It does not rain but pour at the Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s Lekidi homestead.
This week alone, accusations have come thick and fast at the BFA for allegedly abdicating responsibility as football reels from its own crisis.
Jagdish Shah, Chairperson of Botswana Football League (BFL) said as much as the football world is confused about what is happening, they are also in the same position.
“We do not know what is happening and we are confused just like everybody else. The painful part is that we heard on the media President of BFA, Maclean Letshwiti saying the league will return in March while we have proposed the league to start in August and we have not received any response,” said Shah.
However, Shah explained that they have a lot of an answered questions that are to do with the return of the league, but BFA to this point has not answered any of their questions. Even though so many issues are arising concerning the league, they have not yet met with players to discuss the way forward nor with BFA.
“We have proposed that the league start in July as 2021/2022 season and forget about the 2020/2021 season. We have never meet with BFA, we need to know what will be the procedure when the league returns in terms of health protocols, what rules and regulations do we follow, how many players will they be allowing per game, how will we live the new lifestyle, will they be vaccinated before league; Nobody is making an effort to answer us,” he said.
Adding cherry to the disastrous cake, shah explained that apart from lack of sponsorship, they cannot start the league without having a proper road map of the new normal. Highlighting that they do not want to risk anyone’s life.
Last year October when BFA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM), BFL formally known as BPL was placed as an independent entity, four months later, they are still linked to the notorious BFA.
Interestingly, Shah said the reason why they are still dependent on BFA is because they are re-doing a lot of things; and because of this, they cannot take independent decision without BFA’s involvement. Adding that they are currently using the rules and regulations of BFA as well.
“we are still new in the office with a lot of things to learn and we cannot just do everything in a blink of an eye. The reason why we are still linked to BFA is because we are re-doing a lot of things and we have agreed with the mother body to carry on like this for a little while,” explained Shah.
While virtual meetings are highly recommended due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, Shah pointed out that when it comes to the current situation between them and BFA, only face-to-face meeting will suffice.
“Our issues with BFA need face to face meeting. We need to see true and real emotions alongside facial expressions from both parties. We cannot do anything. We are stuck. BFA borrowed us Monnakgotlha Mojake as the secretariat and that’s it, we cannot even employ anyone,” concerned Shah said.
Footballers Union Botswana (FUB) Secretary General, Kgosana Masaseng had a different story to tell with regards to the erupting saga in Botswana football.
As it stands, so says Masaseng, sponsorship should not be much of a concern even though it is needed to mobilize the clubs, players welfare including price money.
“BFL has the BTV sponsorship for television rights of about P6million in addition we also have the ABSA sponsorship of P2million per season making it P8milllion in total, just P2million shortage of the previous P10million sponsorship. As for players, contracts of some have finished last year May, some in December, some this coming May they will be ending. Not forgetting about the ones who have resigned and yet to resign,” he said.
BFA has the provision to take a loan at FIFA, this is the perfect time to take at least a P5million loan for BFL to assist the league to start.
“We are also concerned by the lack of engagement. It has been two weeks now waiting on BFA to respond back to us still about this issue of the league because we want that league to take place. Once BFA tells us about the return to play, then we can consider health of players and the rest,” Masaseng explained.
BFL as the lost sheep, Masaseng said the making of the executive team of BFL is made up of four clubs CEO’s being Rollers, Gilport Lions, Notwana and Gaborone United and only this teams seem not to want to return to football while the rest are eagerly waiting to return.
“BFL is just being dramatic just like BFA, first of all Shah is not being honest with everything they are saying about BFA. I mean he is sitting at the executive committee of BFA he is also in the emergency committee of some organization so he has to have answers to what is happening,” he said.
FUB is trying to empower players while a dark cloud is hovering upon BFA and BFL. “We have managed to secure scholarships for 100 plus players at Botswana each having different duration. On top of that we do have talks with them about life outside football and for them to establish businesses. We have organized a market day which will take place at Lekidi; this will be for players to assemble and market their business and for people to see what they do, a date will be communicated,” he said.