoros. An upset against the Zebras in their own backyard and a gallant fight against the same opponent away in Francistown can prove testimony to their other narrow losses away.

The Zebras in their first leg encounter at the Francistown Sports Complex defeated Burkina Faso by a solitary goal courtesy of influential Captain Joel Mogorosi. The encounter, dubbed category A in the continent, proved one of the biggest upset in the qualifiers basing on the squad Burkina Faso had fielded. However, this weekend there is even more at stake for both sides, especially for their coaches.

Zebra’s headcoach Peter Butler’s ambitions were to lead the Zebras to the 2017 AFCON finals. With this encounter being the only competitive and international assignment left to solidify his legacy, Butler has everything to fight for. The weekend game will be a litmus test to convince the new BFA leadership that he is still capable of leading the Zebras to the Promised Land. Moreover it remains to be seen whether Butler’s contract, which ends early next year, will be extended.

Winning the weekend fixture will put Butler in the good books of the new BFA leadership. On the other hand, there is national pride at stake and FIFA rankings to work hard for as a win might see the local boys surging in their rankings. On the other hand, Duarte will be eyeing a second return to the African prestigious tournament.

Published in Sports
Friday, 02 September 2016 11:56

Mamelodi resigns?

Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi was expected to resign from Lekidi on Thursday (yesterday) following sustained attacks on his residence in Mokolodi.

Not a stranger to controversy, Mamelodi who has been in the limelight for his well-publicised court case against the BPL board recently announced that he was under attack from unknown elements who have broken into his residence more than once. “Why would 8 armed men driving 3 tinted cars break into my house today...the 4th time in 3 months?” a frustrated Mamelodi vented in a social media post. “Wasn't tempering with my car not enough? You sick thugs and your masters will have to try harder. I'm still alive and kicking and only God will determine my fate.

I shall not be made to live in fear by conniving cowards who can't confront me like men. I know who you are...God knows who you are...and may the good lord have mercy on my soul. In the mean time I shall continue to fight the good fight...and keep the faith.”However, the culprits have not stolen any property from Mamelodi’s house. “My domestic security has been breached and I have every reason to believe my life is in danger,” Mamelodi wrote in his post.

In a brief interview this week, Mamelodi, who suspects that the break-ins are linked to his controversial job as BPL CEO, confirmed to BG Sports that indeed the social media page in question belongs to him. Such break-ins are eerily similar to those that have occurred at Mamelodi’s offices at the BPL, where nothing was stolen.

However, Mamelodi could not provide any more information on the matter. The football administrator confirmed that the matter is still under investigation by law enforcement authorities.

It is alleged  that a number of people within football circles are after Mamelodi’s job and such individuals may be responsible for the break ins. Mamelodi, who was previously suspended by his superiors at the BPL board amidst allegations of mismanagement, has a pending case at the Gaborone Industrial court against his employers.

Published in Sports
Monday, 22 August 2016 11:00

Letshwiti must hit the ground running

The former Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Tebego Sebego has said he is still very much involved in football following his crushing defeat to Maclean Letshwiti in the recent Annual General Assembly. 

However, the 42-year-old slick dressing Gaborone lawyer is still very much a player in both domestic and international football structures despite his exit from Lekidi. In a brief interview, the vanquished Sebego said he was not lost to football but remains an avid supporter of the beautiful game.

Sebego acknowledged that it is now time to give the new leadership the space to lead the association. “I am going to sit down and see what to do next. The least I can do is be a football supporter,” Sebego said   this week. “I want to contribute to the growth of football both locally and internationally.”  Despite a crushing defeat Sebego still serves in the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) standing committee mandated to organise the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals from 2015 to 2017. The former president also serves in FIFA’s marketing and television arm.

Sebego, who ascended to the BFA presidency with his ‘Friends of Football’ cabal, served the BFA for the past decade rising through the ranks as the association’s legal advisor. Back then he was a legal advisor for former BFA presidents, David Fani and Philip Makgalemele. Prior to Fani courting him to be the association’s legal think tank he was the legal advisor for Botswana Soccer Association (BOSA), a soccer movement made up of premier league community teams.

The BOSA was mandated to address the plight of community teams that complained about rival state-backed institutional teams that dominated the league. While a BFA lawyer, Sebego challenged the then BFA president David Fani and delivered a crushing defeat on his more experienced rival. However, four years down the line, Sebego whose administration has been under fire for the better part of his presidency, suffered a similar fate at the hands of rival and self-made businessman Maclean Letshwiti.

