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BFA invites intermediaries

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The Botswana Football Association (BFA) recently invited intermediaries or companies that will take over from the previous FIFA agents who were dealing with the sale and contract of football players in the domestic league. Following the hostile ousting of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the arrival of Gianni Infantino a new system has since been put in place. In a brief interview this week BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane confirmed the recent changes.

“A couple of months back FIFA wanted to abolish the old system and introduce intermediaries who will act as dormant companies. These companies must show that they have a clientele,” Mpatane said. The BFA spokesperson did not have the exact number of companies that will be acting as intermediaries in the country.

“I do not have the exact figures now but they should be well over 100 companies. However we will do a numbers check with these companies including, educational background, police clearance and proof of contracts with players”. Previously local agents had to go through written tests to qualify as FIFA player’s agents.

A number of FIFA agents that have operated in the country have only experienced mild success mainly due to the lack of resources and possibly poor networking. However, the new system employed by FIFA seems more flexible and a number of locals are said to have already registered with the BFA. One such individual is Olebile Sikwane.

As an intermediary, Sikwane has already racked up a number of big names in the domestic league. “We have been interested in Tumisang Orebonye of Gaborone United and we have already secured trials for him at the PSL outfit Cape Town City and Chippa United,” Sikwane said this week.

Moreover, the ambitious football intermediary with international connections said another big name wrapped around his far-reaching tentacles is sensational Jwaneng Galaxy goalkeeper Anthony Gouws who is expected to go for trials at PSL side Highlands Parks who have since relegated from the PSL. Sikwane who operates out of Gaborone said another imminent deal could happen between Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum and Black Forests’ free scoring Lynoth Chikuwa. Nevertheless Sikwane said the murky football player market is not easy to navigate. “The lucrative Premier League Market in South Africa is not very attractive, there is a lot of corruption and kickbacks,” he said.

The pragmatic Sikwane said there are other markets for local players including Eastern European countries. “Players in Sudan can earn up to USD 40 000.” Sikwane said an intermediary in football is expected to negotiate player bonuses, salary and sign-on fee. An intermediary is also expected to give players general advice. He also dabbles in

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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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