Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Maun festive games cause uproar

The decision by the Botswana Premier League (BPL) to fixture games at Maun Sports Stadium during the festive season has created mixed feelings amongst football commentators. While some people have welcomed the games, others argue that it is against our tradition to have competitive league games at that time of the year.

According to Premier League fixtures, Gaborone United (GU) will tussle with city rivals, Township Rollers, on December 26 with Mochudi Centre Chiefs taking on BDF XI a day later at the same venue.

While there have been reports that some of the clubs are against the idea, BPL chief executive officer Bennet Mamelodi was in Maun in the past week to prepare for what is the biggest club games to be played at the venue. He said that the games would go on as planned.

“Everything is going according to plan. I was in Maun and everybody is braced for the two games. The security personnel, including the police are ready and I have no doubt that it will be two days of action-filled games. If we want to move forward in football, we need to adjust to change. Don’t forget that the fixtures were approved by the Board of Governors,” said Mamelodi on Friday morning.

He added that this week the four clubs travelling to Maun will meet for logistics and make a decision on when to start selling the tickets. It is expected that 8,000 tickets will be sold for each game. Mamelodi dismissed recent reports that BPL would take care of travelling and accommodation costs of the four sides.

BDF XI Publicity Officer, Philemon Mompati, said that they do not have any problem playing in Maun two days after Christmas Day. He said that they have long prepared their players after receiving the approved fixtures.

“We’re comfortable with playing out there, more so that it has long been communicated to us. This is a chance for people living in and around Maun to see some of their heroes in action. This is a matter of taking football to the people which is good,” said Mompati.

Former Rollers’ administrator, Fobby Radipotsane, said that it will be unfair for any of the clubs to make noise right now as they have long been informed about the games. He said that he expected the four clubs to have communicated to their players well in time that they would be engaged during the festive season.

“They (club officials) were excited when they approved the fixtures but right now it’s a different picture. Maybe they’re looking at the financial implications and other things. It’s unusual to play games that time of the year but we’ve to go with the changes,” Radipotsane said.

The no-nonsense administrator said it is unfortunate that the players of the four clubs would have less time to spend with their families during the festive break. “Don’t forget that, traditionally, we get to see our relatives during festive time. So it will be interesting to see how the clubs are going to release the players after the games,” he added.

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