Premier League, it's time for the long, hard look

Saturday marked the end of the 2023/2024 Premier League season, with only the Orange FA Cup now left to play for.

The season end represents a critical moment for introspection after a rollercoaster campaign, in which officials at the Lekidi Football Centre will be least proud of.

It has been a season of controversial moments, where all involved need to take a long, hard look at themselves. Are they proud of how the product was delivered? If not, what can be done to avoid the ugly scenes that have become part and parcel of what should be the beautiful game? Despite the end of the season, the boardroom issues are sure to rumble all night with football back in the courts of law tomorrow.

A precedent was set when Botswana Football League chairperson, Nicholas Zakhem dragged football to court in January. Now there is a feeling that action opened the floodgates as Masitaoka’s Godfrey Ratlhaga wants to test the waters after Zakhem escaped sanction for taking football matters to court. Ratlhaga’s actions are a litmus test to the Botswana Football Association as failure to act again will further complicate issues. The horses have bolted and the BFA will know it has itself to blame for creating what could turn out to be a ‘free-for-all’ fracas. As the evaluation takes place, with the BFL heading for some defining moments during its upcoming general assembly, one is tempted to praise the clubs that thrived amid an increasingly toxic and politicised environment. The 2023/2024 season resembled a WWE Royal Rumble match, descending into chaos where punches are thrown indiscriminately.


The wild scenes have dragged just about everyone into the heap of chaos; from Minister Tumiso Rakgare down to the officials at the regions. But clubs will be pleased that they managed to play out the 30 games, despite all the controversy, including two rounds of matches, which did not take place as scheduled in January. The football on the pitch was decent and with the First National Bank Botswana coming on board, the expectation is that competition will be even better in the coming season. However, match officials should also take a long, hard look at themselves after contentious decisions. Particularly towards the tail-end of the campaign, teams complained of poor refereeing, which added to the mayhem.

The wish is that the interests of football are put at the forefront ahead of any self-serving intentions. One-by-one football people should take a long, hard look at themselves and ask if they are doing football a service or disservice. Botswana is a known haven for peace and stability as well as sound administration on the overall. Why can’t the same be said of the administration of sport and in this case, football? If you know that you have contributed negatively to the game in the 2023/2024 season, take stock. May the demons that engulfed the 2023-2024 be transferred to some pig, which will hopefully run down the hill and drown in some place far away from the beautiful game.

Editor's Comment
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