Barclays Bank of Botswana, soon to be called Absa, is the new sponsor of the local Premier soccer league. The bank announced a P7.6 million two-year sponsorship for the league on Wednesday.
The new sponsorship follows the exit of Botswana Telecommunications (BTC) which has been sponsoring the premier league to the tune of P39 million three-year contract, which the BFA signed with the telecom company in 2017.
BTC has been sponsoring the Premier League since 2009, and has seen cash prize money for winners being P1 million. The new premier league sponsorship has received mixed reactions from clubs officials and football analysts.
Football analyst Jimmy George said the sponsorship is welcome though he expressed concern that the sponsorship money is not enough to run the league for two consecutive seasons.
George said the costs of running premier league are very high and insisted that there is fear of whether the sponsorship could cover all the premier league teams’ monthly grants.
He said the P1.2 million that is drawn from the sponsorship for development could have been allocated its own budget or at least BFA could have opted to look for separate development sponsor.
Tankiso Morake, Jwaneng Galaxy Public Relations Officer, praised Barclays for coming on board to sponsor the league.
He, however, expressed the worry that the sponsorship could have been broken down to make the teams aware of what they should expect so as to prepare the clubs to make good budgets before the league starts.
“We are yet to fully understand the components of this new deal. We will talk more on the sponsorship after we are given a clear light of what the deal constitutes. However, we are thankful for Barclays to sponsor the league,” he said.
Barclays Managing Director, Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane, said her bank’s sponsorship demonstrates its passion towards sport development and honing talent in Botswana; and thus this relationship is more than just a transactional affiliation.
“This partnership will contribute significantly to the development and growth of the local football industry. Moreover, it will empower the youth and directly impact the pool of talent that we have here in our country,” she added.
Pheko-Moshagane said Barclays Bank in partnership with BFA will fund a Corporate Social Investment programme for P1.2 million, which is crucial part of their sponsorship.
The programme includes providing mentorship and coaching clinics in 200 schools nationwide in addition to donating indestructible balls to the schools. Pheko-Moshagane also acknowledged the efforts that are made by BFA in building a productive and successful football league and community in this country.
She said despite the challenges the BFA has faced over the years, it has continued to ensure that it cultivates the growth of local football.
BFA president Mclean Letshwiti applauded Barclays for the sponsorship, saying the bank has been keen on football development citing the sponsoring of Barclays Kabelano Charity Cup from 2013 to 2016.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi also spoke at the event where he reiterated Government’s commitment to investing in sport development. "I am pleased to inform you that the government has allocated over P180 million this financial year towards the development of sport," he said.