Monday, October 25, 2021

Judge Walia an unhappy man about our football

High Court Judge Justice Singh Walia is not a happy man with the daily quarrels by the Botswana Football Association (BFA). 

Walia said this during the urgent court hearing in which the Botswana Premier League Chief Executive Officer, Bennett Mamelodi, is seeking the court to rescind his disciplinary hearing by the BFA.  

Walia said the BFA had more litigation than any other sport in the whole world.  “Players are suffering, teams are suffering and fans are suffering,” Walia said. 

Walia observed that: “Since I came to Botswana in 1975 I have been following football and stadiums were always packed but today you will be lucky if you can get 2 000 supporters to the stadium; it is because of all this fighting. This should stop.” 

He observed that in the past supporters sometimes were sent back because they came in numbers to avoid a stamped because the stadiums would be full whenever Zebras plays. 

In the ongoing Premier League and the Mascom Top 8 tournament fans are no longer coming to the game in large numbers largely because they are discouraged by daily fighting of football administrators. 

Walia, a staunch supporter of the Zebras, said football wars are not doing the game any good.  

He said the BFA instead of solving their issues in the board room go to courts and delay the progress of the game. 

It is also believed that some potentials sponsors shun football because they don’t want to be associated with sport that has many quarrels.  

Contacted for comment the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng, said the BFA leadership was new. “Let’s give them chance as they are working hard to restore order and I trust they will sort things out. “Football issues are a global problem.”  

Last year the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng threatened to intervene in the BFA mess and take unpopular decisions. He said he would not condone anything negative.

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