Authorities at Plot 50265 Lekidi Centre are particularly upbeat about the future of the BTC Premiership, despite the constant nagging reminder of how far The Promised Land is. Mmegi Sport’s MQONDISI DUBE, argues that it might be a case of so near, yet so far as the clubs battle for survival
At times they are so close, they can feel it, but that has often proved a bridge too far. It all gained traction when Botswana Premier League (BPL) teams walked into Cresta Bosele hotel in Selebi-Phikwe in 2008, to pave a new path for local football.
However, a decade later, there is still no finish line in sight; instead a number of clubs are battling to stay afloat.
The meeting in the then thriving mining town, gave birth to a document, aptly called, the Bosele Declaration; football’s blue print towards a professional league.
Strides have been made, but damaging obstacles have periodically surfaced as the BPL tries to navigate a difficult terrain.
The league sponsorship has significantly increased, from the days when winners received a paltry P120, 000 to the present P1.3million.
The total package now stands at more than P50million over three seasons, which includes the league competition and the Mascom Top 8.
However, while there seems to be more money, there are more problems as well. The clubs’ budgets have increased significantly in line with new demands.
Players’ wages gobble much of the clubs’ income, while an expanded 16-team league, up from 12, means more fixtures and travelling. Requirements have been more stringent under the CAF Club Licensing, which has financial implications.
Clubs are expected to have their own offices, full time employees and have contracts with their players, amongst others.
While it is a path that is expected to yield the expected results, most clubs are huffing and puffing, as they fail to keep up with pace.
At BPL level, clubs are irritated that in
All these crucial omissions in a contract, signed with the sponsor, BTC last year.
The BPL is keen on implementing a financial control system, meant to ensure clubs spend within their means.
But the system, while noble, arrives at a time when the majority of the clubs cannot belt tighten anymore.
BPL information indicates that up to 10, more than half of the BTC Premiership clubs, asked for midseason advances, as they battled to stay afloat.
The BPL argues the new financial control system is the magic bullet and carries all answers to clubs’ financial problems.
But as the football authorities might find out, there is still a tunnel at the end of what they perceive to be the light.
Miscellaneous have only eight registered players, yet the season is a month away, while several clubs are failing to kick-start pre-season due to lack of funds.
The dark clouds are not about to clear anytime soon, despite the BPL providing a positive forecast.
Clubs are waiting for mobilisation funds, unaware that they will not be getting anything. A cashless broadcast deal kicks-in this season, meaning reduced income from the Premier League. The BPL has had to reduce grants, which will hit the already struggling clubs.
The authorities are banking on to the triumvirate of Club Licensing, Compliance Manual and Financial Control System as the key players to provide the silver lining.
However, the prescriptive solutions appear at variance with the situation obtaining on the ground.