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Calls to reduce BPL clubs grow louder

STAFF WRITER
The BPL is seen as bloated with leaner structure more ideal
With the majority of the 16 Botswana Premier League (BPL) clubs battling to survive, calls to trim the league in order to make it competitive and sustainable, have gained fresh traction.

Most of the clubs have been pegged back due to financial challenges, with particularly the community and most followed sides such as Extension Gunners, Gaborone United and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, feeling the pinch.

The 16 teams are deemed too many for a league facing financial constraints, and a country with a population of 2.2million.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo said the soccer mother body supports a leaner structure.

“The spread of grants will be more appealing and the economic value of teams will improve. What are we really trying to achieve (with 16 teams)? It does not make sense in terms of sustainability,” Mfolo said.

He said the ideal situation would be to relegate three teams over the next four seasons, while promoting two, until a 12-team league is achieved.

“By promoting three, we are glorifying second

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best, and these teams (which come through play-offs) always relegate. It weakens competition,” Mfolo said.

His counterpart at the BPL, Thabo Ntshinogang concurs, arguing an ideal league should have between 10 and 12 teams.

“Not only because of budget issues, but our population also. I am saying this because some countries around the world with bigger populations have fewer teams in the top flight.

For instance, Liberia has 12, Cameroon 14 and Switzerland 10. I think the football leadership needs to re-think the composition of our Premier League, especially with the aim of making it more competitive,” Ntshinogang said.

He said, “someone has to be bold enough” to put up the motion at the upcoming BFA Annual General Assembly.

However, clubs are reportedly reluctant to table the motion, in fear that the changes might directly affect their respective teams.



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