Saturday, December 4, 2021

Botswana football reaches cul-de-sac

The sorry state of football in Botswana is deepening following alleged TV deal collapse and sponsors shying away from local football.

With the football fraternity awaiting sponsorship indicators promised by the Botswana Football League (BFL) at the end of July 2021, it has emerged that a dark cloud is hovering over the independent BFL.

The BFL is reportedly struggling to find sponsors with reports indicating that the ABSA sponsorship has also elapsed.

The local football mother body, Botswana Football Association (BFA) took a decision to run the 2021/22 league season from 28th August 2021 until 29th May 2022.

“The BFL is stuck as they are yet to secure anything concrete to sustain just a single season. It is not easy to play football through a pandemic as it is expensive hence the BFL has a responsibility to assist clubs but as it stands there is nothing at all as the TV deal has allegedly fallen,’’ revealed the source.

While the BFL was given autonomy, it is expected to lure sponsors and commercialise the game. However, it has emerged that pundits are of a view that the BFL lacks shrewd administrators following the exit of the likes of business gurus Nicolas Zackhem and Jagdish Shah.

It is said that the broadcasting deal allegedly spearheaded by the duo of Shah and Zackhem had taken shape and has since been dealt a blow since their departure.

“At this point football concept is expensive as fans are barred from stadiums and the need for games to be televised. Clubs need to get funds from TV rights to sustain and grants are essential at this moment. It was expected that the BFL will lure more sponsors and partners but it looks like the only achievement of the BFL was only during the times of Shah and Zackhem while the current top brass are yet to bring anything to the table,’’ a source narrated to Sunday Standard.

With resistance from companies to partner with BFL, the entity’s coffers are allegedly dry and the CEO under the BFA payroll. In an interview with Sunday Standard, Ramochotlhwane downplayed the TV deal saying it still stands and acknowledging expiry of their matrimony with ABSA.

“We are still in negotiations with a number of potential sponsors but still in constant engagement with ABSA as the deal has elapsed. Post covid 19 impact on businesses has been a challenge and as a new entity we are not yet financially independent and welcome any assistance we can get,’’ said Ramochotlhwane.

He said they intend to start the league as proposed despite challenges ahead. “There has been a relief fund from the BFA but our plan is to start the league with all things being equal,’’ said Ramochotlhwane.

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