Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Our teams should turn professional as a matter of urgency

While we recognise the growth of Botswana sport and the recognition we have recently received internationally, our company is concerned about the continuous lack of exposure of our top class talent to professional markets.
The transfer window closes on the last day of July but there has not been a single transfer done, this is bizarre even if Jomo Moatlhaping signs for Platinum Stars on the last day of transfers. Without doubt 2010/2011 has been a phenomenal year for sports with our national football team doing extremely well, Botswana becoming the first nation to qualify for the 2012 AFCON finals to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
At SportHuis, we believe that our talent at the Zebras should be attracting international interest across the globe, but due to a plethora of reasons we have dismally failed in this regard.

The national television station (BTV) has failed to afford sport enough opportunities, including sufficient and well organized programming to package our stars to the buyer/consumer.

The production transmitted live leaves a lot to be desired in terms of international standards and the prohibition of English commentary has rendered BTV useless in the Diaspora.

The quality of football displayed is sometimes insipid.

Local clubs continue to be run by committees which basically have no time in planning for other things except to win the League, a trait that will not leave Botswana football in the foreseeable future. We at Sporthuis believe that we cannot go anywhere with shortcuts, and gate takings cannot take us to Promised Land.

Failure of our clubs or refusal to partake in continental championships such as CAF and Confederations Cup, also the failure of BFA in organizing Zebras reputable opposition on friendly internationals on FIFA days.

The business world and partners in professional markets do not like to deal with committees as there are no guarantees on agreements signed and sealed. They find committees to be haphazard, cumbersome and time wasting.

There is a glaring misconception in local sport that prize money would make a club rich, and nobody seems to ask why Orlando Pirates FC is a R500 million profit making company a year when the combined prize money in the entire Premier Soccer League is less than R30 million. Pirates has in recent years closed the gap between them and Kaizer Chiefs, a natural home for trendsetters and the competition for branding continues unabated with recent signings of not only talented and high profile players but also the so called “sexy and hot superstars” such as Bernard Parker and Benni McCarthy.

The infrastructural problem of non operational stadia is also a monumental problem; Sporthuis has been confronted by an “excuse” of stadium unavailability on a number of occasions that we have tried to broker international matches in Botswana. It is a sad history that Olympic Marseille, a champions league outfit has been failed by our infrastructural problems to tour Botswana. Kaizer Chiefs have repeatedly also communicated this concern with our office.

It is a painful fact that Township Rollers has failed to market the country’s best players notably Lawrence Majawa, Skhana Koko and Edwin Olerile while Gaborone United has also failed to market rising star Ofentse Nato. Mochudi Centre Chiefs have also failed to sell themselves with the country’s most famous player Pontsho Moloi in the same manner that Kaizer Chiefs did with Doctor Khumalo, the way LA Galaxy does with David Beckham. Whilst agents or business managers are expected to play a critical role in this, it is traditionally the team that should provide a platform for the player by selling his performances and opening opportunities for him. Do Centre Chiefs know that if they nicely packaged sold Joel Mogorosi to a fully professional club, they would make money they can’t make even if they won Be-Mobile three consecutive seasons? Ajax Cape Town has just sold 21 year old Thulani Serero for R24 million, a record transfer fee never seen in history of South African football. Sporthuis requests local clubs that they need to consider going private as a matter of urgency lest they lose out on plenty opportunities presented by the professional markets. Even in the most troubled economies notably Zimbabwe, clubs are privately owned hence we continue to watch their talent go places and have cleverly used Botswana as a gateway to South African Premier League. Sporthuis, as the country’s first athlete management company continues to package and present our clientele to the world despite challenges before us.

We wish Botswana football the best in the new season.

Yours in sport

Olebile-Sikwane

Managing Agent

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