Monday, 18 April 2016 11:46

Maxwell Moyo fired

Police X1 have fired their head coach Maxwell Malume Moyo ahead of their crunch beMOBILE Premiership encounter against log leaders Township Rollers scheduled for Saturday.

Insiders say Moyo could have been fired weeks ago but had to endure the delay as a lame duck coach while waiting for club chairman Solomon Mantswe who had reportedly been outside the country. The nomadic Zimbabwean gaffer joined Police X1 on a two-year contract after a short spell with Orapa United where he led them to a second spot and qualified them for Mascom Top 8 for the first time.

Unhappy with the team’s showing, especially that last season they finished on position 6, Police XI management brought in Moyo to challenge for top honours but this has evaded them again. According to sources, the management was livid when they threw away 12 points against rookies Miscellaneous and Green Lovers and at some point drew against BR Highlanders.

However, it was this past weekend’s 2-0 loss against debutants Green Lovers that hammered the final nail into his coffin. Police X1 management was left with no option but to send him packing on Tuesday morning.

“He tried his best but it was not good enough then we decided to part ways,” said Mantswe, adding that Moyo will be paid two months’ salary together with his severance benefits and leave days and would be allowed to stay in the club’s house until end of the season.
Junior Letlamoreng will hold the fort during their last games against Rollers, BDF X1 and Nico United.

Published in Sports
Monday, 04 April 2016 11:08

Mamelodi facing the chop in BPL mess

FOOTBALL

The storybook of the Botswana Premier League (BPL) reads like that of Mafia operatives hellbent on getting whatever they want no matter how irrational and illogical. 

The book chronicles a tale of lies, deceit, fabrication, self-aggrandisement and divisions - as well as a trace of personal vendettas and quests to settle old scores. The inevitable result has been a failure to focus and account prudently for the money that has been pouring into the league. 

Now the blame game has taken centre stage, with one dominant faction of the BPL Board of Governors pushing for the permanent removal of their CEO, and the minority muted in their defence of the beleaguered officer whom they feel is a victim of a witch-hunt. At the heart of everything that has been happening there lately, is the guised fight for power; the battle for control and an ultimate desire to be in charge of the close to P25 million that the premier league churns annually. All else, really, is secondary.

Just as the attention of local football lovers was glued on the ensuing photo finish rush for the beMOBILE Premiership crown between Orapa United, Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, the league gurus on the other hand mastered a grand plan to divert attention to courtroom and boardroom issues.  

This past weekend, a meeting of 12 BPL club chairpersons – there are 16 in total - who constitute the league board resolved to recall board chairperson Walter Kgabung, his deputy Solomon Mantswe as well as to suspend the league’s Chief Executive Officer Bennett Mamelodi. The bone of contention is that the CEO has failed to account for what is presumed to be missing funds, with Kgabung and Mantswe seen as accessories to the ‘crime’ as they have failed to supervise the operations at the Secretariat. There is no clarity as to why the CEO’s Personal Assistant was also suspended.

As is always the case where self-serving tendencies floursih, the involved parties are clutching at straws, and those in charge are refusing to go on record regarding their deeds – of course under the pretext that the matter of the suspensions is sensitive and was still to be discussed at a BFA NEC meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday evening this week. It is thus remained unclear at press time what the real issues are. 

On the one hand however, is the story of a P6.2 million deficit that is being bandied around as the cause of Mamelodi’s suspension. There was a board meeting on March 5 where the CEO presented the financials of the BPL, and those close to the trigger-happy side of the board members say he failed to account for that P6.2 million. Yet another submission from within the polarised board says there is confusion of issues as that sum only represents the outstanding funds that are yet to be credited into the BPL in the form of P4.2 million in prize money from sponsors BTCL and about P2 million from Mascom. 

There is also no clarity as to who to blame for the BPL’s reported overspending this season, with reports that it was once again the CEO who failed to plan for the year properly. Yet those sympathetic to the beleaguered Mamelodi argue that the said board members are just desperately trying to discredit a blameless man even when they know what actually is the cause of the league’s financial problems. They cite the unexpected turn of events where BURS, the taxman, held the BPL at ransom over an outstanding tax amount of close to P2million carried from previous years.

The BPL, on striking an P8million broadcast deal with the Department of Broadcasting Services, were told they would not get a tax clearance certificate needed by the government broadcaster until they had paid the tax in question. The football body is registered for tax, and the outstanding money was eventually debited from the broadcast stipend, which left the BPL with lesser money than they had budgeted for. 

