If one was to surmise weekend’s Mascom Charity Cup in just a few words, it would be that ‘it was a spectacular flop, both on and off the field of play.’
While Orapa United deservedly became the inaugural champions of the Mascom Charity Cup, the event has on its own likely left the cup sponsors Mascom with an egg on the face.
For the sponsors, the 282 294 votes cast as well as the expected, though unwanted low turnout, was not the return on a P1.1 million outlay invested.
In fact, common sense would dictate that the monies accrued from the tournament ticket sales combined with gate takings, all of which will be donated to charity, did not even come to half of the invested amount.
Now as the sponsors and the sponsored, the latter being the Botswana Football League (BFL), will be sitting down to review the event, many would be hoping both have learnt valuable lessons.
“The problem with Botswana football is that we are too much of beggars. As a result, we cannot turn down a sponsor even if we have reasons to believe what their terms when offering sponsorships are not viable,” a source said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said during the sponsorship negotiations, the BFL had requested that voting lines be opened to all the 16 teams in the Botswana Premier League.
“Unfortunately, as the sponsors of the Mascom Top 8 tournament wanted to restrict the voting to the league’s Top 8. What they did not factor in was that most of the teams which were in the top 8 are institutional teams and do not command a large following. This on its own cut on potential monies from votes as supporters of those teams did not vote,” the source explained.
The source said coupled with a voting system that is not reflective of the actual number of people who voted and is open to one person voting a possible thousand times, signs were there that the attendance would be poor.
According to the source, had the BFL not been so much of the beggars they are, they could have turned down the sponsors hard-nosed approach to negotiations, which left both with what the source described as ‘a bad advert of Botswana football.’
Reached for comment, BFL Chief Executive Officer Solomon Ramochotlhwane hailed the initiative. He said the initiative was a very good one as ‘all the monies from voting and gate takings were for charity.’
On the issue of not extending voting to all 16 teams in the league, which could have tapped on the latent potential of hugely supported society teams to generate more money for charity, Ramochotlhwane described the debate as ‘kgomo ya moshate.’ (a double-edged sword)
“If we would have made it free for all the 16 teams, we may still have had mixed reviews. There is also no guarantee that the teams would have made the top 4. Even with their large following, Township Rollers still failed to make it. This calls for teams to strategise,” he said.
While he lamented the poor attendance, which was expected as most institutional teams attract the least number of spectators at games, which would have harmed the chances of maximizing monies generated for charity, he said it should not be forgotten that ‘sejo sennye ga se fete molomo.’ (the little help one receives goes a long way)
On the other hand, Ramochotlhwane said the sponsorship by Mascom Botswana was a highly welcome development. He said it was a needed investment which benefited teams as much as charity.
“Had they not come through, we would have risked going through the season without any other competition or sponsor. This would have been a failure. On the bright side, teams benefitted from prize monies and players also from match prizes. This is commendable as everyone gained something,” he said.