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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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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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