BDF XI to pull out

SHARE   |   Sunday, 25 January 2015   |   By Othusitse Tlhobogang

• Too broke for CAF competition
• This will not be good: Analyst

Reigning Mascom Top 8 champions BDF XI may not take part in the coming 2015 CAF Champions League due to financial constraints. The army side is expected to travel to Tanzania to play Young Africans SC on the second week of February.
However, reports reaching this publication suggest that BDF XI may pull out of the championship because it is struggling with finances. The team’s spokesperson Peo Keatlholetswe confirmed this, saying they have since written a letter to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) about the matter.
Keatlholetswe said they have notified the association about the financial problems that could hinder the team to partake in the CAF competition this year. “I would not say we have withdrawn from the competition but we have informed BFA about that possibility because of financial problems. We are, however, still looking to source some funds but it is not promising at all,” he explained.   
Sources close to the team revealed that BDF XI officials have been trying to source funds from their parent body Botswana Defence Force (BDF) but could not be given the support because of the institution’s tight budget. Playing in the CAF championship has always been an issue for clubs because the competition requires traveling to different countries at high expenses. beMOBILE Premier League champions Township Rollers also had an issue earlier on and chose to solicit for funds from their supporters.
Efforts to get a comment from BFA were not successful as the Marketing and Communications officer Phakamile Kraai directed this publication to the Chief Executive Officer Keith Maters. Masters was reported to be in a meeting in which they were discussing this matter.
Soccer analysts feel the idea of BDF XI pulling out of the CAF competition is not a good move. They say should BDF XI pull out of the competition it will affect the players as it will deny them the chance to get exposure and experience they need to grow their careers. According Fabian Zulu, it is essential for local players to play and test their strength against other African players from time to time.
“This gives players exposure and experience and it is their aim to see themselves paying at CAF. I do not know why BDF XI would want to pull out but this will not only harm the players but even the nation,” he said. Zulu said that playing in CAF competitions help the country when it comes to the national team level as the players will be getting the exposure and experience needed to do well.
He said this does not only affect the players’ exposure but also their morale. “It is a dream of every player to play at CAF competitions and they give their all for their teams to qualify. Then if they qualify and do not play in the tournament their morale will definitely be affected,” said Zulu.
According to CAF Rules and Regulations, a team which withdraws from the competition before it starts can be fined a sum of $1500 (approximately P13000) and face suspension from the competition. This means that should BDF XI end up pulling out they are likely to face CAF’s wrath and find the team locked off the competition in future. As a result, Zulu said the pulling out will still cause harm to them.

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