Sunday, October 17, 2021

Will there ever be peace in the BFA corridors?

On face value, the story of the sponsorship deals involving Pulah Sports Marketing (PSM) and Asinamona Investments reads like mere cases of bad administration and mismanagement.

However, a little digging and searching unearths from the BFA closets copses and skeletons from the backstabbing and political wars that have plagued the football brotherhood since times immemorial.

Both deals speak of a divided football fraternity, where sabotage is rife and elected administrators go all out to ensure that rivals fail, even if this is at the expense of the growth of football.

In his final report on PSM’s dealings with the Botswana Premier League (BPL), former PSM executive Bennett Mamelodi painted an unflattering picture of the wheeling and dealing within the football circles.

In the report, which is dated 06 June 2011, Mamelodi spoke to the issue of some within the football fraternity denying that PSM had been involved in the negotiation of the then beMobile sponsorship.

“As you may recall, not everyone embraced the role of Pula Sports Marketing in the earlier stages of our relationship.  This was painfully evident at the final contract signing between BFA and BTC where baseless implications were made that we were not involved in the negotiations,” Mamelodi wrote at the time.

“It is unfortunate that those trying to worm their way into the League found it fitting to spread lies about competing entities willing to pay more for the Title Property.  Fortunately those implicated were able to set the record straight,” he continued.

The  same picture comes into sharp focus yet again in the now court bound controversy surrounding the involvement of South African based consultancy firm Asinamona in the Debswana First Division League (DFDL) sponsorship deal.

According to close sources, prior to the commencement of contract talks with Debswana over the renewal of the DFDL, some members of the football fraternity, in a quest for power, tried by all means to derail the sponsorship talks.

“As the battle for office got dirtier, opposing members went all out to denigrate their opponents. Some went to the extent of even obstructing sponsorship negotiations by soiling the name of others to potential sponsors. As a result, some of the potential sponsors pulled back,” a source said.

With such a poisonous atmosphere chocking the local FA, the source said it is therefore not surprising that former president Tebogo Sebego and those close to him as well as Asinamona never divulged the progress of the sponsorship talks with others once the NEC had given the South African based consultants the go ahead to negotiate.

“He (Sebego) knew that if he divulged that negotiations with Debswana were at an advanced level, some within the committee would go all out to sabotage the sponsorship deal. Some within the NEC then felt he was sidelining them and taking decisions unilaterally, but who would not do it if people deliberately sought to derail progress?” the source said rhetorically.

In the aftermath of the sponsorship agreement, some who were in the Sebego led NEC but were opposed to him have now spearheaded a campaign to ensure Asinamona is not paid.

Having been sidelined in the sponsorship talks, those opposed to Sebego say the Asinamona contract was never sanctioned by the BFA NEC.

“This was just an agreement undertaken by Sebego and the then BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kitso Kemoeng at the exclusion of the NEC. That is why the contract was even hidden and only produced by Kemoeng when pressed after Asinamona made their payment demands,” the source said.

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