The relegation of Mogoditshane Fighters from top flight football seems to have opened a can of worms as some residents voice their frustrations about what they call continued interference in the affairs of the club by the Botswana Defence Force.
“Back in 1986 some village elders and founders of the Mogoditshane Fighters Football Club approached the BDF to assist with players but the military has since taken over the management of the club, which has over the years resulted in the team receiving minimal support from the residents,” says Sedirwa Kgoroba, one of the disgruntled supporters and once a key figure of football development in the village.
He says no resident has ever benefited from the team because local players have always been overlooked in favour of military officers who he accused of using the club to enhance and speed up their chances of promotion in the army.
“It is about time we get back our team even if it stays in the First Division. We will ultimately get it back to the Premier League with our very own groomed players of Mogoditshane. It has gone down the drain since being taken over by BDF who made decisions without any consultations,” says Andrew Keetile.
However, the clubs vice president and businessman, Fidelis Ncube, has refuted the allegations saying Mogoditshane Fighters belongs to the community and there is no influence from the military.
“The team belongs to them (community) and it is up to them to provide all the necessary support to show their loyalty,” Ncube said.
He also rubbished reports that President Ian Khama, the club patron, has some influence on the decision making process of the committee saying Khama is too busy to be involved in the running of a football club. He says contrary to popular belief, Khama is not the main financial sponsor of the team.
“He does make contributions but the bulk of our money comes from other sources and recently we were lucky to acquire sponsorship from Letshego Financial Services,” Ncube said.
The club chairman, Kehumile Kgoroba, echoed Ncube’s statement on BDF’s involvement.
“I can confidently confirm that the BDF has no input on the affairs of Mogoditshane Fighters,” he said.
He says currently they have only one BDF officer in the committee and the rest are civilians. Kgoroba says the current committee was elected by the public themselves to run the club “but for reasons known to them some people still refuse to accept that”.
While Kgoroba cited financial problems and lack of experienced members in the committee as “serious impediments” that led to the club’s relegation, the vice president, Ncube, attributed the team’s relegation to lack of commitment and determination from the players.
“It has nothing to do with management or the supporters,” he insisted.