This publication has established that the decision was prompted by Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) after they awarded a tender to a different company to handle the council’s travel arrangements. In the past, AT & T Monnakgotla has helped different sporting codes with their travel arrangements both locally and internationally at reasonable rates.
On top of that, AT & T Monnakgotla has also invested their money in different sporting codes through sponsorships. While the decision by BNSC is said to have rubbed the transport and travel company the wrong way, it is said that Botswana Football Association (BFA) are the ones who are going to suffer the most. AT & T Monnakgotla has been sponsoring women football at P300, 000 per annum for the past three seasons but that deal will not be renewed according to sources.
“They wanted to renew the sponsorship but the decision by the sports council to award the tender to a different travel agency has rubbed them the wrong way. They can’t continue supporting sports while sports is doing nothing for them. It’s unfortunate that BFA wanted to continue working with them but it is unlikely,” said a source close to the developments.
AT & T Monnakgotla administrative director, Tshepo Monnakgotla, did not hide his disappointment at losing the tender.
“When we invested in sports, it is because of the money we were getting from BNSC. We felt that it was wise that since sports is supporting our business we should also support sports. There were lots of ad-ons from both sides which benefited sports in the country. Technically, it means that the funds have dried and we might consider lots of things (when it comes to sports’ sponsorship) in the future,” said Monnakgotla.
Though they are disappointed at losing the BNSC tender, he said that when they sit down with the current BFA leadership there will be lots of things which would be considered.
“When we sponsored women’s league, we wanted women’s game to be recognized in the country and I’m happy that we have achieved that. We’ve seen the game developing but as things stand I cannot tell if we’ll continue with it or not,” said Monnakgotla. He pointed out that when they signed the three-year contract, it was with a different regime which was led by David Fani. He said they will have to sit down with the current leadership to hear their roadmap.
“Let me make it clear that we’re in business not charity. We have to meet with them (BFA) and hear what they are offering. At the end of the day we’ve to make a good business decision,” he said.
It is understood that in the past week, BFA were running around to see what they could do to convince the transport and travel company to stay put. Sources indicate that AT & T Monnakgotla was prepared to pump more than a million Pula in the new deal until BNSC ‘hurt’ them most.
BFA president Tebogo Sebego was not in a position to shed light into the latest developments saying that they will be meeting with AT & T Monnakgotla in the near future.
“All I can tell you is that we value them as our sponsors and we would like to continue with them,” he said.
While Sebego was not in a position to reveal more, sources within BFA headquarters have revealed that Monnakgotla has already approached Sebego. Women’s football chairperson Senki Sesinyi was not a happy man when he was contacted on Friday morning. He said he was aware of the latest developments and he would not blame AT & T Monnakgotla if they were to pull out. He pointed out that they benefited a lot from the sponsorship and he predicts disaster if the company ends the deal.
“I met with them yesterday (Thursday) and I symphathise with them. If a company like that is helping out, it is important for the Government to recognize their input. If women’s football loses sponsorship, it means only two sides can survive in terms of running their affairs. Even the awards we might not have them at the end of the season,” he said.
The women’s football season is expected to come to an end on May 18.