Sunday, February 28, 2021

The privatisation of Botswana’s football

What provoked me to pen this piece is the current wave of excitement over the privatization of our local football. First I must point out that I am not against privatization of the local football teams and that I wish all the teams the best in their efforts to achieve success.

I wish to express my reservations however on how this privatisation seems to be done, if recent newspaper articles on the same are a true as I believe they are. My intention is to share my opinion and experience with all Botswana especially those in the sports space and hopefully provoke debate on this issue for the benefit of the football supporters and those responsible for management of football and the nation at large.

Timing is very critical in all business transactions and my opinion is that it is never advisable to sell a business when it is not doing well or when it is at its lowest to avoid appearing desperate to the potential buyer. When selling at that stage, the seller (team) loses its bargaining power to the buyer (investor).

Most of our local teams seem to be desperate and seeking a quick-fix-it, once-off plan; essentially making permanent decision over temporary situations.

The processing of due diligence and valuation must be undertaken to scientifically establish the value of the teams otherwise the whole exercise shall remain emotional and defeat the intended purpose. This business process (valuation and due diligence) is not ceremonial but meant to ensure the transaction is in the best interest of both parties. It helps to understand your entity and your potential buyer.

We do not want a situation in our country where societies owning these teams do not benefit from these takeovers or realise later that the buyer’s intentions were not for the benefit and long term success of the teams. Kamoso o fitlhela one person/ group owning two or more teams in one league.

We are exposing society teams to all sorts of risks by rushing into this privatisation fashion.
Business transactions all call for caution. May teams please exercise some calm and soberness in approaching this issue. Teams must first position themselves to a certain level of sustenance and/ or stability.

It is my opinion and humble position that the teams or at least originally, belong to societies. Therefore, the supporters (owners) measure the success of the team not how much they make but how many games, tournaments and league they win.

Therefore the privatisation of our local teams must not neglect the interest of the supporter.
Investors are mostly driven by profit making and it is very possible that in their drive to make these profits, may compromise the supporter.

Botswana cannot afford to have this vital “social property” (teams) to suddenly serve any other interest at the expense of social benefit.

Are the potential investors of these teams aware of what the teams mean to their supporters? Or it’s all about business .How are we addressing issue of optimization of profits vs success rate of the teams?

Combined our local teams are a national assets that deserves to be handled with respect and executive committees running them must be awake to this fact. Our local teams need to exercise caution.

My business experience has taught, among other things, that not all business people are morally upright. The world has a business community constituted by both morally upright and immoral business people.

Our teams must take their time to interrogate potential investors, establish if they are not been taken for a ride. We must ensure our desperate financial situations are not taken advantage of to satisfy immoral intentions.

It is always feels good and exciting to take-off but we must also prepare for the landing. Is our landing going to be as good and exciting as is our take off. Our teams must exercise caution.

I call upon the good office of Botswana Football association if possible to assist monitor and help resource the teams with information on this subject. I pray for the success of all our local teams, potential football investors and assure all that I am not a prophet of doom. Actually those who know the writer can attest to that I am a very positive minded entrepreneur, analytical in thinking and always meaning good for business and this nation like all other Batswana.

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