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Women cry foul over relief fund

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Left out: Women's football was not included in the relief programme PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
The omission of women’s football from beneficiaries of the government’s relief fund has been criticised by an advocacy group, which wants the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to rectify the matter. 

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare indicated that only the Premier League and First Division players in the men’s league would benefit from the relief fund.

Women and Sport Botswana (WASBO) chairperson, Matlho Kgosi said they were disappointed by the exclusion. She said they were still consulting the BFA to find out what happened and how the decision could be rectified.

“Our view is that women as sport persons have distinguished themselves in terms of excellence last year. Women national football teams have brought the nation joy and have a growing fan base. The teams are not just popular but bring tangible results. It is taking long for us to support them to the expected level, which is disappointing,” Kgosi said.

A player who preferred anonymity said the decision to leave them out was ‘heart-breaking’. 

“It is painful that as women football players, we have been left out. But if you compare us to the men’s national team, we are performing far much better.

We are also affected by the impact of COVID-19.

For us it is even worse because we have nothing to fall back

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on unlike men who have clubs that take care of them,” the player said.  BFA chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo said they submitted for Premier League and First Division clubs only because they were following specific guidelines as per a memo from the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC).

He said the memo was sent to all National Sport Associations (NSAs).

For her part, BNSC CEO, Falcon Sedimo said they were in a meeting where they were discussing the way forward and was not in a position to comment.  “This is predicated on the ground that consultations would still have to be done. It might jeopardise the exercise if you rush to address the matter,” he said.

Asked why consultations were being done after the conclusion of the exercise, Sedimo said it did not matter.

  “That is not the issue. Consultations are pursuant to his presentation on the way forward.

He (the Minister) has communicated what would be done and guidelines are to be developed,” Sedimo said. 

Furthermore, Sedimo said BNSC had sent a questionnaire to NSAs on the effects of COVID-19 and they would collate the information.



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