When Letshwiti announced he was running for BFA president over a month ago, it became evident that the contest would be a bare-knuckled fight. Sebego’s conqueror is a relatively newcomer to football administration at the highest level. The intriguing BFA presidential elections saw Letshwiti defeating his archrival by 32 votes to 28.

One of the key challenges Letshwiti faces is how to deal with the warring factions in the BFA National Executive Committee, which seemed to swirl under Sebego, in the process alienating the association from sponsors and other stakeholders. Letshwiti’s   committee has its job cut in the next four years.

Besides rebuilding the BFA, Letshwiti has to improve the functionality of the association’s structures. A case in point being the recent Mascom Top 8 final where BPL teams complained about Township Rollers’ use of a defaulter but were snubbed by the mother-body.
Other nagging issues that Letshwiti’s committee inherit include the controversial leaguewhich is taking forever to conclude considering that the football fraternity still awaits the verdict in Township Rollers’ appeal to CAS regarding their docked points, which were awarded to Gilport Lions after they had used a defaulter Ofentse Nato.

Letshwiti will also need to foster continuity in both junior and national teams. In the past there has been no cohesion or synergy between junior national teams and senior national teams.  A case in point was the under 17 team which qualified for 2013 under 17 African youth championships in Morocco.

Published in Sports
Monday, 22 August 2016 10:38

BFA should knock at our door-Mamelodi

A FIFA official this week urged   the   Botswana Football Association (BFA) to continue knocking   on FIFA’s doors   if they need assistance with   their projects. Speaking in Gaborone this week, Botswana’s FIFA development officer Ashford Mamelodi said he would like to see BFA benefiting from the world governing body projects.

“At FIFA if you do not knock at our door, we assume you do not need help. BFA should come knocking then we can help”, Mamelodi said. The veteran football administrator spoke   to the fact that Botswana is not benefiting much from FIFA projects, more especially that the governing body`s regional office is based here in Botswana.

Nevertheless, Mamelodi praised the Independent electoral board for organising transparent and fair elections during the BFA’s Annual General Assembly (AGA). In other matters, the FIFA official who is also a former BFA Executive Secretary advised the new BFA executive committee to revisit the thorny Constituency league matter swiftly.

The matter has long been a grey area in local football as the BFA and Botswana government fought for over the issue for over a decade. The long running   issue saw a FIFA delegation visiting Gaborone to address the matter before former BFA president Tebogo Sebego gave a presentation at FIFA congress in 2014. Back then reports were that the two parties had agreed in principle about the league. Since then very little or nothing has been said on the matter. 

Published in Sports
Monday, 22 August 2016 10:34

Tafic No.1 supporters card auctioned

Tafic sporting club, affectionately  known as  Machimenyenga,  will launch the new season in grand style at Adansonia hotel in Francistown  this Saturday.

The team will reveal their new committee members, players, kit sponsors and its head coach to supporters at the launch. The club’s public relations officer Warrant Kolola said members will be given an opportunity to claim stake of the club’s ‘number one supporters’ membership card which will be auctioned to the highest bidder at the lauch.

“We have decided to auction the number one supporters’ card to the highest bidder so that anyone who will get it will be proud of this possession. Moreover, numbers for membership cards from two to ten will also be auctioned to highest bidders for members to have bragging rights in the club.” An ordinary membership card costs P100-00.

Kolola said that a Francistown based clothing company, Kernville will be the club’s technical sponsor and will handle all their kit including playing travel, replica and tracksuits for the entire season. As for the replica kit, Kolola said that they will be selling at P200 but have a confidential agreement between the two parties.

Kolola added that they will soon reveal new players including Abednico Morapedi from Police VI, Phineas Kgotlang from Motlakasi FC, Witness Livingstone from Nico United and Thagiso Boby Mathews who is from Sankoyo Bush bucks. “We are still in negotiations with Shoes Selefa who is currently training with us and we hope that before the season launches he will have put his signature to paper.

He  is a very good player who can take us to the top of the table.” “We have also engaged our former coach Blessing Moyo to once again resuscitate the team and take it to the elite premier league.” Quizzed why they have opted for Moyo since they once parted ways with him under mysterious circumstances, he defended that Moyo is a good coach who holds CAF A license something, which will work for the club in the future.

Published in Sports
Monday, 08 August 2016 09:14

Mamelodi back in office

The Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi has returned to Lekidi after his controversial suspension was lifted this week.

