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Rakare Explains Gov't Position On Players' Pay

CHAKALISA DUBE
Minister of Youth Empowerment, sports and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare handing over the cheque to former player, Malepa Bolelang PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare has made it clear that his ministry could not trust Premier League and First Division teams and therefore opted to pay players directly through the government COVID-19 relief fund.

He was speaking during his visit to former Zebras star, Malepa Bolelang on Friday.

“I am aware that some people have raised complaints about the decision to pay players directly.

I am a football person and know the culture of our clubs very well. We did not want the money to be diverted elsewhere,” Rakgare said.

He added,“We wanted the money to reach the intended recipients which is why players will be paid directly.”

Last month the government announced that it would pay First Division and Premier League players P1, 500 and P2, 500 (respectively) directly in a bid to cushion them against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The players will be paid money for the months of April, May and June.

The government, through the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC), are still processing the funds to pay the players, the announcement noted.

While the move to pay the players directly

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was welcomed by various stakeholders, clubs felt that it was a clear statement that they cannot be trusted. They added that the move could also tarnish the image of the league and scare away potential sponsors. Footballers Union Botswana (FUB), secretary general Kgosana Masaseng defended the government’s position to pay the players directly. “Players also feared that the money could be diverted elsewhere if paid directly to the accounts of their respective clubs,” he said in a previous interview. 

Local teams have in the past demonstrated that they cannot pay players accordingly. Some of them more often divert grants from the association to other debts instead of paying players.  Recently some clubs are said to have chosen to settle their debts instead of paying the players after they received P40, 000 from the BFA. The money was meant to assist clubs deal with the devastating consequences of the COVID-19.



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