PALAPYE: In a historic deal, Debswana has given Boteti Regional Football Association P735,000 for the women’s league.
Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) is the main sponsor with P600,000 while Kanu Equipment provided P135,000. The deal, which is the first of its kind, will run for three years. The amount for the first season is P235,000, with P250,000 allocated for each of the remaining two campaigns.
The sponsorship covers transportation for the teams and referees to the matches, and also includes referee’s payments. Each club will receive two branded kits, 15 pairs of soccer boots and tracksuits for the officials. The league has seven teams. Three teams, Letlhakane United, Diamond Chiefs and Tawana Top Girls are from Letlhakane.
Orapa All Stars represent Orapa, while Dallas Park is from Mmatshumo, Boteti River Giants from Mokubilo and Desert Buffaloes is based at Rakops.
Boteti chairperson, Phillimon Bunu said the gesture would go a long way in addressing nagging issues that reduced the number of teams and threatened the existence of women’s football in Boteti.
After the deal was confirmed, Bunu said they managed to bring two new teams on board, to take the number to seven in the league.
The region only had five active teams before the financial injection.
The teams had struggled to compete in the league over the past years. They only competed in the General Managers Cup that was usually played during Independence Day holiday. “Travelling around the region to the games had been a huge challenge for the women’s teams,” Bunu said.
He said they had been struggling to transport and pay referees over the years, even for their main Division One league. Boteti trained a number of referees, and they remained idle, as the region could not afford to pay them.
“Our problems have been put to rest. We are going to have a women’s league handled by qualified officials.
We want to package a very exciting league for our women’s teams,” an elated Bunu said.
He added that next season they wish to attract more women teams into the league. “The intention is to have at least 12 teams. Every village in Boteti should have at least one women’s team participating.”
Bunu applauded his regional committee for clinching the sponsorship deal.
“It was an issue of gender balance after we managed to source sponsorship for the men’s Division One league. I must thank my team and our sponsors for commitment in developing women’s football,” he said.
The windfall comes after the men’s Division One league received a record half a million-pula from Lucara Mine for two seasons recently.
It was another historic feat, as the region became the first to receive such an amount for the third tier-league. The sponsorship would be launched on October 19, 2019.