Thursday, May 19, 2022

Molepolole to host battle of Top 8 Tournament

The battle for supremacy in local football will be taken to the Molepolole Sports Complex this coming weekend as the country’s top eight teams are set to battle it out in the Mascom Top 8 Tournament, popularly known as ‘Tse di tona,’ (The Big Ones).

In what will perhaps be the most exciting soccer festival in the country’s recent football history, Molepolole Sports Complex turf will host all the first round games of the Mascom Top 8 tournament.

Speaking in an interview, the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Premier League (BPL), Bennett Mamelodi, said the decision to host all the first round games of the tournament was made to accommodate the live broadcast of the games.

He said after much consideration, a decision was taken to have all the games in Molepolole as other stadiums ‘are not live television broadcast friendly.’

Mamelodi was, however, quick to point out that while Molepolole will host all the first round games, no decision had been taken as to where the semifinal or final games will be played and thus other stadiums like Lobatse or Maun will be considered.

He added that having taken into consideration that other teams, like NICO United and ECCO City Greens, will likely incur costs due to travelling and accommodation in all the games, measures had been put in place to ensure that the teams are not burdened. “We have decided that in cases of teams like ECCO and NICO, we will subsidize their petrol costs. Above that, we will also pay for their Bed and Breakfast accommodations. This means that these teams will only incur lunch and supper costs during their Top 8 sojourn in the south,” Mamelodi explained.

Above all this, Mamelodi said other teams will also be given some camping fees to help them while in camp. On the issue of how teams will benefit from the gate takings, taking into consideration that the norm has always been that home teams take the largest share of the money, the BPL CEO said the Premier league has decided to do away with the issue of teams taking gate takings.

“Instead, all teams will be given a P50 000 appearance fee per game and they will all in return forfeit gate takings to the Premier league. This was also done to ensure that there are no problems with ticket sales and thus teams will have no burden of selling tickets.

“This is a risky move by the Premier League in that all this money put forth is from its coffers and we may make losses but we are willing to take them to ensure that teams benefit from this tournament,” the BPL CEO explained.

He said in view of all the risks involved, it was therefore a wise move to have the games played as double headers, something which it hoped will attract a lot of spectators to the games.

Quizzed on who has been given the broadcast rights for the games, the BPL CEO said the names of the games’ broadcasters will be announced tomorrow (Monday).

“We are still working on this issue and cannot say who will be our partners. What I can tell you at the moment is that we expect that when all games resume come Wednesday, they will be broadcast live on television,” he said.

While he was still cagey about details of who the new broadcasters will be, sources close to the Premier League have touted Supersport as the new broadcaster for both the Mascom Top 8 and the Premier League games.

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