Though he resigned from his post on June 1, Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer Bennett Mamelodi was still occupying the hot-seat at Lekidi Football Centre on Monday.
Mamelodi shocked the football fraternity when he resigned from the premier league top post on June 1, saying he had endured unprecedented hardships and therefore could not continue in the employment of the BPL.
However, premier league insiders have informed this publication that Mamelodi is understood to have withdrawn his resignation letter.
“Since he announced his resignation, Mamelodi has been under immense pressure from stakeholders who pleaded with him to stay. After intense discussions with the leadership of Botswana Football Association, some BPL board members and sponsors, he has agreed to remain in charge until his contract expires in November,” said a source on Monday morning.
When The Telegraph team visited him at the football hub on Monday morning, Mamelodi said: “Yes, I’m still here but I cannot confirm or deny that I’ve withdrawn my resignation. At the moment I’m focused on preparing for the play-off match (between Notwane FC and FC Satmos) and the Board of Governors meeting at the weekend (June 13).”
He refused to discuss the matter of his employment further and chose to play his cards close to the chest. While he remains at the premier league, those close to Mamelodi say it will take something drastic to convince him to stay.
“I think he will only stay if the current BPL chairman (Arnold Somolekae) and his vice (Mojaki Monnakgotla) relinquish their positions. The two men have pushed Mamelodi against the wall in recent times and he cannot take it anymore. He is burning inside and the situation is worsened by the fact that he feels betrayed by Mojaki who he regarded as a close friend but now seems to be stabbing him on the back,” a source said on Monday morning.
Mamelodi’s resignation was met with caused mixed reactions on social networks last week, but it is understood that BPL sponsors Mascom and beMOBILE are not happy that he has left, to an extent that they told the BPL in no uncertain terms to shape up or ship out.
“The BPL had no choice but to plead with him to stay because the sponsors were asking difficult questions. Despite being accused of favoritism and misuse of funds, Mamelodi has developed a healthy relationship between BPL and sponsors. If he goes tomorrow, BPL might lose the sponsors because it was Mamelodi who was entrusted with ensuring that everything goes according to plan,” said a source.
At the Mascom Awards on Wednesday night, Mascom CEO Jose Vieira Coucerio coincidentally paid tribute to Mamelodi for the good job he has done in ensuring that the tournament is a success.
“As soon as the game ended (final between Gaborone United and Township Rollers on April 18) the rain started. And it was a very heavy rain. But the prize giving went on smoothly and I watched from the safety of my umbrella as Premier League CEO Bennett Mamelodi directed the proceedings. He was getting soaked by the rain despite wearing a suit. But he was resolute to lead his team and ensured the successful conclusion of the Mascom Top 8. Mr Bennett Mamelodi and the rest of your team we thank you,” said Coucerio.
Analysts believe the Portuguese-born Mascom boss was sending a message to those who have been trying to force Mamelodi out that he is their ‘main man’. In a letter directed to BPL chairman Arnold Somolokae last week, Mamelodi stated that his job is made difficult by clubs or individuals who are hell bent on ensuring that he gets fired. He pointed out that what frustrates him more is that since he resumed his duties at BPL, he had never made anyone his personal project. “If BFA and BPL let Mamelodi go, it will be the biggest mistake ever. Though he has been subjected to abuse, Mamelodi has worked tirelessly to ensure that our League grows. It is unfortunate that some people want to frustrate him just because they cannot control him,” said a source.