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BPL experiences supporters’ cold feet

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Botswana Premier League (BPL) interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang is of the view that BTC premiership clubs should form a formidable team along with his office. Ntshinogang reckons this will ensure that spectators flock the stadiums in the upcoming 2017/18 season.

“We are going to be working with clubs to ensure that we improve the level of attendance at Stadiums. As you may be aware, clubs are supposed to play a bigger role in this as they are the ones who are directly in touch with their supporters,” said the BPL boss.

Ntshinogang called on premier league clubs to come up with clever marketing strategies to lure supporters to stadiums. “Our role is to oversee and facilitate that the league is played under an atmosphere which will be desirable to all stakeholders.”

According to Ntshinogang every Premier League Club despite where they are located should work hard in ensuring that their supporters follow them religiously and are able to travel with them wherever they play.

However, Township Rollers mouthpiece Phempherethe Pheto did not share the same sentiments arguing that the leading factor to low turn up of spectators does not translate to clubs failing to attract good numbers. Instead Pheto came short of pointing fingers at the BPL.

“If you are selling a product to someone and you don’t put in place the right measures to ensure that the product reaches the people without any hustles then you are failing in that regard.

Since the inception of the e-ticket the turn out at the stadiums is proven to be low.” Pheto cited that the abrupt and unexpected changes to fixture have led to spectators abandoning games.

“Imagine if a game is slated for Molepolole Sports Complex and in the early morning the venue switches to Lobatse, not many people will attend that game.”
For his part, the outgoing Orapa United PRO Tebatso Hule said they would make plans to attract supporters outside Orapa to ensure that they broaden their fan base across the country. “We have been doing numerous activations to make sure that we attract as many supporters as possible.”

Amongst other things, Hule said attendance on their side was lowered by an inevitable inconvenience. “We had a damaged section in our stadium so we couldn’t accommodate as many spectators. However, we have since rectified this problem.”

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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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