Orange FA Cup – with prize money valued at P12.6 million for three seasons – has rubbed some football pundits the wrong way as they feel the winning packages are low.
The giant local mobile company has penned down a three-year partnership with Botswana Football Association (BFA) and launched the Orange FA Cup which will see 48 football teams gunning for the cup championship. The deal will see P4.2 million played for per season and a total of P15 million set aside for the marketing purposes, hence the entire deal will cost P27.6 million.
Local teams and football commentators reacted with disappointment particularly to the prize money breakdown with the winners expected to take home P700, 000 as the first prize while other teams dropping before the last 16 round will pocket as little as P5, 000.
Football analyst Jimmy George has not been impressed with the tournament’s prize money breakdown, insisting that the tournament is not bringing in any difference to the current BTC league and Mascom Top 8 competitions in terms of value.
He said the P 700, 000 first prize money is not satisfying since a team can even spend over the prize money in the entire tournament from first game to the final. He said P 5,000 is coming more as a disgrace to clubs.
“Yes, the FA Cup has been what we needed in the local football as it has been long absent. However what Orange is bringing on board is not enticing at all; we expected a lot in terms of the cup adding the value to league and Top 8 but it is very unsatisfactory with all the prize money categories starting from the lower P5, 000 to the P700, 000,” said George.
Township Rollers media-liaison Bafana Phetho also expressed dissatisfaction at the prize money aspect, adding that at least they should have surpassed a million Pula for the first prize. He said running a team is costly and even the P5 000 is not enough for taking care the logistics of a team travelling from Gaborone to play with a First Division team in Morupule for instance.
Phetho said as the football fraternity they are disappointed by the prize money structure but confirmed that the tournament is good for local football as it will help in unearthing talent.
Gilport Lions’ General Manager Mpho Sephiri concurred that for now what has been offered cannot help a team surviving in covering the running costs in the tournament.
“Although we are glad and thankful to Orange with the FA Cup; we are hoping that eventually as time goes on the sponsors will consider increasing the prize monies,” opined Sephiri.
Congested, overlapping season
Another issue that is worrisome with the FA Cup being set to start in January 2019 and forming part of the 2018\19 season calendar is that the season may be congested and over run based on the fact that the leagues – first division and premier league – commenced late.
George pointed out that the cup could have been set aside for the new coming season, since it has lot of games.
He said there should be proper planning and consultation with the teams which have already budgeted and planned for the running costs of the league and Mascom Top 8 by those participating. He said the cup was just thrown in as a surprise package.
Pheto also warned that the FA Cup will affect the league and Top 8 schedule.
“The tournament is going to create a mix up and confusion to be honest; even the three football sponsors in BTC, Mascom and now Orange will not gain mileage as they would have expected. If proper consultative route was taken the tournament would be set for a new season,” he added.
During the FA Cup launch on Monday, Dr Patrick Benon – Orange CEO – noted that the tournament is a way of Orange supporting sport development in Botswana.
Botswana Premier League (BPL) CEO Thabo Ntshinogang said 48 teams will participate in the tournament and champions will pocket P700 000, runners-up P350 000, P 150 000 for semifinalists, quarterfinalists P60 000, last 16 teams will walk home P25 000 rich. The second and first round losers will receive P10 000 and P5 000 respectively.