The Chairman of Jwaneng Galaxy Football Club, Njabulo Gilika says they have not finalised ideas on forming a ladies football club because they are still unsure about the direction of women football in Botswana.
Speaking to this publication on the sidelines of the Galaxy press conference held in Gaborone recently, Gilika said it would be pointless to form a ladies’ team only for it to remain without action. He noted that in the past, women football was haunted by many challenges and topping the list was insufficient funds to run a successful women’s league.
However, with Botswana Football Association (BFA) assurance to resurrect women football locally, Gilika hopes his side will tap in on the opportunities. “I really cannot put a date to it; however we have many things to consider before the plan is rolled into action,” Gilika said.Not only is Galaxy worried about the inconsistent ladies’ league, forming another team means additional expenses on the team. The Debswana backed team’s intention is to secure other sponsors.
Gilika explained that they take pride in empowering females as it is only right that they return the favour for they have a large pool of ladies among the supporters.In the meantime, it remains to be seen what next season will bring for the local ladies as last season was nothing short of surprises and disappointments. Initially the BFA had announced that the games will be played in all the regions, however it later turned out that only few regions, mainly those in Gaborone and surrounding areas managed to actually play the game.
FIFA Chief Women’s Football Officer Sarai Bareman, who was in Botswana three months ago during the International Working Group (IWG) on Women and Sport World Conference had revealed to this publication that FIFA injects some fund into BFA for women football development. She further assured that Botswana will be assisted whenever BFA comes knocking at their doors provided the right procedures are followed.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
Botswana Hockey Association (BHA) President Unaswi Matebu has confessed that her Association will suffer major financial losses post the Covid 19 pandemic that has left the sport fraternity at a standstill.
Matebu recently told this publication that the current situation does not only have tremendous effects on their schedule, but also there will be financial implications more especially that the association does not have full time sponsors.
“We had to cancel most of our calendar activities such as tournaments, national team trainings, Board meetings, and club activities since mid-March this year, all of which have cost us money to prepare for,” Matebu remarked in an interview.
Additionally she said the planning phase for their 5-year Development Plan which was supposed to be launched in June will have to be postponed. Also there are national competitions that were postponed till further notice despite them having already set up teams and having already started preparing.
“Our Indoor Hockey Senior National teams had already started preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations – a World Cup qualifier – that was supposed to be held in June, 2020, in South Africa. Our Field Hockey Senior National teams had already begun preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were supposed to be held in August, 2020 in Zimbabwe,” she added.
Moreover, it was going to be an excessively detailed and decorated year for local hockey governing body, with the Youth National teams having already began preparations for the Africa Youth Championships that were billed for September, 2020, in Ghana.
“Player conditioning has obviously been affected because athletes are currently not training as planned and what we had achieved so far might go to waste. We are only hoping that the Continental and World Hockey governing bodies will give us enough time to prepare for these competitions post the pandemic.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
Amidst wide spreading fears that Botswana’s top flight league might be canceled and considered null and void because of the crippling Covid-19 pandemic, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has yet to make a determination on the matter and has in fact ruled out scrapping off the season altogether.
Local football observers and pundits alike have already started talking of the possibilities after similar considerations of nullifying their seasons were made in the leagues of other countries especially in Europe. No football activity has taken place in the country since social distancing measures were imposed to avoid the spread of the corona virus.
Local football pundit Fabian Zulu is one of those who believe there is a likelihood the football season will be nullified. “If the current situation persists, then there is a high possibility of declaring the league null and void. This situation wasn’t planned, no one knew that by now we would be facing this kind of situation; so the possibility is very high.
However, in an interview this week, BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the association has not considered canceling and nullifying the season as an option yet, adding that “currently we are observing a period of extreme social distancing, the ministry of health and wellness will obviously give advice on the possibility of getting back to football.”
Consequently the BFA still awaits the Ministry to declare that the risks of spreading the virus are reduced and come up with a contingency plan. “If the ministry says there is a reduced health risk we will play out the season; if they advise against it we will then see what steps to take. The health of our players is more important and we will be guided by the responsive authorities,” Mpatane remarked.
However, suspension or cancellation of the leagues across the world seems inevitable even as some European leagues, more specifically the English Premier League, are now contemplating a behind-closed-doors campaign to finish off the remaining matches.