The consequences of sponsorship reduction in the Premier League by Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) is already being felt particularly by players due to the absence of man of the match awards during games. Ever since the start of the 2019/20 season no player has been awarded the accolade, a situation which has been attributed to lack of funds. For this season BTC has only injected P5 million as the sponsorship for the league, an amount which is far below the previous sponsorships.
Although Barclays Bank (ABSA Group) has come on board to splash P7.6 million for the next two seasons, the funding is not enough. The P5 million BTC funding coupled with P3.2 million which Barclays will part ways with for this season only add up to P8.2 million falling short by P4.8 million to reach the P13 million which was projected for this season. Last season the man of the match award winners walked away with P1000 plus P250 airtime courtesy of BTC. However two weeks into the season no player is yet to be rewarded for an outstanding performance in the match.
Many pundits are of the view that the absence of the award can have an impact on the performance of players since most of teams are struggling financially therefore obtaining man of the match rewards normally boost them financially. “We shouldn’t forget that more than half of our teams are struggling in terms of paying player salaries and welfare. So some of players depended on this rewards for survival because we all now it’s only few teams which are able to pay their teams well,” said one football administrator who opted for anonymity.
With the premier league already set for the fourth week some of players from various teams in the premier league have expressed different views on the predicament. “I can’t say I’m happy or not because this is a situation beyond my control as a player but it is not good for the league because man of the match awards serves as a motivation to players to work extra and knowing that there is a reward for the job well done. However I will say this can affect performance of some players because some look too much into individual awards while others just want to win titles and cups with their teams, ”said Karabo Phiri of Jwaneng Galaxy.
“It’s very disturbing to play or start the league in this kind of situation when you don’t know the price money, man of the match price and others. Man of the match is very vital because you have to know what you are fighting for because that’s our motivation factor. So for me I think we could have not started the league until everything was ready,” shared Monageng Thaele of Molepolole City Stars.
For Township Rollers’ Tlhalefo Molebatsi the absence of the award doesn’t change anything though he also emphasizes that the reward is a motivation for players. “I don’t think there is a problem at the moment when the award is not available,” he said.
The Patriot on Sunday caught up with Botswana Football Association chief Executive officer Mfolo Mfolo who said the issue is being dealt with. “This is a matter of the premier league budget being affected by issues of sponsorships but the subject will be dealt with accordingly at the board meeting this Friday,”he said.
According to football analyst Monty Gagomokgwa the man o the match awards plays a pivotal role in the league, “The award is imperative for the league more especially to players of those teams which are bit broke because when players get to win the accolade they know they can help themselves with the funds here and there. So the award bears results and brings competition, I remember three seasons ago Moatlhodi Ralesotla won the award three consecutive times in a month and that on its own ended up earning him a player of the month accolade. And that opened doors for him to rise to stardom and before the season even ended he was already taken by teams with money. So if the award is not there is nothing that players are fighting for, so you can see the significance of the prize,” he said.