The 2010-2011 season comes to an end today when champions Township Rollers host relegated Black Peril at the Molepolole Sports Complex.
Premier League general manager, Phuthego Setete, is delighted that their programme went accordingly.
When the season kicked off, Setete pointed out that there were many challenges but with the support of all the stakeholders, they managed to run a league season without hiccups.
For once, the curtain falls on a Botswana Premier League that went without any of the controversies, which were the order of the day in the past.
“The biggest challenge, as has been the case in the past, has been shortage of stadiums. But through proper cooperation, we managed to finish the season as per the initial programme. The fact that we finished the league on time despite the national teams’ games and the Coca-Cola Cup in between goes to show that our football is growing. This is something which our title sponsors would be proud of,” Setete told Sunday Standard.
The Premier League boss pointed out that with the cooperation of the clubs, his office has also managed to accommodate even the national teams’ assignments that fell outside the FIFA calendar.
Setete said that club administrators deserve to be praised because they sacrificed a lot all in the name of the beautiful game. He added that in the coming season, they need to work on their shortfalls in order for Botswana’s football to grow further.
“In the coming season, it would be nice if the working relationship amongst the clubs improves. Club administrators must know that they’re serving the football community and not put their personal interests first. I’m delighted that at least this season we did not have many cases where clubs fought over the ownership of players,” he continued.
The first of the two cases that hit the headlines this season was when Township Rollers refused to release their then captain, Joel Mogorosi, to Mochudi Centre Chiefs in January, claiming that the player belonged to South African giants, Orlando Pirates. Rollers claimed that Mogorosi has been on loan to them but the Botswana Football Association (BFA) players’ status committee dismissed it and allowed the player to move on to Chiefs.
The second involved Rollers in a case where Uniao Flamengo Santos accused them of ‘stealing’ their star players Tsotso Ngele and Thato Bolweleng and hid them in a lodge in Mogoditshane.
Though the players spent some time without playing, they eventually returned to Santos in December.
According to Setete, the recent trips to Maun which involved Township Rollers, BDF XI and Extension Gunners goes to show that clubs want to improve relations. He further added that taking football to the people helps in terms of improving the support base of the clubs concerned.
“By going to Maun, those clubs stand to benefit as they have marketed themselves to the people. I must say that I’ve been impressed by the attendances at the games this season and there is room for improvement. The attendances help us when we go out to talk to potential sponsors because we’re able to tell them the numbers we have,” he told Sunday Standard.
Setete said that the implementation of the Bosele Declaration still remains a big challenge. He said that all clubs must work towards ensuring that the recommendations made in the Bosele Declaration are achieved.
“As we speak, not all the clubs have offices as per the agreement. Having offices makes things easier for those running the league because we can communicate well with the clubs. In the coming season, it’s a necessity for all clubs to have an office though we understand financial challenges,” he said.
In trying to alleviate the financial crisis within Premier League season at the start of the season, Setete said that in the new three-year sponsorship deal which commences in August, they have negotiated that clubs be given P100,000 each to allow them to prepare for the new season.
“This would help the clubs not to start the season on deficit because mostly they rely on gate-takings for survival. It has never been heard of where title sponsor puts money towards clubs’ preparations for the season but we have been fortunate that our sponsor (Be MOBILE) has been understanding,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Premier League will host its annual awards at the Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC) on June 3 where they will reward all those who have excelled in the past season.
Setete said that they will announce all the nominees tomorrow.
The award that is likely to be closely contested is that of Player of the Season.
Rollers’ stars Edwin Olerile and Lawrence Majawa and Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ Moemedi Moatlhaping are favourites for the award as they had a wonderful season.
There will also be awards for Players’ Player of the of the Season, Supporters’ Player of the Season, Coach of the Season, Referee and Assistant Referee of the Season.
The Top Goalscorer of the Season will surely go to Moatlhaping who, before their game against Uniao Flamengo Santos in Molepolole yesterday, has rattled the net 30 times.
There will also be awards for the journalists who have covered the Premier League extensively this season.
At the time of going to press, negotiations were still ongoing to broadcast the awards live on Botswana Television (Btv).
The 2011-2012 season kicks off on August 5.