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BY DUNCAN KGANGKENNA
There are fears the Botswana Premier league (BPL) may once again fail to host the annual BTC premiership awards where excellence and outstanding performance are recognized and appreciated with a token.
Last season it was unprecedented that the league failed to stage the awards since the elite league was established. The top league is sponsored by Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).
In an interview with the BTC’s spokesperson, Golekanye Molapisi said: “We have not received a request from the BPL office to sponsor this year’s awards edition. Awards are administered and governed by the BPL office. If anything we are still to engage with them.”
The BPL chief executive officer (BPL CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang, commenting on allegations that the awards will not be staged like last season, said he is not aware of the allegations and could not comment on them but failed to confirm or deny if indeed they will host the awards.
When asked when the awards will be staged he said: “The BPL office will communicate that information once the BPL is ready with the details.”
When asked if the BTC will be sponsoring the awards or not he said he will give the answer once they have fully discussed with the league sponsor.
Ntshinogang further explained that he could not reveal the venue where the awards will be staged because they are yet to discuss it. “We have not yet discussed this because we need to clear some issues first with other relevant stakeholders” he told The Sunday Standard.
Last July the premier league issued a press statement informing stakeholders that the awards will not be staged. “Awards ceremony which was supposed to be held this week, 12/07/2018 will no longer be held. This is because BTC and BPL believe that the awards ceremony has been overtaken by events” read the press statement.
The winners of individual categories were later advised that they should collect their awards at the premier league office. Recently the BTC complained to the BFA for failing to honour contractual obligations.
According to the BTC and the BFA contract at least 60 premiership matches were to be broadcasted live on the national TV channel, BTV. With all the teams left with one game to complete the league there is no how the broadcasting partner is going to meet the target.
It is alleged that BTV only managed to broadcast almost half of the target. The other issue is that the league sponsor is not happy about the frequent and sudden change of fixtures.
Sometimes when the sponsor wanted to use certain fixtures to activate and market its products they would find fixtures changed making it difficult for them to plan properly.
“The BTC is also apparently not happy with the way the BPL secretariat is running the league. It is alleged the league is below par and lacks professionalism" said a source. The BTC argued that they were not getting value for the money they spent on the league.
The other thing that might cause the league not to have awards like last season is the engagement of the senior national team in the upcoming regional COSAFA cup challenge tournament.
COSAFA starts runs from the 25th May to the 08th June in Durban, South Africa. The other thing that might work against the hosting of awards is ongoing Orange FA Cup tournament.