The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) has rejected a request from the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to host this year’s COSAFA Women’s Champions League. The inaugural tournament, scheduled for August, will involve eight teams from different countries.
But the BNSC turned down BFA’s request, citing the government’s constrained financial position. In the rejection letter, BNSC said government has channelled most funds to the COVID-19 fight, and therefore was unable to approve the hosting proposal. “This decision arises mainly from the fact that the prevailing recessive economy and the huge expenditure by government in the fight against COVID-19 has led to lower than usual funding being availed to MYSC, and by extension the commission,” BNSC chief executive officer (CEO), Tuelo Serufho stated in the letter.
“Consequently, while the board fully appreciates the benefits of the event, including the positive effect it would have on women’s football in the country, the view is that it would not be prudent to host now,” he added. It is reported that the BFA had asked for assistance in kind, in the form of security, medical personnel, among others. However, a source at BNSC said the event would have set back their coffers by P4 million. “The BFA needed money to host. It is not accurate to say they did not need money,” the source said. The official added, the country would have stood to benefit P10 million, which COSAFA and BFA would have spent during the eight-day event. But BNSC’s concern was that not all of the money would have ended up in Botswana, the source added.
“The BNSC was concerned that some of that money would have gone out as payment to officials and players from outside. So not all of the money would have ended up in Botswana,” the source said. But BFA is reportedly upset the commission had passed up the opportunity to host, which would have been a significant boost to women’s football.
In his response, Serufho said the BNSC had turned down the BFA’s proposal due to funds. “Yes, I can confirm we have declined (the proposal), and the main reason is lack of funds. We are cognisant of the benefits of hosting the event, but we don’t think this is the right time to host considering the situation. Potential benefits have been diminished by COVID-19. On a normal day, we would have assisted,” Serufho told Mmegi Sport yesterday.
It is reported, the BNSC has advised the BFA, it will give the green light to the hosting if the association, does not require funding from government.
BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti said they are still pursuing the matter, with the hope of changing the government’s mind.
“I am still with the matter. It is not over, but I cannot go into details. What I can confirm is that our request has been rejected,” Letshwiti said.
The first edition of the tournament will see Double Action represent Botswana. The team will face seven other sides from the COSAFA region in Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, eSwatini’s Manzini Wanderers, Lesotho Defence Force, Tura Magic of Namibia, Zimbabwe’s Black Rhino Queens as well as Zambia’s Green Buffaloes and Costa da Sol of Mozambique.