It was early in February 1995 when the residents of Palapye and surrounding areas were hit by devastating floods which left most of them homeless. It was a painful time for those who were affected as the downpours left severe damage. The Government of Botswana cried out loud seeking help from anyone who could afford to help the poor residents.
It was then that six wise men came together in an office in Gaborone to form the Kabelano Trust. The idea of the trust was to raise funds in order to help those in need. It was chairman Terrence Dambe, Lesego Pule, Thapelo Nteta, Kennedy Melamu, Igobe Pie and Anthony Siwawa were the front men in ensuring their dream of helping out becomes a reality. They worked tirelessly behind closed doors for months to ensure that their dream of helping out would become a reality.
A football tournament was seen by the six men as the right tool and less than a year later, the first Kabelano Charity Cup was played before a full capacity at the National Stadium. The proceeds of that one-day tournament were distributed to different families in the Palapye as 87% of the casualties were from the area.
Since 1996 Kabelano Charity Cup became a household name which most supporters looked forward to as their sides fought for a converted prize in a day. When the National Stadium shut its doors in 2008 to make way for the World Cup refurbishments it meant there was no stadium which could afford to host the tournament of such magnitude.
After five years of absence, it has been confirmed that Kabelano Charity Cup will be staged on August 17 at Lobatse Stadium. Initially the tournament was supposed to be staged on July 27 but due to the CHAN encounter between the Zebras and Zambia an alternative date has to be found. The organizers through the help of main sponsors Barclays Bank have hinted that after long absence, they would like to stage a tournament which will be bigger and better. Football fans are likely to leave the tiny town of Lobatse asking for more.
“I can confirm that after negotiations with relevant stakeholders we will host Kabelano on August 17. We’ll be having the launch on June 20 and that is where we’re going to announce our plans for the day. When we started this tournament, we wanted to come up with an entity which will be sustainable and I have no doubt we’ve achieved that. We managed to raise the profile of the tournament every year and obviously after such a long time without hosting it, we want to come up with something much better,” said Kabelano Trust chairman Terrence Dambe.
Crowd pullers Extension Gunners, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers have been confirmed as the three sides which will compete on the day. The fourth team has been kept as a closely guarded secret by the organizers. Despite Notwane being tipped as the fourth side, Dambe has dismissed the reports. “A lot has been said about the fourth team since we launched the tournament’s sponsors. I will not disclose the name of the team until the launch because we want it to be a surprise,” Dambe said.
In the past the football community has complained that Kabelano trustees benefit a lot more than the teams but was quick to quash the report. He pointed out that the trustees do not benefit in any way as all the funds raised go towards those in need. “We’ve always been transparent when it comes to the money raised at the tournament. We have audited accounts which are made available to the sponsors and the public. It is our responsibility to make it a point that everything is done well,” he said.