Clubs decry league freeze 

SHARE   |   Monday, 28 August 2017   |   By Othusitse Tlhobogang

The indefinite postponement of the 2017/18 Botswana Premier League (BPL) kick-off has sparked mixed feelings from Botswana Premier League (BPL) affiliated teams. While some feel the postponement gives them extra time to prepare others are aggrieved by the suspension.  Team officials complain of losing more money on prolonged pre-season. BPL last week announced the postponement of the BTC Premiership start until further notice. The league was due to start on August 26. The reasons for the postponement are not clear.  “The reason for the delay is due to the behind the scenes preparations that are still being made in effort to make the league more exciting,” read the statement. It further said details on the commencement of the league will be communicated in due course. But team officials have stressed that the move is going to negatively impact them going forward. Uniao Flamingo Santos Team Manager Tiro Mokgosi said the suspension of the league start is not good to the teams, especially the newcomers who have no sponsors. Mokgosi said in their case this is affecting them in two ways. He pointed out that with the games not starting, they are bound to struggle to meet the day-to-day running of the club. According to Mokgosi, since they do not have sponsors they rely on the gate takings to help them patch where there is need. “Now that the league is postponed we are going to have difficulties in cash flow. We have to pay players at the end of the month and without the gate takings it is going to be tough,” he said. The concerned Mokgosi highlighted that the suspension of the league means the mobilisation funds are going to be delayed as well. 

Mokgosi said without the mobilisation fund things are going to be tough for them as they could be using the money to try and cover their needs. “At least if mobilisation funds could be released as we await the start of the league it would be better,” he said. He further said the postponement also will delay their efforts of finding new sponsors. He said these days, sponsors are difficult as they want to see the team performing before they could associate with it. Despite this Mokgosi said they will be working hard to make ends meet for the club so that they do well in the league. Even though he concurred with this, Jwaneng Galaxy chairman Njabulo Gilika said the suspension should be looked at from both angles. Gilika said as much as the suspension has financial implications on the clubs it also gives them an opportunity for further fine tune their squads for the coming season. He said the intentions of the suspension sounds very good. “We have to look at the reasons given for this suspension which I understand is to give BPL a chance to put everything in place to have a well running league once it starts,” said Gilika. On the negative impact to the team, Gilika said the suspension has resulted in prolonged pre-season. He said due to this they will have to use more money to keep the team active. “This means playing more friendly games and tournaments and it is going to cost us more money as we wait for the league to start,” he said.

Tafic chairman Thomas Maika said the suspension of the start of the league is going to affect them. Maika said since the mobilisation fund is not yet given out they are struggling because they do not have sponsors. “Gate takings and selling of merchandise at the games would be relieving us but now we are going to struggle even more to meet the day-to-day running of the team,” he said.  Township Rollers Secretary General Khumoyame Masonya also felt the suspension is not good for the team. Masonya said planning for the league that one does not know when it is going to start is not easy. “However, there is nothing we can do to change that so we will keep on preparing,” said Masonya. Meanwhile, team officials said preparations for the league have been going-on very well and they are only awaiting the first whistle. Gilika said Galaxy’s performance was very satisfactory last season and they will be looking to continue where they finished last season. “We would not want to go down but to improve from where we left last season,” he said. Maika, on the other hand, also indicated that preparations are nonetheless going-on well. He said they are finalising the signing of players in a bid to bolster the team. After missing in action in the premier league for a long time, Tafic will be looking to cement their place in the top flight competition.