In addition, BG Sports has learnt that clubs themselves refused to have their monthly grants paid less tax, saying the BPL office had to be the one to bear the tax liability. The clubs insisted on getting strictly P50 000 per month, nothing less. Each club has since received P250 000 in grant money for the first five months until December, with the tax liability left for the BPL office to sort out. This too, reportedly dug from the BPL coffers, leading to lesser money at the office than had been anticipated. The dominant section of the board maintains the CEO is to blame for failure to budget properly while others feel it is an unfair accusation given the prevailing circumstances. 

There is also the issue of Mamelodi reportedly getting a P900 000 loan from businessman Jagdish Shah to assist indebted teams with grants against their prize money, something the board says constitutes conflict of interest. Shah is an investor in Township Rollers and the concerned board members feel that the move could be the one influencing decisions at the BPL that go against protesting opponents such as Chiefs and Gilport Lions in the famed Ofentse Nato case. BG Sport has however established that the benefitting teams - Motlakase Power Dynamos, Green Lovers and Sankoyo Bushbucks - are the ones who directly sought such loans from Shah. 

Sources close to the three clubs also questioned the figure of P900 000, saying they have only received a total of P200 000 from the businessman. “I know a different story to that one of P900 000,” a source told BG Sport, adding: “Sankoyo and Lovers each asked for P50 000 while Motlakase requested a P100 000 loan. I understand Jagdish then told the clubs that he needed assurance that he would get his money back after one club failed to pay him back last season. That’s when the teams approached the BPL for assistance through providing surety against their prize money which will come at the end of the league.” An official from one of these three clubs confirmed their loan deal and wondered why it was made an issue this time when other teams have been doing that over the years. “I know Letlapeng also had a similar arrangement with Shah last season while Miscellaneous was helped by Nicolas Zackem. It’s difficult to understand what people are on about,” he said. 

Shah himself has rubbished claims of a P900 000 loan to the BPL. Instead, he confirmed lending the three clubs a total sum of P200 000 and seeking surety from the BPL before the transaction could be done. This Shah had to do after reports say relegated Letlapeng are yet to pay him back after he had lent them money last season.

For now the BPL CEO remains suspended despite the mother body setting aside the Saturday decisions of the board until both parties have furnished reports as to what really led to the weekend decisions. On Thursday, the BPL offices were a beehive of activity as investigation agents reportedly from the DCEC and Botswana Police Services confiscated computers and cellphones of some BPL employees. Kgabung and Mamelodi were also taken for questioning.

With the BPL board saying they will in the meantime be carrying out a forensic audit at the BPL office, it will be interesting to see if the audit will also extend to the clubs that consume about 80-85 percent  of the league’s annual income. Only about 20 percent is used for the Secretariat’s operations. On an annual basis, Mascom pumps in P5million into the league, DBS pours P8million while BTCL bleeds P10million. The bulk of this money, directly and by extension, goes to club related expenses such as prize money, grants, referees’ transport and accommodation, emergency medicals services, ticketing, as well as official and player accreditations among others. With crowds having been good this season, the clubs should have also made a lot of money from gatetakings. The BFA should thus ensure this audit covers every aspect of the BPL finances, both at club and Secretariat level – just to help determine how money is used by the league and to determine who really is fooling who.

Whatever the truth is regarding these stories, it begs the question why it took this long for the BPL to raise these financial queries when all along there were board meetings where there are always financial updates. There is also no official answer as to why, for the first time, the weekend board meeting was held without the CEO who reportedly was in South Africa for a funeral. The first time the board raised alarm was at the March 5 meeting where the CEO was in attendance, and that was the perfect time to question him ahead of a follow-up suspension then. The CEO, who once resigned out of frustration before being begged to return, has never had a healthy relationship with the board and other people involved in the prevailing allegations, and it remains difficult to know the extent to which the sour relationships may be playing a part in his suspension. The allegations against him misappropriating funds come a long way back, yet the board still gave him a new contract last November to continue running the affairs of the league. There remains more questions than answers in this saga, and the BFA leadership had better expedite conclusions on the matter lest the premier league programme be thrown into chaos. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Sports
Friday, 05 February 2016 15:18

A weekend of thrillers

The beMOBILE Premiership has gone 270 degrees of the pie already, and after 20 rounds of fixtures, the race for positions has shifted gears to overdrive with Round 21 that begins this Friday evening laden with potentially nail-biting thrillers.

