The announcement of the 2017/2018 Botswana Premier League season awards winners has caused uproar as people question the integrity of the nomination system.
Following the low key announcement of the winners, there are already murmurs of disapproval as some football followers opine the BPL the awards may have been staged just to save face ahead of the start of the new season.
Since the era of super league, the awards were staged every season without fail and it is unprecedented for the league not to stage the awards. The criterion used to nominate the winners is already being questioned by some local football followers who say the selection process may be suspect.
For some, the point of reference is the Players’ Player of the Season award, which has been given to Township Rollers’ Edwin Moalosi.
Players who talked to this publication on condition of confidentiality revealed that they have never voted nor participated in the voting for the players’ player of the season.
As procedure dictates, for Players’ Player of the season award, players are given forms to choose or vote for the player they think had a good season.
“We were never given forms to vote for the players’ player of the season. We don’t know how they came to the conclusion that Moalosi is the winner,” they said.
Rollers players also shared the same sentiments that they have never been given forms to vote for the player they thought deserved to be awarded players’ player of the season.
Reached for comment, local football commentator Molatlhegi Mangole opined that the way things were done has exposed maladministration at the premier league. “Those players who performed better were not there in the nominee list and one wonder why were they excluded,” said Mangole.
He is of the view that the fact that there are players who attracted scouts and have since joined teams outside Botswana shows that they were outstanding.
“People no longer trust premier league awards because it has since proven that they are biased. It is like people who nominate players only focus on certain players and put a blind eye on other players who are doing well. Players like Orebotse and Thatayaone Kgamanyane were nowhere to be seen on the nominee list yet they performed well in the past season to the extent of attracting scouts and eventfully signing with South Africa top teams. One wonders how they missed the local awards selectors,” observed Mangole.
According to Mangole the league sponsor did not want to be associated with the awards because the league was not well organised.
“Some games could not take place because players boycotted training, in other games players were fighting and in one match one team played wearing training bibs,” said Mangole.
For his part, football analyst Jimmy George was shocked to have learnt that the names of the winners had been released without a ceremony and that the winners were asked to contact the league office for prizes. “To them it was all about money not about recognition?” said George.
Commenting on the cancellation of awards George wondered “what kind of a league are we running. BPL should not be taken seriously, they are a joke.”
George said there is no word to describe or justify the cancelation of the awards ceremony, “It is a slap on the face of football followers and clubs. How do you participate for a year and told there are no awards?” questioned George.
According to George, BPL’s act of cancelling the awards is putting the name of football into the disrepute. “What the BPL has done can only happen in Botswana it has never happened anywhere in the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, Moalosi is the biggest winner of the BPL season awards, with the winger claiming two big awards. Aside from the Players’ Player of the season award, the diminutive forward has also been named BPL Player of the season.
Other winners are top goal scorer Thatayaone Kgamanyane, Goal Keeper of the season went to Keagile Kgosipula and Young Player of the season went to Kitso Mangala. Rollers coach Nikola Kavazovic won the coach of the season award. The speedy Joshua Bondo won the Referee’s award and Moemedi Monakwane won the assistant referees’ award.