The Botswana Premier league (BPL) has dismissed reports that players are complaining about the P1,000 airtime given for the Man of the Match award.
Spokespersons of influential teams like Extension Gunners, Township Rollers and Gaborone United also expressed ignorance of the complaints. Under the newly introduced ‘beplayer of the month award’, players will receive airtime worth P1,000 from sponsor, beMOBILE.
This comes after the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) expressed concern over the man of the match receiving airtime instead of a cash prize.
But BPL CEO, Bennett Mamelodi said reported concerns from the players have not reached his office.
“That is news to us. It is probably something that was fabricated by the media,” he said.
Mamelodi further said if a player is aggrieved they usually come to their offices and the BPL always deals with the issue.
“No player has come to us complaining about the matter. If there are such players, then why are they hiding?” he asked. He indicated that the beplayer and man of the match awards were meant to motivate players. “No player can complain about an award. beMOBILE’s mandate is to sell airtime, it is not a bank,” he said.
Mamelodi said players should subscribe to beMOBILE, use the airtime and help increase the numbers. “These are the numbers we take to the sponsor when we renegotiate the sponsorship deal,” he said. Mamelodi said coaches have been included under the monthly awards and just like players, would be accordingly rewarded as well.
FUB secretary general, Kgosana Masaseng insisted players are complaining about the current airtime instead of cash arrangement.
“It is a general concern from all the players who came to us about the issue,” he said, though he declined to be specific on the players and their teams. Masaseng added that airtime is not viable for the players because it cannot help improve their livelihood.
“As much as we appreciate incentives, the sponsor should look at the bigger picture and make the award viable for the players,” he said.
Masaseng said they would sit down with the sponsor to negotiate the issue so that it can be beneficial for both the sponsor and the players.
“If a player wins man of the match in three consecutive games, what is he going to do with that airtime?” he asked. He said players need money, taking into account issues of late payment at their individual clubs. Gunners’ spokesperson, Keorapetse Kgasa told Mmegi Sport that their players had not raisedthe issue a sentiment shared by his Rollers counterpart, Bafana Pheto and GU chairman Rapula Okaile. beMOBILE spokesperson, Tiro Kganela could not be reached for comment at press time as his mobile phone was off.