2013 was eventful and dramatic for football in Botswana. Sunday Standard Sports journalist, Tshepho Bogosing picked some of the highlights.
The major talking point among local footballers was the sale of Notwane to one Gift Mogapi. He promised the team heaven and earth but delivered hell. He brought in former big name players from South African Premier League to his team: Benedict Vilakazi, Manqoba Ngwenya and coach, Simon Ngomane. The players were to be the best paid in Botswana, but hell had the better of his intentions. Players started complaining that they had not been paid and had not been given contracts. This went on for about three months.
Mogapi was even reported to have collected the team’s annual grant from the Premier League which was P100 000 and some gate takings. The Mogapi issue tainted Botswana’s football image internationally because even the vibrant South Africa Media picked the issue about their two players. Both Ngwenya and Vilakazi ended up leaving Notwane for BMC and Township Rollers respectively while coach Ngomane ended up going back home. Currently there is a legal dispute between Notwane supporters and Mogapi. The supporters want their team back because Mogapi failed to put money in the team and currently supporters have to go cap in hand to raise money for the team.
Mogapi is currently fighting to have the P90 000 television rights proceeds deposited in his account. It remains to be seen how the courts will decide on the issue.
Mochudi Centre Chiefs mayhem
The recent friendly match between Botswana’s champions, Mochudi Center Chiefs and South African champions, Kaizer Chiefs put the leadership of the Botswana Premier League in the spotlight. Premier League decided to postpone the league encounter between Centre Chiefs and BDF XI to squeeze in Kaizer Chiefs friendly. This did not go down well with BDF XI and the soccer fraternity in general. BDF contended that they were not consulted when the negotiations took place despite being affected. Many people in soccer questioned the motive behind the match. Premier League and Centre Chiefs defended themselves saying Kaizer Chiefs is a popular brand in Africa and they should be used to market local soccer. BDF ended up going to court and successfully challenging the postponement of their match with Center Chiefs. That meant Centre Chiefs had to play two matches in the space of two days against both Kaizer Chiefs and BDF XI. More drama unfolded during Centre Chiefs and Kaizer Chiefs match. When the second half was supposed to start Centre Chiefs players refused to play demanding their appearance fees. They resumed the game after being persuaded by some officials. Centre Chiefs ended up losing 3-0 to Kaizer Chiefs and 2-0 to BDF XI.
As if that was enough for Centre Chiefs, their poor luck seemed to follow them to the Mascom Top Eight encounter with Township Rollers. After losing the first leg 3-2, Chiefs needed to win the second leg by two clear goals. They took a healthy two goals lead until towards the dying minutes of the second half when Rollers equalized through a penalty. Chiefs protested saying the penalty was dubious. After the match some Chiefs players and officials surrounded the referee and bitter words and blows were exchanged. Two key players; Pontsho Moloi and Michael Mogaladi and an official, Sebele Morakanyane were suspended by the Premier League for bringing the match into disrepute.
Just few days back, Centre Chiefs were once again back in the news for axing their top three players being versatile and international player, Tshepo Motlhabankwe, Amos Godirwang and Kago Nfila. No official reasons have been given on the axing of the trio. The most surprising is Motlhabankwe who has been a pillar of strength for the team for the past six years and even for the senior national team. He is reported to be on the wanted list of BMC together with Godirwang.
Sacking of Zebras coach Stanley Tshosane
The failure by the senior national team to qualify for 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and the subsequent sacking of the senior national team, Stan Tshosane is one of the stories that made headlines. Tshosane was fired despite being the first coach to take Botswana to Africa Cup of Nations in 2012. His sacking did not come as a surprise because he was always decrying lack of support from the Botswana Football Association (BFA). When briefing the media, the BFA President, Tebogo Sebego said the coach was fired because he did not qualify the team to Afcon. He said they had given him the necessary support. Sebego said the lengthy camps Tshosane insisted on for the team were not cost effective. But Sebego was reminded at the press conference that long camps were bringing results for the Zebras like qualifying for 2012 Afcon.