The northern teams are now well equipped with resources to attract and retain quality technical staff and players to match their southern counterparts.
The 2015/2016 Premier league season saw history made as there is an equal number of teams from both the north and the south.
Francistown-based ECCO City Green’s 2007 league triumph was an indication of the football growth in the north. In Orapa, Boteti Young Fighters and Orapa Wanderers dissolved and formed Orapa United, which is mainly funded by Orapa mine. The Selebi-Phikwe copper-nickel mine, BCL has been pivotal in driving Nico United. Last season’s rookies, Sankoyo Bush Bucks were boosted by the Sankoyo Development Trust. ‘Ngurungu’ defied the odds and just missed finishing in the top eight by a whisker.
The club grossed close to P1million from their 15 home games, in the process finishing second behind Township Rollers in revenue collected. Mahalapye-based BR Highlanders rely on Botswana Railways for funding, although they have found the going tough this season.
Players, although still leaving to join bigger clubs in the south, are no longer exiting in droves. In fact, there has been a lot of movement from the south to the north.
Players like Ocean Mpofu, Lovemore Murirwa, Patrick Lenyeletse, Ronald Chikomo, Bonolo Fraizer, Lemogang Maswena among others who were deemed to be surplus to requirements at their clubs, chose to go north.
In most instances, these teams rely on nurturing raw talents while their southern counterparts use their financial powers to snatch ready made talent.
The narrowing of the north-south gap means football is more unpredictable and exciting.
But the joy might be short-lived as three teams from the north, FC Satmos, Motlakase Power Dynamos and BR Highlanders are fighting relegation while Orapa United, Miscellaneous and Nico United have broken into the Top 8 bracket. Green Lovers and Sankoyo Bush Bucks are stuck in the mid-table.
However, the elite league is still craving a team from the Kgalagadi and Gantsi regions, with the Tsabong Black Rangers and Gantsi Terrors struggling in the First Division South.