Before yesterday (Saturday)’s game between Botswana and New Zealand, the Zebras supporters committee threatened boycotting the game, citing exorbitant fees charged by the Botswana Football Association.
The BFA charged P100 for the game but ended up rescinding on their decision and, instead, charged half the prize.
The Supporters Committee threatened further saying they would mobilize the supporters not to attend the game but instead attend a function that would simultaneously run with the game.
The supporters had a point in resisting exorbitant fees, especially given that the team has not been active for some time and New-Zealand is not a popular team. New Zealand is mainly renowned for rugby, which is the most followed sport in their country.
Also University of Botswana (UB) Stadium is not as comfortable as the National Stadium.
The question now is: would the boycotting of the game be a solution, especially for the national team?
The supporters, on the other hand, argue that the issue could have long been solved with the BFA, but lack of communication and consultation was the main problem.
They told Sunday Standard that the only solution was to stay away from the game.
“As the supporters, we have done a lot for this country voluntarily, like mobilising many supporters to attend the games home and away and even working as stewards at the games. Despite doing this, it is like we are not being recognized by those who are supposed to directly deal with us,” said Zicco Koontse, chairman of the supporters committee.
Koontse also told Sunday Standard that threatening to boycott the game is not an indication of being unpatriotic but it was the last thing they could do. He said BFA did not communicate to them in anyway regarding the entrance fees.
Koontse added that they then communicated to the BFA, who did not respond and they (supporters) had no choice but to boycott the game.
Eventually, an emergency meeting was called by the BFA and the supporters and the P50 prize was agreed upon.
The supporters, however, still felt the charges were high and wanted them to be P30. BFA on the other hand reasoned that there are several factors taken into consideration.
He said football is an expensive sport to run and P100 was justifiable.
“Hosting a team of New Zealand caliber does not come cheap and we incur a lot of costs that is why we ended up coming with P100,” said BFA’s, Davi Kndji.
On the other hand, sports analyst, Dikarabo Ramadubu, said regardless of the differences that exist between the BFA and the supporters committee, boycotting the game is uncalled for.
He said taking into consideration the benefits of the game for the country, supporters should not have made boycott threats.
“They had valid reasons for the high fees, but going the boycott way was going too far. There are channels they should have used. People should bear in mind that the Zebras are a national asset for the country and should be always held in high regard. Somehow, maybe it was going to be a blessing because UB Stadium is small compared to the National Stadium,” he said.