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“We are clean”

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The Ides of March’ is the date best known for the assassination of the main protagonist Julius Caesar by Brutus and Cassius in the famous Shakespearean tragedy – ‘Julius Caesar’.

This literary masterpiece best describes the recent political demise of former Botswana Premier League (BPL) chairman Walter Kgabung and his deputy Solomon Mantswe. The two were unceremoniously removed from their positions following a fateful BPL Board of Governors meeting on 26th March following allegations of financial embezzlement.

The pair was not the only casualty as BPL Chief Executive Officer Bennet Mamelodi also found himself in the line of heavy artillery fire. This week both Kgabung, who is Township Rollers’ chairman and Mantswe (Police XI) chairman, called an impromptu press conference in Gaborone to clear their good names.
“We called this press conference, for the purpose of which was mainly influenced by the desire on our part to share our side of the story regarding the circumstances leading to our removal,” Kgabung told the newshounds.

“It is common cause that the Board of Governors met at a meeting on 26th March, as part of a scheduled governance process where strategic decisions are discussed and decided upon in the furtherance of the premier league.”

The former chairman, who insisted that he was neither seeking reinstatement nor taking legal action against his tormentors, said part of the meeting discussed the issue of financial grants to premier league clubs.

“It had become apparent that preceding the meeting that even though at the material time, the premier league had not overspent its budget, projections indicated that because of failure to realise financial inflows from projected income generating streams, the league would be over the budget by P6 million at year end.”

According to Kgabung, the board was quick to put the blame on not only him but his deputy for alleged misuse and embezzlement of premier league money. Moreover, Kgabung who seemingly views the whole episode as politically motivated, said he was further accused of securing a P900 000 loan with Township Rollers investor Jagdish Shah to distribute among some teams in the premier league and thus giving the beneficiaries an unfair advantage.

“In addition there was talk that I had authorised the use of the Premier league official letterhead to support requests by clubs to solicit financial assistance from Mr Shah.” Kgabung said the Board went on to remove him and Mantswe even though they had no constitutional power to do so. The Board further suspended the CEO of the Premier League Bennet Mamelodi with immediate effect, even though he was not in attendance at the material time.

“Our sole reason is to officially respond to the actions of our fellow board members and buttress our position that the process that was followed to remove us was unlawful and inconsistent with constitutional provision of the Botswana Football Association (BFA).”

Speaking during the same occasion, Solomon Mantswe said being removed from their positions does not mean they were no longer Board members of the BPL. “We remain surprised because the BFA constitution does not allow the board to take such decisions, they can only make recommendations,” Mantswe said.
Moreover, Mantswe said he was previously called upon by some board members to oust Kgabung, which he refused.

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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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