Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) owes the senior football national team, the Zebras, more than a million pula in unpaid allowances and appearance fees.
The BNSC has built up a salary and allowance debt since October 2015 and this is reported to be weighing down on the morale of the national team. One senior player is owed close to P65 000 which has been accumulating over the years.
While the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has always been blamed for the late payment of players, it has since been established that the local football mother body has always tried to play ball but were frustrated by the BNSC.
Contacted for comment, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane confirmed that the national team players are owed large sums of monies.
“Yes there are players that are being owed as far back as 2015 for appearances fees” Mpatane said. He further explained that “the BFA has paid what is expected of them to have paid.”
He said the BFA has submitted claim requests to the BNSC and the ministry to do their part. “At the moment I can’t say how much is owed to the players and why the players are not paid,” said Mpatane.
While Mpatane refused to discuss details, it has since emerged that national team players were not paid for games involving, among others, the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Botswana Vs Eretria played on the 13/10/2015, Botswana vs. Mali played 14/11/2015, Botswana vs. Mali 17/11/2015, Botswana Comoros 24/03/2016, Botswana vs. Comoros 27/03/2016, Botswana vs. Uganda 04/06/2016, Botswana vs. South Africa 25/06/2016, Botswana vs. Burkina Faso 05/09/2016 and AFCON 2017, Botswana vs. Mauritania played on 10/06/2017.
Reached for comment, BNSC Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bobby Gaseitsiwe affirmed that the commission owed the national team some monies.
“I can confirm that indeed we owe players’ appearance fees and monthly allowances. We owe BFA P1, 201,000.00 which includes players’ monthly allowances and appearance fees,” the BNSC Acting CEO confirmed.
Gaseitsiwe explained that the delay in payment was due to processes that need to be completed before money can be disbursed.
“Sometimes the delay can be internal between BFA and BNSC Secretariat. We have to undertake extensive cross checking to avoid taking incomplete information to the Ministry,” he explained.
“The way the Incentives and allowances policy works is that National Sport Associations are expected to submit their performances together with official records to BNSC within 2 weeks after their return from an internal engagement. The BNSC will then compile and check before documents are taken to the Ministry for payment,” he said.
“This process usually takes sometime but very too long. After the Ministry had transferred the funds we would then pay the National Sport Associations concerned. The BFA is the most affected when it comes to delays in payments of monthly allowances, but we rely on them to give us a list of players engaged monthly,” explained Gaseitsiwe.
Quizzed on when the Zebras players’ would be paid, Gaseitsiwe said they expect the payments to be made this month. “The money will be paid to BFA latest 15 September 2017,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gaseitsiwe said the Zebras were not the only national team which is owed by the commission.
“There are a couple of other NSA like Botswana Athletics, Swimming and Boxing. These will also be paid as soon as funds are available to the Commission,” Gaseitsiwe said.
The BNSC acting CEO said athletics is owed P143, 350, boxing owed P24, 999.99 while swimming is ‘still to submit its claims.’
On what the BNSC is doing to hasten the disbursement of allowance and appearance fees to national team players, Gaseitsiwe had this to say; “We make sure we engage our NSA to fast track submission of proper and correct documentation. We usually make sure that we check before we submit to government.”
“It is in our interest to make sure that our athletes are paid for their performances. Our government is fully supportive of our National Teams,” he concluded.