His return to the BPL secretariat signals the end of a court case that pitted him against his erstwhile superiors - the recently dissolved BPL board, which was chaired by Rapula Okaile. The BPL board was recently dissolved for undermining and defying instructions from Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC). This week, BFA president Tebogo Sebego confirmed that Mamelodi’s suspension has been lifted. “Mamelodi is back in office and there is a backlog of issues that he has to urgently deal with like club licensing, disbursement of last season’s club prize monies,” said Sebego who has long supported the BPL CEO’s return.

One of the issues Mamelodi is expected to deal with is drawing fixtures of next season’s games. Earlier this week, sources   close to the BFA revealed that Sebego and the association’s CEO Kitso Kemoeng met with the league sponsors, beMOBILE on Tuesday to iron out pending issues in a bid to pave way for next season.

Mamelodi’s return to office coincides with the elective BFA Annual General Assembly (AGA) scheduled for August 13th.  The AGA is also expected to have a bearing on whether Mamelodi stays at Lekidi or not. It will also decide whether the BPL should be run by a board of club chairmen or a management committee made up of independent professionals.

Should the AGA pass the motion that calls for the league affairs being run by a management committee, this will mean the end of a legal tussle between Mamelodi and the dissolved BPL board which will be dealt with once and for all.
The BPL board previously incensed the BFA NEC after they refused to lift Mamelodi’s suspension following allegations of maladministration. After Mamelodi dragged the BPL board to court, the BFA refused to give the semi autonomous body power of attorney to challenge the former.

Meanwhile, in the absence of any interference from the BPL board, the association lifted Mamelodi’s suspension with immediate effect and he resumed his duties yesterday [Wednesday]. This means all charges against Mamelodi will eventually be dropped.
Initially some of Mamelodi’s office equipment was seized by law enforcement officers including his cell phones. However, by press time it was not clear whether these items had been returned to him.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 12 July 2016 16:25

BPL fights back

An impromptu Botswana Premier League (BPL) board meeting was expected to convene on Thursday afternoon(Today) at Lekidi in a desperate bid to block the imminent return of the organisation’s suspended Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi.

These developments came barely a week after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) failed to give the subordinate BPL, permission to file responding affidavits against Mamelodi at the Gaborone Industrial court. According to sources close to the matter, the BPL board felt betrayed and hard done by their superiors in the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC). This is especially true for those within the BPL board who are doing all in their power to get rid of Mamelodi.

This week, BG Sport sources said BPL board members have since put pressure on the organisation’s interim chairman Rapula Okaile to call an urgent meeting and address events surrounding Mamelodi’s case. This week, a BPL board member who spoke to BG Sport on condition of anonymity said they will do whatever it takes to counter Mamelodi’s return to Lekidi.

“He cannot come back, we are going to apply for an urgent application with the court. We believe we have a legal standing to defend ourselves. If we do not have the legal standing, it means Mamelodi’s contract with us does not exist,” he said. Lately, reliable sources have told BG Sport that a legal representative from a South African law firm has already been identified to represent the BPL in their urgent application. Okaile on Wednesday confirmed the emergency BPL meeting. However, the reluctant chairman maintained that the purpose of the meeting is not only about Mamelodi but to shed light on various issues recently addressed by the NEC. “Amongst these issues is the Mamelodi case,” Okaile said. Mamelodi had earlier dragged his employers before the court challenging the legality of his suspension after the BPL accused him of maladministration.

After a court hearing last month, it later appeared that the BPL had filed inadequate documents. Consequently, this meant that the BPL did not have legal standing to face Mamelodi in court unless the BFA NEC gave them power of attorney. The Industrial Court later advised the BPL to file fresh and truthful documents to properly argue their case. The BPL was given until this week Tuesday to file their new heads of argument but this did not happen. This meant the court would ultimately deliver a default judgment. In other matters, the BPL board is expected to deliberate on the disbursement of BPL prize monies to teams. BG Sport understand that BPL had asked the NEC to allow them to ask BTCL to disburse prize monies to all teams which are not affected by the current saga that affects Mochudi Center Chiefs and Township Rollers.

At the same seating the board is expected to endorse Okaile who has been BPL interim chairman since the departure of former Chairman Walter Kgabung and former vice chairman Solomon Mantswe. It remains to be seen how the BPL's urgent application will unfold and whether they will convince the court that they have the power of attorney. As things stand the BFA constitution does not recognize BPL as a structure or entity that has power to sue without the blessing of the NEC.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 12 July 2016 16:22

FIFA directs BFA to hold election

The world football governing body, FIFA, has this week written to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) instructing the troubled organisation to hold election as per their constitutional requirements.

