Most Premier league clubs have seen a very quiet transfer window following a directive from the Botswana Football Association’s (BFA) First Instance Body barring premier league clubs that owe players salaries and tax levies from registering new players.
Extension Gunners are among the clubs with overwhelming debts.
Their spokesperson Willoughby Kemoeng declared their predicament: “We are aware of the communiqué here at Gunners but our biggest challenge is that we fail to pay players due to undertaking the running of our club on a negative balance. We should be generating money through the league where we compete however the same BFA is not coming to the party. We are owed grants and television rights monies – so how are we expected to comply with these club licensing requirements? We should at least meet each other half way. If clubs are paid their dues from time to time we will have no excuses to fail to pay our players. Our only source of income is now gate takings which does not even meet a quarter of our monthly wage bills which runs into thousands of Pula. So at Gunners we have obeyed the communiqué and we will not try to sign any players but we are saying let’s work together and complement each other for the good of Botswana football”.
According to the Premier League’s Setete Phuthego, the directive was brought in to help teams so that they do not incur more debts. “The teams are complying at this point in time, as we have indicated that teams with overdue payables should not sign players. But we have made it clear that teams should try to come up with payment plans with those that they owe if they want to sign players. This is done such that we do not overburden clubs with debts while they already in debts. Remember that one of the club licensing aspects is that there should be financial control and transparency so clubs should not live beyond their means,” said Phuthego.
Phuthego said there are clubs which have approached them with good payment plans seeking to be given permission to register players.
“We have clubs which have overdue payables and are coming to us with some payment plans for us to give them a go ahead to sign players. So our Dispute Resolution Chamber has been busy solving issues of this kind. We have seen a positive reaction from clubs and we believe club licensing will take us somewhere but as we have always said this is not a way to punish clubs but to push them towards professionalism,” concluded Phuthego.
Football analyst Thato Kgosimore believes the directive has affected the clubs very much.
“The January transfer window is well known that it is never busy, but it’s not a surprise for teams which have debts to be disqualified from registering new players. For me it is unfair to them because most of them are struggling and big teams continue to worsen the situation by snatching their best players. The other thing is to take into account that club licensing calls for this kind of professional running of clubs,” he said.
Among the few that have registered players is Township Rollers that acted swiftly to beef up their squad by bringing in Kago Botsang (Notwane FC), Onkarabile Ratanang (Sankoyo Bush Bucks) and Congolese Wasindidi Bibo Bindu. Rollers saw four of their players taken up by South African clubs in the just ended transfer window.