Chief among the weekend duels is the marquee encounter that pits together former league champions Gaborone United defending champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs at the Molepolole Sport Complex this Friday night. It has not been a convincing start to the new year for United but last weekend they redeemed themselves with a 3-1 win over Miscellaneous. It was a game where the Reds once again resembled an outfit befitting the description of ‘Big team.’

This was their first game since the arrival of Argentine coach Rolo Zapata who is currently sweating over the issuance of his work permit. United’s stand-in coach George Mogopodi has admitted that the team is on assessment mode as new players brought in during the just-ended transfer period must be given a chance to prove their worth.

On the other hand, the defending champions also salvaged what’s left of their pride when they demolished FC Satmos with a dozen of goals to one at the National Stadium. Chiefs’ Tendai Nyumasi bagged a hat-trick on the night coach Mike Sithole praised his charges for playing according to the rule book.

Chiefs inched closer to the top after Orapa United had dropped two valuable points thanks to their 1-all draw with Extension Gunners. Just like GU, Magosi registered their first win of the calendar year after failing to collect maximum points against lowly-placed Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Gilport Lions in earlier weeks.

The win against Satmos reduced the gap between Chiefs and the summit to just five points. Thus victory against the Reds will take Magosi even closer to the top and strike a psychological blow against title rivals Orapa United and Township Rollers who play the following day.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
On a good day, the United trio of Benson Shilongo, Ntesang Simanyana and Alphonso Modisaotsile can carry their club to the Promised Land to see Chiefs prospects dented once again. On the other hand, Chiefs’ Lemponye Tshireletso, Senatla Molefhe and Nyumasi could be a handful for United. The game starts at 1900hrs, Friday night.

EXTENSION GUNNERS VS MISCELLANEOUS
In another intriguing encounter, Daniel Chicco Nare’s Extension Gunners welcome sixth-placed Miscellaneous to the Lobatse Sport Complex on Saturday. The gun-wielding Mapantsula are somewhat a happy team after bagging five points from the possible nine since the turn of the year.

Having claimed the scalp of FC Satmos and holding Gaborone United and Orapa United to draws in successive games, Gunners have grown in confidence and their Top 8 ambitions look like an attainable target. Gunners’ boss, Nare has added former United star Mandla Mgadla to his squad although he might have lost an opportunity to use Chiefs’ Keaketswe Mara Moloi after the player’s thwarted move to the Peleng side.

The signal of intent is clear on the part of the Lobatse outfit even with the failed coup on Mara, and any side set to cross paths with them had better be watching. Their weekend opponents Miscellaneous from Serowe are a team low on confidence after losing to United this past weekend. After an impressive showing in the first round which saw them sniffing around fourth place, Tse Nala seem to have hit a rock and they have since fallen down to sixth place. They will want to use this game to reclaim their confidence and reaffirm their pursuit of a respectable place. Kick-off is at 1600hrs on Saturday

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
In the likes of Daniel Mogapi, Mandla Mgadla and Daniel Chimuku among others, Gunners have a potent threat that should see them ease past the stuttering Serowe side. However, Tse Nala have a force of their own in Bogosi Mfila, Master Masitara and Pako Osupile  who Nare should ensure they are kept in check throughout the match. Kick-off is at 1600 on Saturday in Lobatse.

ORAPA UNITED VS JWANENG GALAXY
The clash of the two diamond-mining towns puts together joint log leaders Orapa United and the ever-improving Jwaneng Galaxy. The two richly-resourced sides will go into this game baying for blood, with Orapa hoping for a grip on the title chart while their Jwaneng counterparts will want to protect their Top 8 position. Orapa were frustrated by Gunners last Saturday and they had to dig deep into the second half to salvage a draw.

While they have struggled away this season, Orapa are ruthless at home and they would want to continue their fine home run. But they need to tread carefully if they are to overcome Philani Mabena’s Galaxy of stars. A table of the games played in 2016 alone puts Galaxy at the top after an impressive showing this calendar year. For the first time this season, Galaxy’s performances on the field of play justify their financial muscle and the recent success has largely been attributed to Mabena’s arrival. Kick-off is at 1600hrs on Saturday

BDF XI VS MOTLAKASE
After falling to Galaxy a fortnight ago, BDF XI returned to winning ways when they humbled BR Highlanders in Serowe on Saturday. The win was a big boost for the soldiers after the management was disappointed with the team’s showing a week earlier. BDF XI rode on their luck after Miscellaneous lost to United and they pulled to four points clear of fifth-placed Police XI.

