April 11 2010: The organisers of the annual Orange Kabelano Charity tournament and the Botswana Football Association (BFA) might be headed for a showdown if recent developments are anything to go by.
Already, there is a serious shortage of soccer stadiums prompting some teams to consider not participating in the tournament.
This mainly is because Kabelano is sponsored by a rival company to the one that sponsors the league; and the latter is also willing to stage another charity tournament.
Information reaching the Sunday Standard is that the premier league (a BFA affiliate) has a contract with their sponsors (be-MOBILE) that no team from the premier league shall participate in any competition as this would breach the contract.
However, Terrence Dambe, chairman of the Kabelano Trust told Sunday Standard at a press briefing that the annual event is scheduled to take place on the 31st of July 2010 and added that since the inception of this event, permission for the teams to participate has always been sought from the Botswana Football Association.
“Over the years, we have built a good relationship with the BFA such that every year we would inform them of which teams we would like to participate in any given event,” said Dambe.
Dambe, however, said in 2007, in recognition of the creation of the premier league as a structure of the BFA, they decided to have discussions with the league but were approached by the BFA that it was unprocedural.
“Regulation 23 of the current BFA Play Rules and Regulation provides that permission for any team to participate in a friendly event or game must be sought from the BFA,” he added.
Dambe said they entered into a three year contract with the BFA of which the trust was permitted to utilise BFA “affiliates” to participate in the event. Despite that, he said on the 29th of January 2010, the trust wrote invitations to certain premier league teams to participate in this year’s event but received no response from any of the teams.
“However, we started contacting the teams to establish their position in the invitation but was informed by team officials to contact the premier league,” said Dambe.
He added that when they approached the Premier League General Manager, Setete Phuthego, he told them that a decision was made that no premier league teams would participate in Kabelano Charity Spectacular as the league was planning to have a charity football event. Dambe expressed his disappointment with the challenge but said they still have hope that the issue will be solved in an amicable manner.
The event was scheduled to be made more attractive and appealing to the masses, as the trust is willing to involve Kaizer Chiefs from South Africa as one of the competitors. However, Dambe could not be drawn into revealing the amount at stake for the participating teams nor the sponsorship money as he said they are still in negotiations with Kaizer Chiefs.
In an interview, the General Manager of the premier league, Setete Phuthego, said that teams are not going to participate in the event as they have their own charity football event, which marks the beginning of the season, adding that “participation in the Kabelano charity spectacular is voluntary, therefore, the premier league teams are not going to participate this time around”.
“It is not about monetary issues or about the league being sponsored by be-mobile,” he said.