The letter comes soon after the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) failed to elect the Electoral board as mandated by last year’s General assembly. During their annual indaba last year the BFA assembly had assigned its NEC to elect members who will form an electoral board, which will oversee this year’s election scheduled for end of this month.

The said election is expected to usher in a new NEC, which is expected to run the affairs of the association for the next four years as per new FIFA statute. However, a month ago when the current NEC was supposed to deliberate and act as per the assembly’s assignment, chaos erupted within the NEC as members with the majority calling for the election to be postponed to next year.

However, after their disagreement on holding election at the end of this month, the BFA wrote a letter to FIFA to seek advice. However, the football world governing body vehemently instructed the BFA to hold election without fail. Therefore it means the association has to urgently appoint an electoral board.

“Yes I can confirm that FIFA has instructed us to hold election as per requirements,” the association’s president Tebogo Sebego told BG Sport this week. Sebego further explained that they will now write to both University of Botswana’s Democracy project, which is an autonomous body responsible for overseeing elections and has in the past been involved into national political elections.

Moreover, Sebego said they will even invite Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to intervene and play the watchdog role. However, FIFA has since indicated that those who will not be satisfied with the election outcome are free to take their matter to FIFA for its intervention. FIFA’s intervention on BFA has come at the right time, as there is already an aura of discontent within BFA affiliates.

This week some affiliates who spoke to BG Sport on condition of anonymity expressed fear that should the election go ahead as scheduled, there might be another court room case at Lekidi, which has been the order of the day in recent months.
BG Sport   sources within the BFA, felt that those who would lose the election would go straight to the Court of Appeal (CoA) to protest unlawful election. Currently three candidates have already thrown their names in the election hat for possible nomination for the BFA presidency.

The three are Solomon Mantswe, currently a Botswana Premier League board member and Police XI chairman. There is also Mochudi Center Chiefs President MacLean Letshwiti and the incumbent, Tebogo Sebego who seeks to continue. BFA election is expected to be held at the association’s Annual General Meeting on the 30th of this month. 

Published in Sports

BFA president Tebogo Sebego will face Billy Sekgororoane in August this year when Botswana Football Association goes to the polls to elect a new president and national executive committee that will lead the association for the next four years.

Sekgororwane, current General Manager of Multichoice Botswana was secretly endorsed by a cabal of lobbyists last Saturday in a secret meeting held at Cresta hotel in Palapye. This development comes after months of courting Sekgororwane to challenge the incumbent BFA president, Sebego.

Sources close to the events told BG Sports that Sekgororwane was lobbied a faction which is allegedly against Sebego’s leadership and accuse him of bringing the association to its knees and scaring away potential football sponsors.
Sekgororwane only acknowledged to BG Sports that he was approached by some people but was not clear whether he will stand or not. “It’s still premature to say I will stand or not but people approached me for my help,” he asserted, adding they still have to thrash out a few details.

Sources say Sekgororwane’s team comprises of former BFA Vice President Segolame Ramothwa, current Vice President Finance and Marketing Marshlow Motlogelwa and Eatametse Olopeng. By press time it was not yet clear who will make the final list between Albert Motai and Jonase Ikgopoleng as reports suggested differences amongst the two.

Sekgororwane’s backers point to his vast experience in the corporate sector as his trump card and are confident it will be enough to persuade the business community to pump money into football and probably end a drought which has seen the association failing to raise an FA cup sponsor.

Meanwhile Sebego is said not to be amused that almost the entire NEC is standing against him. Although Sebego couldn’t shed much light on his lobby list he said he was ready for whoever is contesting against him. “I have long declared that I am standing and I have long said I want to serve two terms. We will announce our team shortly,” he said. Sources close to Sebego’s camp say that he has turned to his long-time ally Tariq Babitseng who was removed from the association under a cloud of controversy. Other names mentioned in his team include Vice President, Administration Basadi Akoonyatse, and transport mogul Abel Monnakgotla.

The arrival of Sekgororwane is feared will rekindle the existing rivalry between pay per view broadcaster Multichoice and local television Btv as fas as  selling premier league broadcasting rights is concerned. In the past Btv were  politically favoured to have the broadcasting rights of BPL matches ahead of Supersport despite Btv not possessing the skill and quality equipment needed.

It is only now that the local television has gone all out to buy the required equipment but Sekgororwane’s arrival might throw spanners into the works since Btv will be forced to declare their machinery as he will be the president with powers to sign or overrule any proposal.

Published in Sports

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