Despite blowing hot and cold all season, results have been going their way and a top four finish is definitely on the cards. They meet a defiant Motlakase this weekend and the men from Palapye still believe they can avoid the dreaded axe. They narrowly went down to Township Rollers last Friday and they can be a nuisance for the army men.

Lying 15th on the table, Motlakase can only hope for other results to go their way if they are to survive relegation. It remains to be seen if newly appointed coach Oris Radipotsane will inspire his charges to victory and eventual survival.

GILPORT LIONS VS GREEN LOVERS
This fixture could be the most important of the round because relegation-threatened sides BR Highlanders and Motlakase Power Dynamos will be praying that this fixture ends in a draw. Lions and Lovers are the two teams in safety positions that are closest to the relegation zone. Lying 12th and 13th respectively on the log, only a win for either side can ensure a true passage to safety.

At the end of his side’s loss to Police XI last Sunday, Lions’ coach Mandivenga Paradzayi rued missed chances and said that his team is playing well. The Zimbabwean said that he was concerned with the way his attacking players fail to convert chances. Only new recruit Kenanao Kgetholetsile got a pat on the back from the coach after the game as he continues to impress since his move from Galaxy.

Lovers on the other hand would be worried about the distance to be travelled to Gaborone after another daunting trip to Maun. The Serowe side did well to avoid defeat against Sankoyo but this time a draw won’t be enough against the team sitting just a place above them on the log. Lovers’ youngsters will have their work cut out against Lions after the latter made some strong reinforcements last month. Kickoff is at 1600hrs on Sunday.

Published in Sports

The recent withdrawal of beMOBILE Premier League defending champions, Mochudi Centre Chiefs from the CAF Champions League has rekindled the call for local clubs to be assisted to compete in Africa.

Chiefs are the latest club to taste the bitter pill served by Botswana National Sports Commission’s decision to stop funding local teams’ participation in Pan-African competitions. Chiefs had been complaining about lack of funds to honour their CAF Champions League fixture against Club Maxican of Mozambique before eventually withdrawing from the competition recently.

In the past seasons, sponsors for different main competitions - the league and FA cup – partly financed the clubs when they participated in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup respectively. The last time the BNSC funded a team was three seasons ago when they funded the then league champions - Centre Chiefs - to the tune of P50 000 while league sponsors beMOBILE injected P250 000 to enable them to travel to Mozambique for their preliminary qualifier where they played to a goalless draw and later won by a solitary goal at home to progress to the next stage.

They then met Congolese side TP Mazembe in the next round of the competition where they were eventually booted out after two legs. Although Chiefs did not qualify for the group stages after succumbing to Mazembe, the financial spin-offs from their participation in Africa’s premier competition were historical. They managed to successfully sell three of their prized assets - Dirang Moloi, Phenyo Mongala and Jerome Ramatlhakwane - to Mazembe’s sister club Don Bosco. Chiefs’ investment through a CAF competition was only preceded by BDF XI, who had earlier sold Modiri Marumo to Egyptian League club, Haras Alhadude.

At national level the technical team that participates in these Pan-African competitions also tends to acquire the requisite experience by playing different opponents. The same is also true for the players.The bulk of players who form the national team come from clubs that win either the league or premier cup, which each give the ticket to the CAF competitions.

This year, Chiefs and Mascom Top 8 cup winners Gaborone United were expected to traverse the African continent to try their fortunes, but only United have remained committed to participating in the CAF Confederations Cup.  These latest developments have forced club officials to call on government through the football association to make a special budget that could cater for such competitions. Chiefs’ spokesperson Cliford Mogomotsi called for immediate intervention.

“BFA must budget for these competitions to assist local teams. It is expensive to be in these competitions even for a big team like Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa,” he said.He added that participation in CAF competitions is no longer about clubs but the country. Meanwhile United’s Chairman Rapula Okaile, whose team will be travelling to Zanzibar for their opening CAF fixture, said they will be approaching Top 8 sponsors Mascom to find out how much money they will be getting.He reckons that the benefits of participating in CAF are massive, citing the exposure players get, which in turn benefits the national team.

To tell the commission’s side of the matter, the BNSC Chairman Solly Reikeletseng had not returned to this publication by press time despite earlier promises to do so. On the other hand, BG Sport sources revealed that league sponsors beMOBILE have asked BPL to make a fresh proposal regarding club funding since the BFA had omitted club funding in CAF competitions in the current sponsorship deal. The beMOBLIE sponsorship manager’s phone rang unanswered at press time.

