Friday, July 10, 2020

BPL TEAMS WANT BFA TO GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

The Botswana Premier League (BPL) teams have come out into the open as the BPL ship sinks slowly.

Even though the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has assured the BPL board that it is working around the clock to secure them a sponsorship, things are not as clear cut.

While the BFA has backed its word by luring ABSA to come on board, which was a very welcome relief, the association will still be sweating bullets to find sponsors to augment what it gets for its Premier league brand.

Speaking on the current situation at the premier league, Boitumelo Nsunga of Gaborone United said it would not be a shame if the BFA could stop all football activities and start a road map that can assist the beautiful game further.

“It is without doubt that our football is not properly organised because no one can expect a good product from a disorganised body,” Nsunga said.

He noted that something needs to be done urgently as teams are also struggling financially.

“The BFA should go back to the drawing board if we are to secure a prominent sponsor. As long as football is not run professionally sponsors will not come and those who come will not last,” he opined.

“This is business and nobody is prepared to throw away their hard earned cash without return on investment,” Nsunga said.

“If countries like Namibia and Lesotho who failed in football but managed to retrace their steps, why can’t we do the same?” he asked.

Nsunga went on to state; “It is important that we have proper structures that will be able to run a professional setup, if you are not ready then do not do it.”

He went on to state that for Botswana national teams to do well, local teams should first be able to compete at international level.

“Look at countries like Namibia and Lesotho, they are now on the right track because they were prepared to do right,” he said.

On whether gate takings can be counted on as a source of extra income, the GU Chairman hinted that even though gate takings do help teams to make extra income, it is however difficult to plan well given the chopping and changing of fixtures.

“Given the financial crisis, the BPL should let teams have season tickets and market themselves to the corporate world in order to make money. However, this can only happen with consistency in the fixtures not where games are changed at the last minute without notice” Nsunga offered.

As one of the leading teams in the premier league, the BDF VI team manager, Omphitlhetse Tlhobogang said, looking at the current state of affairs in the different clubs this comes as a blessing in disguise.

He said the situation calls for BPL to intensely introspect in order to identify sustainable solutions to issues at hand. Adding that this problems led supporters to stay home as what they are being offered in unattractive.

“Sharing price money equally during the course of the league is much more useful in that it addresses the operational needs of clubs because at the end of the season the money finds clubs crippled in debts,” he said.

“This situation needs clubs to visit their pay structures with a view to very significantly cut their wage bills. We are going to be forced to drop some of our good players in order to address a balance in finances because this is a call for level ground,” said Tlhobogang.

He highlighted that as a way of survival, sources of income will come from replicas and membership cards.

Tlhobogang expressed optimism that with arrival of Errol Dicks as the new marketing Officer at the BFA, things can only get better.

He said given Dicks’ track record, he is optimistic he will successfully fulfil his mandate to assist with robust marketing plans ‘aimed at repackaging our brands in a much appealing way,’ something which will help local football.

As things stand, Tlhobogang noted that no matter how hard it may get from now on, the league should not be stopped as the delay of it will further aggravates the already tainted environment.

Instead, he said the BPL must come up with improved plans and structures that will convince stakeholders that they are on track to revive the sport.

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.