Sunday, May 16, 2021

MABC pay TV fails to raise pledged P60 m league sponsorship money

Munhumutapa African Broadcasting Corporation (MABC), the company that has pledged a P60 million (US$ 9,5 million) sponsorship for Botswana’s super league, has not been able to mobilize funding from its overseas investors and had no money in its bank account Friday night on the eve of the scheduled league launch.

Worried Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Premier League (BPL) officials convened an emergency crisis meeting Friday night where it was resolved that the launch, scheduled for yesterday (Saturday) be postponed to an undisclosed date.

Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that although the Zimbabwean company was given a television licence last December, it has not been able to mobilize the P200 million minimum funding stipulated in their licensing conditions and the P60 million it had pledged as sponsorship for the league.
The Botswana Premier League issued a press statement Friday night that premier league games will commence Saturday 04th October as previously fixtured, but “due to unforeseen circumstances, the League launch has been postponed to a date to be announced.”

One of the company directors, Lesang Magang, told Sunday Standard that Munhumutapa had hoped to receive the first installment of their funding from overseas investors on the day the company announced that it would be sponsoring the league.

During the press conference announcing the sponsorship, one of the reporters asked if the money was in the company bank account, but none of the company officials could give a definite answer.

Magang confirmed Friday night that the company had still not received the money from their overseas investor, but was confident that they will ultimately receive the money, saying “everything that the company has gone through is legit”. He explained that the company went through the Botswana Telecommunications Authority due diligence and was assessed by independent auditors.

He explained that mobilizing that much money, especially from overseas investors usually takes time. Apparently, the company had not planned to announce the sponsorship until the money was in the bank, but were forced into a hasty announcement because the Mascom agreement was being renewed.
Magang further explained that he was personally not involved in the running of the television station and had come in hoping to cash in through Phakalane. He said with that much money going into football, the Botswana league was bound to attract top flight African footballers and Phakalane would provide appropriate addresses for them.

At the time of going to press none of the football officials was prepared to comment on whether the premier league would wait for Munhumutapa to mobilize it’s funding or would open negotiations with Mascom.

BFA Chief executive Officer, Tosh Kgotele, and President David Fani referred all queries to Botswana Premier League officials.

Premier league officials would not comment.


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