Tension is brewing between the Botswana Football Association and Gaborone United investor Nicolas Zackhem. This is after P50 000 of players bonuses, from Zakhem escaped the hands of the local football governing body into the players accounts.
Information gathered by Gazette Sport is that, ahead of last month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burkina Faso in Francistown, Gaborone United largest shareholder, Zakhem, approached the Zebras players with a motivational gesture, that should they beat 2013 AFCON finalists he would give the entire squad P50 000.
Fortunately for the local boys, the team was able to surprise the whole African continent by picking a deserved 1-0 win to go third and equally on 3 points with the West Africans in group D. However due to Zackhem’s absence at the game the players had to wait.
“The players were expecting the bonuses after the Burkina Faso game but unfortunately, they could not get them because Mr. Zakhem was out of the country by then,” said a source close to the developments.
Nevertheless, after late last month’s 5-1 aggregate win over Eritrea, still in the second capital city in the preliminary World Cup qualifier stage, the players were then handed their bonuses.
“After the Eritrea game in Francistown, the players then got the money. The money was hand delivered by Mr. Zakhem himself to a certain member of the technical team who later gave it to the players,” added the informer.
This was also confirmed by the national team coach Peter Butler in an interview with this publication last week Thursday. “I cannot comment much on it because the bonuses were only for the players and not the technical team. All I can say is that it is a good gesture by Mr. Zakhem to the players,” briefly said the Briton said briefly.
Despite the seemingly good gesture, the BFA are reported to be dissatisfied with the GU investor’s move. According to more sources close the local FA, the Lekidi bosses are unhappy for the money going into the players’ accounts without them playing their role as an “intermediary” between the players and the multi-millionaire.
“BFA expected that the money would have been deposited into their accounts and then to the players, and it has not gone down well with them. They believe it is their right to be the ones to pass on the monies to the players,” gave our source.
The sources later added that the reason of Zakhem “overlooking” the BFA was because of his trust issues with the BFA. “When the Zebras went to the AFCON in 2012, he (Zakhem) did the same thing, he gave the players P50 000 but it was through the BFA and later to learn that the money never even went to the players but was used for a different purpose, so he decided that this time he would do it without the BFA being involved,” he explained.
When reached for comment, BFA Chief Executive Officer Kitso Kemoeng said that they were not aware of the developments and could not be drawn into saying much. “What I know is that none of that has come to my attention, and we are also not aware of such happening, “he said.
BFA president Tebogo Sebego declined to comment as he said he was still busy. Meanwhile, more news reaching this publication is that Zebras players are said to have not been paid winning bonuses as well as appearance fees from last month’s outing.
According to reliable sources within the national team’s technical team, the players expected to be paid their fees a week after the international break but to date nothing has been forthcoming.
“It is a pity that the boys are beginning to do so well and now there is such an issue of players having not been paid their bonuses and appearance fees, it is really bad for our national team. These are the very players who work so hard to try and restore the country’s fate,” said the Gazette Sport source.
The CEO also could not deny nor confirm the players receiving their fees as he said it was a matter that is dealt by a different department (Botswana National Sports Commission)but a meeting with the technical team and the BFA management to see if all was done accordinglywas scheduled for the 27tht of October.