Monday, September 27, 2021

Football Leagues Resumption to Be Delayed

Football thirsty Batswana will have to drink from other nations’ wells for a while to quench their thirst for football. This comes as the dates for resumption of the leagues are expected to be postponed to later dates.

The postponement comes as a result of the recent suspension of all sporting activities by the Botswana government in an attempt to stem the tide of the then rising toll of the coronavirus on human lives.

Before then, Botswana Football League (BFL) teams, being those playing in the Premier League and those in the National First Divisions (NFD) had started their preseasons. Had everything gone according to plan, Premier League teams would have started their league this coming weekend with NFD following on 9th October. 

All this however changed in August when the Government announced new restrictions in movement and sport was not spared. Any hope for sport to start was dashed this past Monday as sport was not included among activities which can resume.

Speaking in an interview, BFL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Solomon Ramochotlhwane confirmed that due to the ongoing restrictions, there will be a delay in resumption of competitive football leagues.

“It is a sad situation but we have to accept the situation as it is right now. We know people want to see football played but there is little that we can do at the moment,” the BFL CEO explained.

Ramochotlhwane said the current situation will mean that the BFL and local football in general will have to start back from scratch when restrictions are lifted.

On whether the BFL is ready to start play should the restrictions be lifted, the CEO said they have done everything that could be done to ensure a successful resumption of football and they believe they are ‘ready to resume play.’

Concerning sponsorships, the BFL CEO said he is optimistic that had sport been allowed to play, the BFL would have brought in one or two sponsors. He said the uncertainty over when the league will resume is however hampering any efforts they had made in this regard.

“Some of the potential sponsors we were in talks with had agreed in principle to come on board. What is however holding them and us back from signing the sponsorship agreements is the lack of definite dates on which the league will resume,” he said.

“Remember that our leagues have not been played in a very long time now and sponsors are wary of putting moneys on leagues that do not have any guarantee of resuming. They cannot sponsor something that is not guaranteed to start,” Ramochotlhwane continued.

He said if the status quo continues as it is now, there is a possibility that many of the football players will have no income as teams will also struggle to make money to pay them.

“This may also in the long run derail our aspirations of hosting major continental football tournaments as football. Our lack of activity may hurt our chances of hosting,” he said.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper