Thursday, January 21, 2021

BDF XI’s raid on community teams continues

The problems between community and constitutional teams seem to be far from over. As in most cases, fingers are pointed at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) XI for milking the community teams of their best players.

After hitting Notwane where it hurts the most last season, BDF XI is now after a Gaborone United (GU) player.

They are on the verger of recruiting, GU and former Under 23’s enterprising winger, Molatedi Mabina.
Mabina has already been short-listed for officer cadets recruitment that will soon be held at the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks.

GU is already up in arms, blaming BDF XI for, once again, applying dirty tactics to entice their best talent.

A GU official who preferred to remain anonymous told Sunday Standard that BDF are defying the spirit of soccer by using employment power to lure their best players.

“Most of the players BDF recruit end up being redundant because some end up losing interest because they earn money. Some of such players are the ones who can even make it outside the country. What is surprising is that BDF XI does not communicate to teams when they want certain players; we just hear that our players have been recruited. This should come to an end and proper mechanisms should be put in place,” the official said.

GU knows very well the pain of losing star players to institutional teams. A few years ago, they lost Nelson ‘Viola’ Gabolwelwe to the same BDF and another player, Ditaola Ditaola, to Police XI.
By the time GU lost their then great assets, things did not go well for the team and it ended up being relegated to the First Division and it took them five years to come back to the premier league.

On the other hand, BDF XI applied the same tactics last year and snatched Notwane’s best striker, Jones Kwape. Notwane management then alleged that they only heard through the newspapers that their player was an army recruit. They said BDF did not say anything to them regarding the transfer of the player.

Since Kwape left Notwane, they are yet to find his suitable replacement because the team is struggling upfront.

However, BDF XI’s spokesperson, Spencer Kesebonye, has quashed GU concerns saying it is something beyond the control of Notwane and even BDF XI sporting club.

“People need to distinguish between BDF as an army and BDF XI sporting club. At BDF XI we are mainly dealing with sports matters and have nothing to do with recruitment of personnel. The recruitment of BDF cadets is done by an independent body free of any influence. I am also not even aware that among the short-listed recruits is a GU player,” he said.

Kesebonye also added that even if the GU player happens to join BDF, it is his own choice because it is a lifetime job compared to football. “Football is a short-term career that takes about five years while an employment in BDF takes many years. Obviously that means the boy is looking for a decent living and people should leave kids to make their own choices as long as it is benefiting their well being,” he said. Mabina has been a revelation for GU last season and helped them to the runners up position. His flashing speed on the right wing always leaves many defenders flummoxed.

Mabina was even part of the national Under 23 team that made wonders when they trounced several tough African powerhouse teams. His biggest break where he left a mark was at the Eight Nations Tournament held in South Africa last year.
His exploits led Botswana to winning the silver medal.


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