Confusion as to who should organize the Botswana Premier League (BPL) awards is alleged to be the main reason for the cancellation of the BTC Premiership awards for the 2017/2018 season.
In what was an unprecedented and embarrassing call for the elite league, the BPL Secretariat this past week announced that the awards had been cancelled. While BPL Secretariat said the awards were cancelled, close sources say the awards were never even planned as there was confusion between the sponsor BTC and BPL as to whose responsibility it was to host the awards.
The BPL is said to have been of the belief that the awards should be organised by the league sponsor BTC, while the sponsor, BTC, pointed to the BPL as the custodian of the game to organise the awards. “There has never been an awards event that has been planned by the BPL. It is not true that the awards have been cancelled or overtaken by events. They have never been planned,” said a source in the BPL leadership.
The source said had the awards been planned, there could have been invitations sent to stakeholders, who would have included the guest speaker, the sponsor, teams and the awards nominees. According to the source, the mere fact that the awards were not put in the BPL’s 2018 calendar shows the awards were not even considered for this season.
“In the past the league fixtures had all dates for the league matches, Mascom Top 8 tournament, FIFA week and awards. That was not the case this season,” the source observed. “Had there been an awards ceremony scheduled for the 12th as communicated in the cancellation communiqu├®, guests would have received their invitations at least sometimes early in the week. No one has received such an invite. The BPL is fooling the sporting fraternity because they claim to cancel something that they have never organised,” the source said.
BPL chief executive officer, Thabo Ntshinogang communicated the unique unpleasant episode last Wednesday. “The BTC Premiership Awards Ceremony which was supposed to be held this week, 12/07/2018 will no longer be held. This is because both BTC and BPL believe that the awards ceremony has been overtaken by events,” Ntshinogang explained in a press statement.
Commenting on the issue, Jimmy George, football analyst described BPL as a joke. “What kind of a league are we running? BPL should not be taken serious, they are a joke,” George opined. According to him, there is no word to describe or justify the cancelation of the awards ceremony.
“It is a slap on the face of football followers and clubs. How do you participate for a year and told there are no awards?” questioned George. According to George BPL’s act of cancelling the awards is putting the name of football in to the disrepute.
“What the BPL has done can only happen in Botswana it has never happened anywhere in the world,” George said. On the BPL’s assertion that winners of different categories will be given their dues at a venue and date to be confirmed, George said it is just a face saving exercise by the BPL.
“The winners will be given for the sake of just doing it not for the spirit of the game and sport. The event is should be a prestigious one. Awards are staged in glamorous environment where excitement and anticipations are high. BPL has killed all the ingredients that surround the award ceremony,” George observed. He advised BPL to issue an apology detailing why the awards could not be staged.
Another commentator Aupa Mokotedi observed that delays alway bring more inconveniences and problems. “Delays always have an adverse impact on other things. What caused the delay in the first place? Did teams not play the league, a sponsored league for that matter? They did. Then why did the league administration fail to state an award ceremony soon after the league ended? You see what unnecessary delays cause,” Mokotedi noted.
He also observed that the league always commences late and that is a problem to teams and fans. He said the BPL must up its game and craft a proper timetable of events and ensure that it is observed. “The league ended beginning of May and now this is July and we expect a build up to the new season and teams are yet to get what they worked for during the past season,” Mokotedi said.
BPL should organise its own awards not sponsors. “The most important individual awards should be organised by BFA where Botswana’s finest football talent including those playing outside BTC Premiership can be recognised including women,” Mokotedi concluded.