Part of the Botswana Basketball Association (BBA) strategic goals for this year‘s league was to introduce development teams to develop young players. Eight (8) games since the league started, the players are competitive and fit. But the sponsor is nowhere to be found, yet.
To keep the league going, the BBA affiliated clubs are digging into their pockets. Their subscriptions are keeping the Botswana Basketball league (BBL) alive. Without them, the show will not go on.
The BBL chairperson Israel Mphato says team subscriptions are used to cover certain costs of running the league. The annual Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) grant given to BBA is not enough to run the league.
As a way to mitigate costs, the BBL continues to strive to get cheaper venues to host games. For the venue, Mphato explained that the costs depends whether it is a private or government institution and how much is negotiated.
“Private institutions are so expensive compared to Government institutions. Sometimes they charge us close to P2000.00 per weekend but government institutions can charge close to P300 per weekend. For the officials a referee is paid P50 per game and table officials P35 per game. The money is not enough for the officials. We cover the cost by using teams’ subscriptions. For now, there is no set subscription fee per club,” says Mphato, adding that “whatever a team pays in subscription fees depends on the number of players it has registered.
Each player in each team has to stump out P150 as player subscription fee. This by extension means the league is being run from the players’ pockets. This is the price teams and athletes have to pay to keep the balls bouncing. For them, this is nothing new. It is a norm. “Basketball has been running for many years without sponsor so it does not stop basketball from action. The players continue to work hard to sharpen their skills, they even get a call up for national teams”.
Currently BBL has two divisions in its own league. Division one is a senior teams’ league and division two is junior teams’ league. Division two consists of development teams as well as teams that have relegated from division 1 league.
On his part BBA technical director Shalosh Matsetse said, the grant barely covers costs and both leagues are run using the team’s league subscriptions. However, he added that the BBA public relations team are still in talks with potential partners for sponsorship. As they await the good Samaritans to come to their aid however, they soldier on. This is their game. They have to keep it alive.