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First Division likely to lose Debswana sponsorship

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BFA president Tebogo Sebego remains optimistic that Debswana will renew its P2 million sponsorship for the First Division North and South league.

The three – year deal expires at the end of this season. Sources close to both camps say that by end of last season Debswana had already indicated to BFA that it was unlikely to renew the sponsorship citing certain contractual infringements.

The agreement was that BFA must give Debswana mileage through proper packaging which included stadia branding and live broadcasts of first division matches as well as negotiating with national television broadcaster to feature a weekly first division magazine show.

These would have promoted the giant mining company by showing how diamonds benefit locals. Sadly, the sponsor feels this has not happened. Games continued to be played without branding the sponsor in first division grounds with the sponsor only getting mileage as title sponsors whenever there were media reports on their fixtures and results.

In a kneejerk reaction calculated to assuage the sponsor, BFA is said to have rushed to the premier league office seeking space for parameter advertising in live broadcasts of beMOBILE fixtures to include Debswana and other BPL strategic partners like Huawei and Grand Palm.

Although BFA president has attributed the rift with the sponsor to lack of experience by some of the handlers, there are reports that Debswana is not happy with how the whole deal went through.

Debswana sponsorship has resurrected and brought life to first division. The level of competiveness and excitement has greatly improved as has the level of officiating. Referees were paid P580 per fixture while teams were given a once off P50 000 grant to supplement their budget. Not only did this ease their financial burden but it helped the teams to scout and sign quality players from lower  tier leagues and in some cases even the premier league.

Sources within Lekidi told BG Sport that in its desperation, the BFA now wants to move the national first division under the ambit of the BPL office so that it can be given the necessary attention that the premier league is giving the beMOBILE sponsorship.

Contacted for comment on developments around the sponsorship, BFA president Sebego said: “Debswana sponsorship negotiations have already started. My CEO is handling the matter and I am confident that Debswana will continue with their sponsorship.” But some first division officials who didn’t want to be named expressed frustration at the way BFA is handling the matter.

One said that should Debswana pull out it would lend a death blow to first division as they’ll no longer be able to pay referees, sign quality players or buy their teams proper training equipment, bottled water and energy drinks. Another official said that if renewed the BFA should allow the first division national committee to manage the sponsorship.

He said that first division has capable and qualified people from different professional backgrounds who can manage and give sponsors value for their money. For the first time in its history, first division teams that got promoted to the premier league were very competitive and have not been relegating unlike in the past when they would relegate the same season.

Sankoyo Bush Bucks, Miscellaneous and Orapa United –which have all graduated from First Division – bear testimony to the role played by Debswana in the lower division league.

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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko

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ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff

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BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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