Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Of Zebras, BFA and unpaid match allowances

The recent strike by Zebras players to honour the ongoing COSAFA Cup in Rustenburg, South Africa, has revealed malpractice hovering over the national team camp. 

Sunday Standard has established that national team players are owed allowances since 2014.

While the nation demands positive results it has emerged that in almost all recent Zebras outings players forcibly demanded their dues before games and threatened to boycott matches behind the scenes. 

It is said that while players threatened to boycott, BFA top brass reacted with threats to show players the exit door if they were not ready to fight for the national flag.

It has been revealed to Sunday Standard that while the BFA owes players thousands of Pula, the government through the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) has also not obliged with their commitment to pay monthly allowances since October 2014. 

While BFA top brass fails to address players’ demands, the Zebras players are said to have demanded full payment of outstanding allowances before their CHAN qualifier match against South Africa scheduled for mid July.

Sources close to the matter told this publication that since the departure of Orange Botswana and Banc ABC after the sponsorship contracts ended the BFA struggled to pay players as they depended on their coffers. 

“The predicament faced by the BFA will persist unless they find sponsors to aid with players’ allowances. Truth of the matter is that the BFA negotiated appearance fees of players when they were still contracted with both sponsors and since Orange and Banc ABC left there has been inconsistency in paying players. 

“It is worrisome to watch national team players going for six games without pay and majority of them depend on football. It is a challenge now to lure sponsors due to alleged unaccountability haunting the football mother body,” a source told Sunday Standard.

On national duty, players are paid P100 daily allowance, P2 000 appearance fee, P1 500 as winning bonus and P750 for a draw. However, the BNSC is expected to pay P3 500 appearance fee for all official assignments and P1 500 monthly allowance which for some period has not been paid to players.

‘’It has now developed into a trend that the BFA pays players when they threaten not to play and expect positive results. Since losing in the COSAFA Cup final last year, players are yet to get paid competition medal incentives which are awarded to all national representatives bringing medals home. Players are faced with a challenge as they are always blamed for lack of patriotism when they demand payments,” said a source.

Speaking to in an interview, BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ookeditse Malesu admitted that they owe players a lot of money and the intention was to pay them all their dues in the near future. He said despite owing them does not guarantee players to hold the nation at ransom. 

“‘We admit that players are owed but they should not hold the nation at ransom as it is irresponsible. Money comes as an incentive to the players and they should play for the national badge as it gives them an opportunity to showcase their talent to the world,” Malesu said.

Futhermore, Malesu confessed that the BFA struggles with paying players due to lack of sponsorship. ‘’It is a fact that lack of sponsorship has opened a gap and it is a challenge to pay players but we believe the payment predicament will never arise again,” said Malesu.

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