Published in Sports
Monday, 02 November 2015 16:29

Mascom Top 8: Rollers the team to beat

In what seems to be a closely contested football season, the balance of power rests with Township Rollers as Season 5 of the Mascom Top 8 tournament commences. 

Mapalastina, as Rollers are popularly known, have been mighty and relentless in their 2015/16 beMOBILE premiership campaign having maintained a nine game winning streak including three draws. However, the Top 8 is literally a whole new ball game. It is a sprint race where rivals are fully aware of what is at stake. And it is a lot. Tournament sponsors Mascom Wireless are dangling a seven figure P1, 200 000 first prize money to the eight teams who only have to play five games to catch the lucrative carrot.

Teams that have qualified for Top 8 along with Rollers include tournament rookies Orapa United, Extension Gunners, Gilport Lions, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Police XI and BDF XI and reigning cup champions Gaborone United. Thus far the only teams in this competition that have been keeping Rollers in check within the first half of the current season’s league log standings are Orapa United and BDF XI, and perhaps Mapalastina may feel that they do not have much threat towards the coveted crown given the form of their opponents. In their radar is also Mochudi Centre Chiefs who have never tasted Top 8 success, let alone reach the final of the competition.

The royalty outfit from Kgatleng however, may just be the side to watch this fifth season of the competition. The hurt of never having been able to win this cup with the quality in the arsenal they possess might just spur their desire to snatch it. Thus attention may just be given to the wrong sides, with Mapalastina already seen as the overwhelming favourites. Of course they are; they come into the tournament with fire in their bellies after finishing the last season with no silverware.  It was actually the Blues who won the very first Top 8 trophy and have since made it to three finals of the tournament. Yet they have failed in all the latter attempts. That notwhithstanding, they have everything going for them as   Englishman headcoach Mark Harrison seems to be making his combinations work well for him.

Harrison’s attack comprises fancy names like Joel Mogorosi, Segolame Boy, Carl Fannigan and Jerome Louis. Besides a terrifying attack force, Harrison has the likes of Kabelo Dambe between the goal posts as well as   experience in defence and midfield.
Their journey to glory has a tricky Police XI waiting on the wings. They first have to dispose of the stubborn cops whom they meet in the quarterfinals slated for this Saturday at the National Stadium.Hot on the heels of Rollers going into the tournament are dark horses - or rather dark Ostriches - from Orapa. The Ostriches’ giant killing abilities should not be underestimated and with an illustrious headcoach in Madinda Ndlovu, it will be no surprise when the tournament rookies leave a number of high profile upsets in their wake. Ndlovu will be gunning for his first cup with his new team. The Zimbabwean will also be looking for the personal gratification of beating his former employers in Chiefs and Rollers to the crown. But first they have to contend with an ailing but dangerous Extension Gunners who are yet to win a match in over a month.

Forget their poor run though, under new coach Daniel Nare, Gunners’ display is a marvel to watch and only ill-luck has seen them fail to beat their opponents in their two recent games, the best example being their loss to Rollers last week. They play tournament’s opener this Thursday night at the Itekeng Stadium in Orapa.Army men, BDF XI, are the other contenders for the Season 5 championship. They have won it before, and perhaps having tasted the blood, the soldiers could go all out to repeat their 2013/14 feat when they beat Rollers 5-4 on penalties to win the tournament. Yet they will be up against defending champions Gaborone United who are coming into the tournament in the worst shape possible.

The Reds currently have issues in their technical department that culminated in the firing of their Top 8 winning coach Rahman Gumbo. When the two sides meet on Sunday in Molepolole, United will be under Serbian coach Dragojlo Stanojlovic who will be assisted by former Galaxy man Oris Radipotsane. Meanwhile, before the pomp, fanfare, colour and splendour of the Top 8 runs into the weekend proper, there will be an important matter of league champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs having to take care of tournament minnows Gilport Lions.

The Lions who have taken over the MmaMasire enclave have been on fire of late, scoring goals as if for fun. But in Chiefs they meet the one side yearning for restored pride, and the honeymoon of their P6 million sponsorship may soon be made a subject of distant memory. The teams meet at the Serowe Sports Complex this Friday night. 

