Botswana Football Association (BFA) granted Botswana Premier League (BPL) its autonomy at the 2020 annual elective general assembly while the National First Division league (NFD) was set to operate under the auspices of the newly formed Botswana Football League (BFL).

The transformation however did not immediately complete as outlined; this was after the BFL asked to be given time to settle in office as it was their first year as an independent organization, and as results, First Division operations remained under the watchful eye of the BFA for the 2021/2022 season.

This past weekend BFL officials convened and conducted a workshop training in Mahalapye in which all 24 First Division teams were capacitated on the commercial transformation, to put them up to speed with the requirements to operate amongst the elites. One of the BFL’s responsibility will be to oversee and guide progress of First Division League, including managing the marketing and commercial wings of the league.

The clubs were also introduced to the regulations and administrative structures of the BFL, which will enable smooth operations.

“We had a workshop in Palapye this past weekend for all the First Division teams, both North and South on issues of commercialization, the idea is that in three to four seasons all the teams should be fully professional.

We should have done this workshop last year, but as you may be aware, we were still trying to find our feet; it was our first year as an independent office and BFA held down the fort then, but now we are ok,” BFL CEO, Solomon Ramochotlhwane said.

Jonas Ikgopoleng has been the Chairman of First Division North, while Sidney Magagane, currently serving suspension from football, was elected to be the Chairman of First Division South.

Ramochotlhwane has however revealed that the chairmanship position will now become defunct under the new developments.

“There will be no chairman positions from both leagues, First Division North and South, as it has been the case; there will be management committees. Now that they are under the BFL, we ought to have management committees overseeing the running of the league more especially compliance measures at the games,” Ramochotlhwane further explained.

He added that the club chairmen in the two leagues will be given the powers to elect their own representative who will sit in the BFL board representing National First Division league.

The BFL will now be responsible for the management of the National First Division, league management & disbursement of the sponsorship funds, sourcing of new sponsorships and partnerships, welfare of the match officials, disciplinary matters from the games played in the League, registration of players and affiliation fees.

This publication recently reported that the Debswana’s First Division sponsorship deal has elapsed and negotiations over a new deal were yet to commence.

The BFA has sent proposals to the mining giants but there has been no response to date.

“We are working closely with BFA, just as it happened with ABSA sponsorship which was under BFA, the transition was smoothly done. The BFA have informed the sponsors on the latest developments. Debswana will be very happy that they now will be dealing with a professional organization.

The clubs are currently going through commercial transformation and it is through Debswana who are capacitating them,” BFL Chief responded. Furthermore, there has been reports that the BFL office is understaffed, and there are concerns that the merging of the two leagues could add more burden to the BFL operations.

“The BFL office facilitates the clubs, but will not run the league, the management committee will be the one running the league,” BFL CEO offered clarity. The BFL league is proposed to kick-start on the 10th of September and National First Division has been proposed to start at least two weeks later.