Ghosts of unpaid allowances back to haunt Zebras

27 Aug 2018

“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” so goes a saying by Shakespeare in Macbeth.

For the Botswana senior national football team, The Zebras, these sayings may have an even better meaning.

Regime upon regime, the Zebras have been promised better payment system, and yet nothing ever suffices.

Year in and year out, the nation has got used to uncertainties over whether their national team will boycott national duties due to unpaid allowances.

Going into the crucial 2019 Afcon qualifiers games which are scheduled to resume early next month, a dark cloud is seemingly hovering over the Zebras camp due to outstanding allowances.

The Zebras are set to play against Angola early next month, followed by a clash with Burkina Faso in October and then a reverse leg match against Mauritania in November.

However, ahead of these crucial encounters, Sunday Standard has established that the shambolic non-payment syndrome is catching up with the Botswana Football Association (BFA) with players still awaiting allowances after competing at the COSAFA cup that was held in South Africa during the off season in May.

It is said that despite grievances over unpaid allowances, players have kept silent as they fear victimisation from the Botswana Football Association (BFA) top brass if they are to demand their overdue payments.

With the nation demanding positive results from the national team, sources have revealed that the Zebras camp is destructed by delayed allowances that forces demoralised players to represent country on empty stomachs as majority of players depend on football.

“The situation with concern to players welfare has not changed at the BFA even after the 2017 strike that forced the Zebras to leave for the COSAFA cup late when players held nation at ransom over unpaid allowances. Since players returned from the 2018 COSAFA cup edition three months ago, they are still to be paid their allowances and nothing is being communicated to them despite crucial Afcon qualifier encounters ahead,” a source told Sunday Standard.

Players on national duty are paid P100 daily allowance on camp, P2 000 appearance fee, P1 500 as winning bonus and P750 for a draw while the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) pays P3 500 appearance fee for all official assignments and a P1 500 monthly allowance which proves to be a challenge for players to get.

With the Zebras expected to assemble for camp today, BFA mouthpiece Tumo Mpatane said the association is working around the clock to cover all outstanding allowances ahead of the Angola match.

“The BFA has done its part in players’ welfare and the only outstanding balance is the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) allowances. We have followed the request channels at the BNSC and we are doing our best to make sure that all is covered going into the Afcon qualifiers,’’ Mpatane told Sunday Standard.

Mpatane said they are working hard on making sure that players are paid allowances well in time in future.

“While there have been delays in the payment method, processes are ongoing to remedy the situation and pay players allowances in a reasonable space of time,” said Mpatane.