Published in Sports
Monday, 02 November 2015 16:23

Moyo stands face to face with Police XI axe

Back to back losses in the beMobile Premiership have placed Police XI head coach Maxwell Moyo under immense pressure to deliver a positive result. His face was all anger and frustration when he flatly refused to speak to the media at the end of his side’s 2-1 beating at the hands of Green Lovers on Saturday.

Moyo remained rooted to his seat throughout the entire 90 minutes with assistant coach Maitumelo Letlaamoreng doing all the shouting. The cops came into the game gunning for maximum points after losing against Orapa United, Miscellaneous and Mochudi Centre Chiefs. This was after an impressive start to the campaign which saw them top of the standings at one point.Their hopes of returning to fine form were extinguished as early as the third minute when Lovers drew first blood through Matthews Moruti, who headed home superbly feeding off a cross by Kudakwashe Manuwere. But Tapiwa Gadibolae would later level matters for Police from close range,  thus provoking Lovers who quickly responded in five minutes when Moatlhodi Ralesotla combined well with Rentse Keakabetse to set up Tumo Keiketlile to score from outside the box in restoring their lead.

The second half saw Lovers bossing Police for most parts of the game and their usually leaky defence remained resolute as they held on to win the game. Moyo shook his head in disbelief as he walked towards the dressing room and his assistant Letlaamoreng rescued him by agreeing to speak to the media. “We lost today and we accept defeat. We let in two silly goals and we were chasing the game throughout,” he told BG Sport. Letlaamoreng did not want to talk about why he was doing all the talking while Moyo was seated and said that they have a good working relationship.

Police General Manager Jonas Basupi said in a separate interview that it was too early to press panic buttons, yet he added that something needed to be fixed nonetheless. “Management met with the technical team this week to come up with solutions to get out of the recent slump,” he said, declining to divulge the exact details of the meeting and stressing that Moyo’s job remains safe. If the team continues to struggle Moyo might see himself axed, and become the fifth coach to part company with his elite league team this season.

His team has their work cut out in the next month - three consecutive fixtures against rampant log leaders Township Rollers. The two begin their first duel this weekend in the first leg of the Mascom Top 8 quarter final. The next game will be a league encounter followed by the Mascom Top 8 quarter final’s second leg. Any failure in these encounters may just spring the Police XI management in to action to reveal exactly what the team manager means by saying ‘something has to be fixed.”

Published in Sports
Monday, 12 October 2015 10:51

BFA pleads for restraint at Zebras match

Ahead of the Tuesday World Cup qualifier match between Botswana and Eritrea to be hosted at the Francistown Sports Complex, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has already pressed panic buttons over the possibility of supporters invading the pitch as they did last month.

A worried BFA CEO Kitso Kemoeng flew into Francistown to implore relevant stakeholders in the city to assist in sensitising  football fans about the dire consequences of invading a football pitch after a game. His plea comes on the backdrop of a recent incident in which excited Zebras fans invaded the pitch following their team’s victory over the Stallions of Burkina Faso. FIFA slapped the BFA with a fine of US$5 000, an equivalent of just over P50 000.  “I accept that people did that out of excitement but such behavior should not be condoned as this time around the punishment might involve a deduction of points. The penalty amount could have been used to pay bonuses and appearance fees for players,” he said this Wednesday.

Kemoeng further explained why the game would be played on a week day rather than on a weekend, saying that FIFA gave Eritrea three days between October 8 and 10 to host the first leg while Botswana was given between October 11 and 13. With Eritrea choosing October 10, Botswana was forced to go further to October 13 to host the second leg to allow for time to rest between the two matches.“Initially, the game was expected to start at 1900hrs, but to avoid a clash with the seven o’clock television news, we are yet to make arrangements to shift the starting time of the game to 2000hrs,” he said. The BFA CEO also congratulated Francistown City authorities for a job well done during the past game against Burkina Faso.

Deputy Divisional Traffic commander North Pelontle Kesupile revealed that following the headaches caused by the traffic jam experienced in the last game at the stadium, they had decided to close the A3 road leading to Maun and Orapa. “Motorists travelling along the A3 road will be given free access to pass and no one attending the match will be allowed to park along the road. In fact, we have already made arrangements with the town council to put up no-parking signs along the road next to the Stadium to avoid traffic congestion.

