There was a jubilant move this week in Lobatse and other areas of the country as Extension Gunners’ supporters celebrated the news of Chairman Kitso Dlamini’s resignation. Dlamini reportedly resigned over the weekend after a band of supporters threatened violence against him while others allegedly insulted his wife. For fear of his life and that of his family, he is said to have taken the decision to step down.
For over a month now, supporters of the well-followed club demanded the resignation of the entire Gunners’ management committee with the team having become the laughing stock of their rivals because of a string of poor results. Supporters blamed their woes on the management rather than the technical teams and players, saying poor running of the club was the source of their problems.
Incidentally, the club started the season on a high note, recording 12 points from their first four games under the tutelage of Keitumetse Paul and thereby leading the league log standings for the first time after many years. Paul has since moved to Mochudi Centre Chiefs as Assistant Coach after a fall out with the Gunners’ management. Information reaching this publication already indicates that the club’s former Public Relations Officer Cassim Dada is being favored to take over the leadership of the club.
The last straw for the Gunners’ faithful was their Friday 1-3 loss to Orapa United in a Mascom Top 8 quarter final match that saw the club tumble out of the cup on 4-2 aggregate after the first leg 1-1 draw in Orapa three weeks ago. The committee has also been blamed for failure to bring on board business partners to relieve or cushion supporters from contributing for every club activity, including daily expenses of the club.
In voting for the Dlamini-led committee, Gunners’ supporters entrusted their leadership with the responsibilities among others, identifying a business model which can move the club forward and also secure an investor to take care of the welfare of the players.
Now it is their take that the management has failed, and now want people with fresh ideas who should be able to support their technical teams rather than fire them.
One of the club’s long serving players Monageng Thaele admitted in a recent interview that the current standoff between management and supporters was affecting their welfares as players. The player added that the team paid their salaries even though the payments are not consistent.
The club’s Public Relations Officer Keorapetse Kgasa confirmed that the chairman has tendered his resignation. The deputy Chairman Oduetse Langwane has been elevated to the chairmanship.
According to Kgasa, the committee is empowered by the club’s constitution to co-opt members to fill the vacant post. Gunners will have an elective annual general assembly next year around June or July. Kgasa said negotiations with investors are at an advanced stage although he did not divulge much information. He pleaded: “I would like to ask our supporters to be patient, this team is self-sponsored. We do not have regular sources of income; we have not played at home for some time, which affects our income in a way.”
As of Tuesday evening, the Botswana Premier League had not received official information on Dlamini’s resignation. “We are aware of the news of his resignation, but my office is yet to receive official communication,” BPL CEO Bennett Mamelodi told Sun Sport. As club chairman, Dlamini also served in the premier league board.
Local hockey body to incur massive financial loss post Covid-19
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.”
BFA will not declare the season null and void – yet
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.