The Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) has established a welfare fund to help support and prepare local football players for life after the end of their professional career.
Acording to FUB Secretary General, Kgosana Masaseng, the welfare fund is part of the union’s development programme that will take care of retired and currently active players . Masaseng says raising funds to support both current and legend footballers is one of their priority areas. "We have now taken the idea a little bit further to say let us convert it into a welfare fund that will be able to assist our players,” Masaseng told The Patriot Sport.
He noted that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) also recently came on board to support the initiative, and the two are now collaborating to figure out how they can contribute towards the fund. “The nature of operation is for us to raise funds for the initiative but we couldn’t do that now because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Masaseng explained that the assistance which players are receiving through the fund are in the form scholarship opportunities, coaching courses, financial literacy and skills development among others. Former premier league stars, Sekhana “chicken nandos” Koko and Lesego Molemogi are among beneficiaries of the initiative. According to Masaseng, Koko is currently pursuing Sports Management at Nelson Mandela University while Molemogi is pursuing Masters in Business Administration.
Through the same initiative FUB also recently managed to assist foreign players plying their trade locally who were struggling sustain themselves due to the covid-19 induced extreme social distancing. Their clubs were struggling to pay them their monthly salaries. Masaseng said through the fund they managed to at least assist some of the players with food groceries.
Furthermore, through the same fund, both FUB and BFA have also agreed to assist former players who were injured whilst still playing professional football. Masaseng indicated that some of these former players are wheelchair bound. According to him, they have recently identified Mosimanegape Twizzer Ramohibidu, Malepa Bolelang, Seboloko Khutsafalo and Tiza Sekgaphane as beneficiaries.
Former national team full back, Ramohibidu is confined to a wheel chair after he was involved in a car accident in 2015 while former Ecco City Greens’ striker, Bolelang’s leg was amputated in 2018 after he was also involved in a freak accident. "These are the four beneficiaries we have identified to assist them during the covid-19 period because they do not have any source of income to help sustain themselves,” Masaseng said.
The BFA, FUB, Minister of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare and the Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Dr Edwin Dikoloti also recently paid a courtesy call to Ramohibidu and donated a total of P7 500 cash to him.
For his part Ramohibidu has expressed gratitude about the assistance he has been receiving from FUB. He pleaded for the same helping hand to also be extended to other former players who are also in need just like him. The former Zebras and FC Satmos player said he is also happy to finally see the leadership of Botswana Football Association coming to check on him after he got injured. Ramohibidu expressed disappointment by lack of support from BFA despite him having successfully played for the national team for a very long time. Before he was promoted to the senior national team ‘Twizzer’ also played in the national Under-23 team.
“To tell the truth FUB has always been there for me and I can not complain much about them but what has been hurting me is the BFA administration because since I got injured they never cared to check how I was doing. Go tlhola motho gase ga madi hela but go bua le motho o molekola is also appreciated,” he pointed.
Ramohibidu who is currently surviving by a small chicken production business said he will also be more grateful if the established fund can be used to assist him get physiotherapy service.
Another beneficiary, Sekhana Koko has encouraged other current and ex-players to also tap into and make use of the fund for their own benefit. Koko appreciated that it is only through the fund that he is being able to pursue his aspirations to become a qualified football administrator. Currently studying Executive Programme in Sports Management through Nelson Mandela University in South Africa Koko intends to thereafter pursue the FIFA Master course.
“Most of the people working for FIFA have studied these two programmes,” said Koko, who indicated that it is his dream to work for the International Federation. “My intention is to try and add value to our local football administration with an aim of going up the ranks either working for COSAFA, CAF or FIFA.”