Those who will ignore the sign will earn themselves a ticket of P1000,” he warned.  As if that was not enough, the traffic boss revealed that after the game, all cars parked at the eastern side of the stadium will have to use Monarch road on their way out of the stadium whereas those parked at the western stands of the stadium will have to wait for the teams and VIPs to vacate the stadium before they are given a chance to also leave.  As for alcoholic beverages, the police chief warned that whoever will be caught with beer will be detained in the holding cells available in the stadium.  “Lastly, we will also deploy uniformed and plain clothed police officers to safe guard cars of football lovers from petty thieves who have made it a habit to deprive people of their valuables,” he said.

Published in Sports
Monday, 12 October 2015 09:57

Rollers on a brink of collapse

The current management of Township Rollers seems to be engaged in a dangerous game that might see the club go down the drain. At press time by Wednesday evening this week, they were locked up in a meeting with Jagdish Shah in their effort to get him to be the one to finance the club instead of Somerset Gobuiwang.

Both Shah and Gobuiwang have a share of 40 percent apiece in a company called Township Holdings – the same company that has been serving as the business arm of Township Rollers FC until the high court recently ruled that the company has no business running the affairs of the club. The club in turn has a 20 percent stake in the company, but in monetary terms, it has been the two directors Shah and Somerset who were bankrolling the club. Recently however, there has been a reported fall out between the two men, with Shah reiterating his stance this Wednesday that he cannot work with Somerset anymore.

This comes on the backdrop of the court judgement that actually left either of the directors left in a position where any assistance to the club would be seen as just a kind gesture with no strings attached. Legally, a private company cannot run the affairs of a society, the high court judgement insinuated. This forced a hastily-composed interim committee that runs the club to work out a way to get Township Holdings to continue assisting the club without contravening the order of the court. The club committee was recently asked to engage the two company directors to map a way forward, but there was the issue of Shah stating that whatever happens, he will not want to work with Gobuiwang.

Caught in the horns of a dilemma, the committee had to make a decision as to who to go with, and at this Wednesday’s meeting, they were to offer Shah a chance to invest in the club without the involvement of Gobuiwang. Yet that same Wednesday afternoon some hour or minutes before the meeting, Shah was still an angry man at the way Rollers’ management has treated him. Shah minced no words when he told BG Sports in an interview that he was not impressed with the attitude of the club. Although he confirmed he would be meeting the club, he still expressed disdain at the manner he had been treated. “Just last week they had a meeting and I was not invited, yet I am the one they are asking to assist the club financially. Incidentally, Somerset was invited to that meeting. Clearly it shows they don’t  want me. The best they ask me is how I can work with Somerset.

I cannot work with him, we have different opinions on how to do things.” he said, adding that he was a frustrated man at the turn of events.Somerset on the other hand is reported to have made it known that he has no problem working with Shah and that he is still prepared to continue assisting Rollers as he has always done before he brought in Shah. In bringing in Shah to Rollers a couple of years ago, he had admitted to his drying coffers and needed someone to help cushion his spending at the club. This Wednesday, he declined to comment on the ensuing saga at the club, saying he had no mandate to talk on club affairs and related issues. “Anything relating to Township Rollers can be sourced from Phempheretlhe Pheto, he is the club’s official spokesperson,” Gobuiwang told BG Sport.

The unfolding events of Wednesday clearly showed that the Rollers’ management had decided to dump Gobuiwang and flirt with Shah instead. Still Gobuiwang declined when asked what his future was with the club. Reports suggest some in the Rollers’ management decided that financially, they could trust Shah rather than Gobuiwang whom they reportedly dismissed as having no money to afford the Rollers’ expenses. It is for this reason that they met Shah on Wednesday evening, the outcome of which was unknown when this publication went for print. It thus remains to be seen if the Rollers’ committee might have managed to make Shah have a change of heart. This Wednesday afternoon ahead of the meeting, Shah could not dismiss the possibility of him jumping ship as had been widely reported. Asked to confirm rumours of him being courted by Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Shah could only say, “Right now I am like a player during a transfer window.

I am a free agent and everybody is approaching me and asking me to join them instead.”
Rollers’ plan was to ask Shah to continue financing the club while the committee worked on forming a new company in which they would give him majority shareholding. In the process, Gobuiwang would be left in limbo. What is not clear however is if Shah would accept the plan, failing which the club might have to humble itself before Gobuiwang whom they have already labelled broke. And what if Somerset also moves on away from the club after showing him he was not their preferred man? Only the outcome of the Wednesday meeting will show clarity on where the club is headed. Should Shah jump ship, it will be like rubbing  salt on an already bleeding wound for Rollers.

