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Money squabbles rock broke BONA

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Some Botswana Netball Association (BONA) affiliates choked on their words this past weekend at the realization that the BONA bank account might be running completely dry.

When former Botswana Netball Association (BONA) President Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego stepped down in 2017, she announced that she leaves BONA with a bank account worth P500 000. The information is retrieved from the captured 2017 BONA AGM minutes.

Nevertheless, at the association Annual General Meeting held in Gaborone over the weekend, BONA Secretary General Kebatenne Hulela announced that when they assumed office, taking over from Sebego, BONA did not have the P500 000, but figures were way below the said amount.

Hulela’s announcement was met with an uproar from the floor, affiliates up in arms and demanding that Hulela explain further. Others even questioned if Sebego sold them a fairy tale and if so, why the committee has been silent on the matter. In the heated moment of clear disappointment and displeasure that had evoked many emotions in the room, Hulela tried to calm the situation by explaining that the funds had been gobbled by debts coming from hosting the Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC).

The NWYC was held in Botswana in July 2017, while the BONA elective AGM was held in October 2017. “It is possible that the previous committee might have checked the bank balance two days before coming for the AGM and within those two days, many invoices might have come through demanding payment,” she said.

It seemed however that her explanation did not hit home for some as more murmuring continued to fill the room until one member of Flying Hawks club raised a concern that BONA sold them a dummy. “You gave us a wrong picture of what was on the ground, why is it that the current leadership never bothered to inform us at the realization that things were not as they had expected,” she questioned.

Again, it was questioned whether it was really sincere for Sebego to have announced that the BONA bank account was healthy while she knew that they have overwhelming debts that needed to be paid. She argued that it had been only three months after the world cup event was held and if indeed there were steep debts to be paid, the former president should have been aware.

It does not help that BONA has since 2017 not been able to fully discuss the association’s financial affairs, even the weekend meeting saw the compiled financial report deemed incomplete and deferred to a date to be communicated.

Meanwhile, despite Hulela not mentioning figures at the AGM, one member of the current executive committee reliably informed Sun Sport that they found only P350 000 in the account. However, they still had to pay three more big companies with AT&T Monnakgotla Travel and Tours Office alleged to have been owed over P53 000. In addition, the AGM costs had not been deducted from that said P500 000 and the total expenses were over P100 000.

“The AGM expenses were over P100 000 because of accommodation costs and all, remember the AGM was held at the Majestic Hotel in Palapye, by the end of the week, that P350 000 was all gone after paying just a few service providers,” said the source that spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19

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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.”

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BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet

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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.

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