Following the turmoil that engulfed local football and halted the start of the new football season, it is now all systems go for the Debswana First Division to start. Even though there are some little details yet to be finalised, both the country’s first division region leagues are said to be ready to kick off this coming Saturday.
This was confirmed by the Secretary General of First Division South Sydney Magagane and his counterpart from First Division North Rapula Gaothobogwe.
Speaking in separate interviews, both the First Division secretary generals said everything was in place for them to kick off their season. “While there are a couple of some outstanding matters yet to be resolved, overall, everything is in place for us to start the season. Our teams are ready and have been ready for a while now,” Magagane said.
The same sentiments were shared by his counterpart in the North, who said the region was ready to start as early as the beginning of last month (September). “We are ready for the season. If it was according to our plans, we could have started the season as early as September 4,” Gaothobogwe said. While both regions expressed they have had problems paying referees, they expressed hope that the issue would be resolved very soon. While Gaothobogwe could not put a time frame as to when the middlemen in the North will have been paid, his counterpart in the South said the plan
was to have them paid the monies they are owed this coming week. While the First Division South Secretary General could not reveal the amount of monies owed to referees, sources say the total amount owed to them stands around P30 000.
However, going into the new season, both secretary generals said they hoped the issue of late payments of the referees would be a thing of the past. They said under the new sponsorship, some monies had been set aside to pay the referees. On other issues still related to the first division, both Magagane and Gaothobogwe’s expectations were that all teams in the division will be paid their grant monies from the sponsor sometimes next week
The two officials say as part of the new sponsorship deal, each team will be given a P50 000 grant for the season. However, the deal is that teams will only be paid half their grants at the beginning of the season and the remaining P25 000 at the start of the second round of the season.
Meanwhile, First Division North will kick off their season with a salivating double header which is scheduled to be hosted at the Francistown Sports Complex this coming weekend. In the first match of the double header, Great North Tigers (GNT) will face Motlakase. In the South, six matches are scheduled to be played on the opening day of the season.