There are worries over salaries of players, some of which reportedly go up to P40 000 per month. Some within the club posit that even if he were to leave, the society will still not be answerable to players’ salaries. They argue that the salaries are an agreement between Township Holdings and the players. Such is the Pandora box that is about to be open at Rollers should things not go the committee’s way. In the meantime, it is documented that the club’s supporters are divided on the choice between Shah and Gobuiwang, with some pleading for the two men to smoke a peace pipe on whatever got between them.

Published in Sports
Monday, 28 September 2015 15:01

Zebras legends take on Kenya

Former national team players are expected to take on their Kenyan counterparts as part of this year’s independence celebrations in the northern town of Maun next week Tuesday. The game, which will be part of the count down to the grand 50th Independence celebration next year, is the brainchild of local football legend Dipsy Selolwane and the Botswana Footballers Union.

In an interview this week, Selolwane said football fans in Maun should be prepared to see him play with some local legends, including those he has never played with in his illustrious career. The said game is set to take place a day before Independence Day where the national team is expected to play against Ethiopia. Selolwane dropped names of acclaimed players like Tumi Duiker, Sox Molwantwa, Mpho Mabogo and others as those likely to play against Kenya XI legends. The Kenya team is likely to include the likes of Musa Otieno who formerly played for Cape Town Santos.

Moreover, Selolwane explained that the game will be a prelude to a much bigger 50th  independence celebration game where Zebras XI will take on an Africa XI select. “Before the main game in Maun, there will be a curtain raiser match that will pit   local business people and politicians against some football legends from the   area.

Before then, the organisers will organise training clinics at local schools,” he said. Selolwane, who previously organised a testimonial game between his former team Gaborone United and SA’s Platinum stars, said staging the game in Maun was part of a communication strategy to spread the message of football throughout the country.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 12:28

BPL offers Mamelodi contract extension to 2017

Botswana Premier League board this week offered their CEO Bennett Mamelodi a contract extension of two more years. BG Sport can safely reveal that the decision was made this Wednesday at a meeting of the board members held at the Grand Palm Hotel. 

Mamelodi currently has a running contract that is set to expire in November and the board members had to make a decision in time to allow the CEO time to think about his future. The contract has been a subject of discussion for the better part of this year with uncertainty hovering on Mamelodi’s future as the board was divided on his further engagement.

This publication can further reveal that it will be an improved contract that will see the CEO earn a basic monthly salary in the region of P50K plus other incentives that include gratuity and a house allowance amongst peripheral benefits. Mamelodi was initially brought in to the league by the then BPL chairman Mokganedi Molefhe with the mandate to bring in sponsors for the league. He played a major role in the romping in of sponsors such as beMOBILE in the era of Setete Phuthego who led the league as General Manager, and also presided over the bringing in of Mascom as Top 8 sponsors. In addition, the CEO helped strike some strategic partnership deals with the likes of Grand Palm and mobile giants Huawei.

Despite this, there had been some unsatisfied elements within the football fraternity who felt that Mamelodi had done nothing to warrant any further offer of a contract. Names were even bandied around as suggestions of who could take over.  But BPL chairman Walter Kgabung denied that there were ever doubts over the abilities of Mamelodi, saying he and his board members have always believed in their man, hence the new and improved package for him. This he said on the backdrop of some sentiments that the BPL could have advertised the position so as to attract fresh talent. Some pundits have even averred that the BPL was acting under pressure because of uncertainties surrounding his continued stay as some South African sport entities were beginning to inquire about his availability with the view of pricing him away.  But Kgabung reiterated that they acted under no pressure but out of the belief that Mamelodi still has a lot to offer to the league.

“We believe in the incumbent, and we have no doubt he is the right man for the job at hand,”  Kgabung told BG Sport. Earlier this week, the BPL  sent out invitations for a Thursday press conference where they were expected to make an announcement on the status of the CEO and his contract. The chairman however added that the league still needs more money to be pumped into the league, an assignment that once again will fall on the lap of Mamelodi should he accept the new contract. “The running of the league needs to be improved and we want it to be a safe place for everyone who wants to attend games. We need to work on avoiding congestions at the gates,” Kgabung added. At the time of going to press on Wednesday evening, Mamelodi told BG Sport that he was in the dark about any new contract. “It’s news to me. I am not aware of the new contract because no such information has reached me. All I can say is that I have a running contract that ends in November. I came here purely to grow football in Botswana and lead Botswana football towards professionalism, and  I can only stay as long as I am needed,” he told BG Sport.

Published in Sports

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