The Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) is this year celebrating 10 years of existence but despite the milestone, the union’s secretary general, Kgosana Masaseng says it has been a rough ride.
Masaseng said when the union was formed, it was at a time when there was a bit of transformation. He revealed that there was too much resistance from the administrators and it ended up brewing a toxic relationship between the union and the football leadership.
“The challenge was also on the part of the players who did not understand why they needed to unionise,” he recalled.
“Unionism in football was a new phenomenon and this forced us to invest heavily on the building stages. It was also at a time when the union relied mostly on those who served in the executive committee to commit their resources to sustain the project.”
He said the biggest challenge they faced was dealing with a hostile football leadership. He said they were seen as party spoilers because they were questioning a lot of things.
“It was difficult to engage at the time because there was no room created for any dialogue. The game was ruthless to the players. There was no order as players were fired without due consideration of any statutes governing football. We experienced unilateral termination of contracts, overdue payables and high levels of victimisation,” Masaseng added.
He, however, said fast-forward to today, they are pretty much happy with the progress they have made it so far. They were finally accepted by the association as an associate member and that opened opportunities for dialogue.
He also said the players were now coming forth with their issues and there is general acceptance that the
“The idea of shaving a man in his absence is a thing of the past. We sit in platforms that have got something and everything to do with players’ welfare,” he said.
Amongst the union’s achievements is the introduction of the standard players’ contract. Masaseng said this has addressed the issue of unilateral termination of contracts.
He said the standard contract has also dealt with the welfare issues around medical conditions as they have noted that a number of players who sustain injuries never make it back into football.
“Added to this new contract are remedies for any breach by the employer. This notable item provides a cushion for the players. The functioning of the National Dispute Resolution Chamber (NDRC) should also yield the intended results in a not-so-distant future,” he said.
Masaseng added that they are happy to have been the first country in Africa to sign the collective bargaining agreement with the association, which governs their relationship with the football authority.
He also said Botswana became the first country in Africa to have a fully functional National Dispute Resolution Chamber (NDRC), which is a body tasked with dealing with contractual issues between clubs and players.
“In the current season, we saw the introduction of the standard contract in line with FIFA circular 1171 of 2008,” he said. As part of the 10-year celebrations, FUB has organised an exhibition match between Botswana football legends and former African stars on May 29.