At least seven (7) clubs of the Botswana Football League (BFL) are expected to find it difficult to honour their fixtures by the end of January, according to Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB).

With the league currently operating without a title sponsor, the onus remains with the clubs to fend for themselves and find ways to stay afloat in the top league without the aid of financial grants from the league.

This was highlighted by the Secretary General of the local players’ representative body, Kgosana Masaseng, who told this publication that, the negative impacts of having a league without sponsors will be greatly felt in the early days next year.

“There is a serious challenge, the league has started but there’s a lot of issues which have not been addressed properly, there is no money in the league and this needs urgent attention to be resolved. We have already heard reports suggesting that players from at least three (3) teams at the moment are contemplating to not turn up for their matches and we are still in week nine (9),” Masaseng revealed.

“This shows that by January, February 2023, at least seven (7) teams might not be able to compete in the league given their financial struggles,” he added.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) First Instance Body (FIB) pardoned six clubs before the season started after they faced possible relegation to lower divisions due to their failure to satisfy CAF, BFA club licensing manual.

Club licensing was introduced by CAF to try and catalyze football development in the continent and clubs are expected to demonstrate, amongst others, their finances and capability to compete in the top leagues.

“I think we are not honest with ourselves, we just do this club licensing exercise to tick the boxes, and reality then gets to show us our shortfalls later on because in football, there are no short-cuts. We are cheating ourselves, our football foundations are not done in a proper way,” FUB Secretary pointed.

“What should have happened is that, post COVID-19, there should have been stakeholder engagement to see how best we can go about to improve our game. Engage potential sponsors, engage supporters; when there was no football in the country, football supporters formed social clubs and they seem to be doing better than the main stream football itself; they should have been engaged to exchange ideas,” he said.

Some of Extension Gunners players have told this publication that they will not turn up for their encounter against Nico United later today owing to their five (5) months unpaid dues.

Mogoditshane Fighter are another side who have strongly expressed their frustrations over the financial situation in the league while Eleven Angles management turned to the Francistown community for donations to help the team, but travelling and accommodation costs remain a serious challenge for most clubs.

Former BFL CEO Solomon Ramochotlhwane previously argued that, the clubs have to package themselves in such a way that they are attractive to the corporate world to earn partnerships and sponsorships as the grants from the league can never be enough to sustain the teams in the top division.

Masaseng further expressed their frustrations over how the National Dispute Resolution Chamber (NDRC) has responded to address players queries tabled before their office.

It is reported that only five (5) of fifty (50) cases tabled before the NDRC have been attended to and the snail pace to resolve matters is a serious concern to the union.

“We are very disappointed that the players’ cases have not been addressed, out of 50 cases only five (5) have been attended to, and this is very worrying because, at this rate, players who file cases now might have their matters resolved after their retirement,” Masaseng discussed.

He explained that the slow progress comes about because of some representatives from clubs failing to turn up to attend cases on the set date.

NDRC’s composition entails that, there should be an independent chairperson and his assistant, three (3) members to represent the player and three (3) members to represent the clubs, however Masaseng told this publication that, club representatives often resort to not turn up which delays matters.

He added that through FifPro-International Federation of Professional Footballers, they have advanced proposals to FIFA to find the best possible solution to the process and the world governing body have accepted their proposal.