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COVID-19 clips players' moves abroad

KABELO BORANABI
Deferred: Bosija was due for trials in Slovakia PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Local football players will miss out on job opportunities abroad as the borders remain closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

By July 1, a number of elite players were left jobless as their contracts elapsed.

There has not been a decision on the local transfer window period and the start of the next season while in European and some African leagues business has resumed. 

As international clubs come knocking, local footballers are left to rue the opportunities. Players’ agent, Moran Nthoiwa of Nthoiwa Sports Excellence called on the government to assist the players to travel.  Nthoiwa had lined up Mares’ duo Sedilame Bosija and Refilwe Tholakele for invitational trials at Slovakia’s elite league side, Partizan Bardejov.

“Yes, there are some players who currently have invitations. I think it would be best for the government to assist players to go out in search of greener pastures,” he said.

Another players’ representative, Bakang Moipone said business has stalled since the closure of borders.

Moipone decries the lengthy process involved in getting players abroad, as he has potential clients in South Africa and as far as Czech Republic.

“Some of my players were invited for trials in Europe (but) they could not move, simply because flights were not available, to make travel arrangements was complicated, the process was just way too long. On the other hand financial teams could not afford for now to buy players out of contracts. Rather teams would prefer to wait for players to be

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free, or do a loan with an option to buy at the end of the season. Matters (are) worse in our country the return of football is still uncertain,” Moipone said.

“I have players who are still unemployed because they are out of contract. Teams are interested but the main question remains, when does the new season start? Teams cannot commit now when it comes to signing players or coaches when they are not sure what would happen. The moment you sign a player or a coach, he expects to be paid. With no football, no income, it becomes difficult for the club to pay and you must remember that most of our clubs depend on gate takings or grants from BPL to pay players. It’s really difficult at the moment.”

The Botswana Football Association’s (BFA) hands remained tied in the situation. However, the BFA helped facilitate Zebras’ duo, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe and Lesenya Ramoraka, rejoin their clubs when the South Africa league resumed in June.

“At BFA, we can help you with paperwork to apply, but it is not our decision to make. The country that the player wishes to go [to] makes the decision through Foreign Affairs department. At the moment we had not had any (new) applications for players’ moves,” BFA chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo recently said. 



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