As football is scheduled to return in August, there is a glimmer of hope for the beautiful game after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) indicated it has secured the a sponsorship for the women’s league.
This will be the first in close to a decade for the women’s game since public transport AT&T Monnakgotla’s three-year sponsorship for the then Women’s Super League ended in 2013. The deal was worth P300,000 but was not renewed upon its conclusion. Since then, the women’s league football has depended on Good Samaritans and help from funds from the BFA. In 2016, the Super League was abolished and the women’s league has been playing at the regional level since.
This week, responding to Mmegi Sport’s enquiry, BFA chief executive officer, Gaobaone Taylor said there will be a new financier to revive the women’s game. She was, however, unwilling to go into details but confirmed that the leagues will be played in 10 regions and said the sponsor will be announced prior to the start of the league. “We have secured a sponsorship whose terms will be shared before the commencement of the league. We expect at least 10 regions; we have trained 30 women’s coaches who will be part of the leagues when they resume. We are in the process of rolling out a first aid course for all teams that will be active,” Taylor said. Prior to the halting of football in March 2020, the regional leagues were up and running but faced with a financial challenge.
There were reports of matches being forfeited, as some teams failed to turn up for matches owing to a lack of funds. The women’s league football’s programme is to be played at regional, before going a step up into First Division leagues where top teams will compete in what will be an established Women’s Premier League.
Meanwhile, the BFA in November 2020 announced a two-year deal with the dairy products manufacturer, Lactalis Botswana for the men’s development tournaments.
The ‘Bonnita Cup’ was sponsored to the tune of P800,000 and Taylor said it will commence once the teams meet the safety and health requirements. “We currently do not have women development leagues. In terms of boys’ development leagues, a programme will be shared once all logistics have been addressed. We will commence development leagues since we are certain that the players’ safety will not be compromised.
We have already provided support in the form of equipment to 47 teams. The commencement of the leagues (women and junior) will be dependent on the direction as set by the BNSC (Botswana National Sport Commission). Capacity building of coaches has been done and we have run two preliminary courses for 60 coaches,” she said.