SELEBI-PHIKWE: Former premier league outfit, Nico are on the verge of collapse as hopes of keeping the club afloat are fast-fading. The management has hit a brick wall in a bid to attract sponsors since BCL Mine's closure.
A meeting to give feedback on the sponsorship search on Tuesday was aborted as only a few bothered to turn up. Club administrator, Masego ‘Otto’ Ntsatsi said companies withdrew their interest because they realised that there would not benefit anything from the partnership as there is no hope that the Mine will re-open. He added they are compelled to inform the club’s general membership at the next meeting that the only way would be to hand the team to Botswana Football Association (BFA) which is the only organ, with the power to dissolve the team. He said BFA may decide to advise on merging teams in Selebi-Phikwe region to reduce their numbers as others have failed to affiliate due to financial challenges.
He said the reason they see this as the only available option if no partnership is secured, is because without BCL Mine’s assistance the team is struggling to survive. Ntsatsi said they have to sustain the team from their pockets. BCL used to provide transport for away games, P60,000 monthly allowance and accommodation, but this has ceased following the Mine’s closure.
“We have exhausted all companies in Selebi-Phikwe for partnerships. We have also been to Palapye, Francistown and Gaborone with no luck. This calls for a special meeting
He said with nothing in their coffers, they just cannot sustain the team and added that football nowadays is commercial therefore a team cannot retain players if it cannot afford to pay them. He added that they have also been told that the BCL hostels where players have been accommodated are being leased out to some companies hence they would have to vacate. Currently, the team raises a meagre P325 through monthly subscriptions. The team’s dream of gaining promotion to the Premier League went up in smoke as they languish in mid table with just two games before the end of the season. Ntsatsi said this means that they are likely to continue losing quality players to other teams.
“We rely on the five teams that failed to affiliate to BFA and on veteran players in the coaching department. We cannot even setup a development team as we are expected to do,” he said. Nico were relegated to the First Division last season, largely due to the BCL Mine closure, which was the club’s financial heartbeat.
Nico are still appealing to Good Samaritans to come to their rescue in order to avert disaster.