Monday, April 12, 2021

Constituency league continues to cripple local football

The constituency league, which is the brainchild of President Ian Khama, continues to cripple football development across the country.

Most teams have lost players while other teams have left the mainstream league to join the constituency league, which is offering better financial returns.

Teams’ officials are now crying foul because of the constituency league but to little avail. The way things are going, the league is running parallel to the country’s recognized mainstream leagues and is something FIFA is totally against because it stifles football development.
This might lead to FIFA sanctions.

The Tswapong region, which prides itself as being the cream of football, is one of the worst hit. Region official, Fobby Radipotsane, told Sunday Standard that most teams are currently struggling because players are going where the financial rewards are better.

“Honestly, there is nothing we can do to stop the players because we cannot offer them what they get from the constituency league. It is so sad because it is killing our football. Most promising players from secondary schools have simply dumped their clubs for the constituency league,” he said.

Radipotsane also added that what pains the most is that they are not only losing players, but also administrators that play a crucial role at their respective teams.

“We really have a serious problem and if we continue to lose administrators like we do, we are going to have a serious problem in future,” he said. Radipotsane would not want to dwell much on the likely FIFA repercussions against the government of Botswana. But said something better should be put on the table to beat off what the government is offering. He also stressed that he tried on numerous occasions to try to address the issue with the Botswana Football Association (BFA) but to little avail. He said the BFA are dragging their feet.

Another concerned official is Thomas Mothobi of Mmadinare Giant Aces Football Club. He said the club is on the verge of being relegated to the third division because most of their players jumped ship to the constituency league.

He said sometimes they fail to raise the required number of players for the match and end up losing valuable points.

“It is really tough and the constituency league is killing teams in the Mmadinare region. Players go out there to play while others form their own teams. Other players just quit football to play volleyball and that is pushing us back.”

Mothobi also lamented that they use players mostly from junior and senior secondary schools but said that they are the very same players in the constituency league.

“We thought that since schools were closed we would have all the players we want for all the remaining matches but that has not been the case. The officials from the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture once visited our area but only addressed teams taking part in the constituency league and ignored the ones from the mainstream leagues. This is very unfortunate and I wonder where it will take us,” he said.

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