Sankoyo Bush Bucks has refuted claims that the team has misused funds allocated to them by various sponsors. Reliable sources have told of how the team management had on several occasions been splashing money unnecessarily, thus leading to them not paying players on time. The revelations came to light at a press conference called to brief the media on the team’s premier league status on Monday. Another assertion was that some sponsors have threatened to take management to task for financial misconduct and for failure to acknowledge them as sponsors, as they fear their money might have fallen on the wrong hands and consequently inappropriately used.
Another suggestion was for the team to address the seemingly persistent overcrowding at the stadium especially just before kickoff. Although he could not be drawn into disclosing the exact amount owed to players, Bush Bucks team manager, Odirile Sibanda, said they remain hopeful that the matter will be rectified in due time. Had their Premier League prize money availed, he said they would have paid players long ago. He said the delay emanated from the fact that they were still embroiled in a bitter battle with their Premier League over allegations that one of their players was a defaulter. He said rumours that they misused funds are misleading and are only meant to bring the team morale down. However Sibanda admitted that there had been incidents whereby some people took advantage of the team being a new brand to solicit funds.
He said they will in the future advice sponsors that nobody but the management of the team has the powers to seek monetary assistance. His sentiments were echoed by the team’s Public Relations and Communications Manager Thato Molosi who said, all funds were used to serve all intended purposes. He said some people might have felt they were making lots of money on gate takings alone due to the high attendance of their home matches, but not taking into account the financial obligations the team has. He said some of those obligations include transport, accommodation and others. “What they don’t know is that the BFA takes 5% percent of the proceeds, 25% goes to Botswana National Sports Council, while we are left with only 70%. Also, we have had so many away games which cost us lots of money. The technical team also had to be paid. We are aware of congestion and we promise to open other gates in the future. The problem is that some people prefer to buy tickets at last minute, hence the uncontrolled congestion.
Molosi said they also advised Premier League officials to make it a point that tickets are brought in time so that they are distributed on time. Quizzed on why Maun Sports complex is still being used to host premier league games despite its bad status, Molosi said as management, they are equally disturbed by the current status of the sports complex. On numerous occasions, he said they have tried in vain to alert Premier League officials on the situation, and that they have always been assured that the situation will be normalised. “Because of the excessive heat in Maun, we had also requested that some games be played in the evening, but it also proved impossible because of poor lighting. We also requested through our chairman who is also an official of BNSC to make recommendations to his office because as you might be aware, almost everything there needs maintenance, including corner nets and so forth. So we still believe there is more to be done”, he said.
During the last season, Molosi said they made all efforts to engage the services of casual labourers to clean up the facility. Sankuyo village Chief Timex Moalosi also showed disapproval about people who go around spreading false rumours about the team and its members, and sometimes linking management to be tribalistic, and for refusing sponsorship from some companies. He said: “I am afraid that all these rumours can have a very bad impact on would-be sponsors. People and supporters alike need to be careful of what they say on the streets. Mind you, as Sankuyo Development Trust, we have contributed more than P156 000 in the last season, and we don’t see ourselves as sponsors, but rather contributors”.
Meanwhile the team has scheduled to honour their players at an event this coming weekend. Reliable sources have however indicated that some players have threatened to boycott the awards ceremony, should they still not be paid by then. Expected to officiate at the ceremony is former Gaborone United player Dipsy Selowane and other high ranking officials from the sporting fraternity. Categories will include player of the season, top goal scorer and many others. The club will also have an annual general meeting on July 18, where a new committee will be elected. The team has also vowed to recruit new players in the current transfer window and the players might play for annual Kabelano Charity tournament.