Last week Orapa United got a shot in the arm of P1.5 million from Debswana’s Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) ahead of their debut at the 2017 Confederation Cup (CAF) games.
Welcoming the participants during the handing over ceremony of the funds last week, the Chairman of Orapa United, Thatayaone Sithole, expressed happiness over the boost ahead of the CAF competition.
“It has not been an easy journey. Four years ago I was appointed Orapa United Chairman. I came up with a strategy in 2013 that was a road map to the Premier League. Little did I know that we would someday perform in the CAF games.
One of our main missions as Orapa is that we want to be a benchmark for other teams and we are very happy about our performance so far,” he said.
Sithole revealed that a number of teams have since visited the mining town to benchmark on Orapa United’s successes. Outlining some of their goals, he said that they aimed to achieve supremacy in football, financial independence and aspire to make a conducive environment for their players.
“Participation on the continent or CAF games has always been part of our vision. Our team has loyal and committed players. We also have a technical team which is superb. Most of all our association with Debswana has made us to reach this far. We have already paid P650 000 to participate in the CAF games and we thank Debswana for affording us that opportunity. We hope the boys will go and shine,” he said.
Giving a keynote address, the General Manager of Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) Bakani Motlhabani said Debswana recognised the need to support community soccer teams and continue to support National soccer initiatives in partnership with Botswana Football Association (BFA) through their Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme.
“Orapa United Football Club was formed four years ago through the “Orapa Today Boteti Tomorrow” initiative. This is in response to the need for the upliftment of community soccer within the Boteti Sub District.
“Given that there were a number of soccer teams at the time, we had Orapa Bucks, Wanderers, White Diamonds and Swallows. It was agreed that the teams merge into a single team in line with the “Orapa Today, Boteti Tomorrow” mantra of One Orapa; One team,” said the General Manager.
He said that a united team would also benefit more from the combined level of support as opposed to fragmented level of support from their CSI programme. Motlhabani said one of the immediate benefit that was envisaged in the early days was to have a strong and united team whose performance would attract high profile games to Orapa for the benefit of the Orapa and the Boteti communities further making Orapa a great place to live and work at.
“As we launch Debswana’s support to Orapa United’s participation in the 2017 CAF games, we look back with pride at the great benefits of having supported the team over the years. One of the benefits that we have enjoyed in our sponsorship to Orapa United has been the mileage that the Debswana brand has earned through the much celebrated performance of the team in games where they have both won and lost. This is due to their consistent enjoyable and outstanding performance,” Motlhabani added.
He said another long term benefit for their support to Orapa United is ensuring that they leave a legacy beyond diamond mining. He added that this is in line with their mine closure planning which aims at ensuring a better Boteti for future generations beyond the life of their mines.
“I am humbled by how Orapa United has grown from a small team to a formidable team. Our Corporate Social Investment support to Orapa United is testimony of how as a business we are on a social performance journey of building resilient communities from good to great,” he said.
Motlhabani said there are many other initiatives through which they continue to demonstrate their passion and support towards sports development. He gave example of their sponsorship of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) First Division league and the “Re ba bona Ha” grassroots soccer development.
“These gestures are by no doubt a demonstration of the commitment we have as an organisation to the development of sport in the country. It is our hope that through today’s sponsorship, Orapa United will represent us well in the CAF competition as it has been doing locally,” he said in conclusion.
Orapa United will battle it out next week against Mbabane Swallows FC in Swaziland on Saturday.