Malesu’s unenviable task

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  • New CEO tasked with saving local football from P15million loss
  • Sponsors reluctant to renew deals

BONGANI MALUNGA

The newly appointed Botswana Football Association Chief Executive Officer Ookeditse Malesu will enter an association engulfed in uncertainty, disorientation and unending controversy.
His first order of business will be to end the ongoing saga between the BFA and Bennett Mamelodi, to re-negotiate sponsorship deals with league sponsors BTC and cup sponsors Mascom.
The Mamelodi case has shown no signs of ending and it could determine whether or not the new BFA CEO’s tenure will be successful. A prolonged legal battle is expected to ensue if both parties, Mamelodi and the BFA, do not find common ground.
The CEO’s task is to decide whether to let Mamelodi’s contract run until September with no legal repercussions or to continue with the association’s plan to sack the BPL CEO and possibly face a legal war from the Mamelodi camp.
Another task will be to re-negotiate major sponsorship deals involving Mascom and BTC whose contracts are ending in April and May respectively. The two main sponsors of Botswana league football carry a combined cash injection of P15 million (P10million from BTC and P5million from Mascom) in a season.
The loss of both sponsors could leave the already cash strapped association with a P15 million loss which could prevent clubs from getting monthly grants and prize money at the end of next season. Already, league clubs are facing financial challenges after seeing their monthly grants slashed from P50 000 to P25 000 per month, according to unconfirmed reports.
Last year the league was marred by controversy due to the Ofentse Nato saga, as a result the sponsors (BTC) withheld the prize money and the annual awards ceremony was cancelled as observers speculated that BTC had grown frustrated with the bad publicity they were getting.
In previous years, renewed sponsorship deals were concluded as early as January but now the  new leadership has less than a month or two to conclude the mega deals. The sponsors are reportedly reluctant to renew the deals because they feel they are not getting value for money, otherwise contract negotiations would have already been on the table.
If the cup sponsors do not renew their deal, Botswana football could operate without a knockout cup competition for the first time in recent years, the league could also run without a title sponsor.

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