Following the recent decision by government to lift the ban on competitive sports, Botswana football’s so called big three clubs, Township Rollers, Gaborone United and Extension Gunners, have started preparations for life without fans in stadiums.
Although the Botswana Football League confirmed that premier league football will commence this year, there is no definitive date but clubs have started training.
Gaborone United Public Relations Officer Romeo Benjamin said although it is a challenge for everyone considering the spike in COVID-19 infections.
“It still remains sketchy at the moment as to when the league will start but we have been able to sustain our players by giving them allowance and also giving them accommodation until football gets back on track”
“We continue to recruit in anticipation of the restart, and we have also released quite a number of players who were not in the coach’s plans” said Benjamin.
He also stated that they have not been dependent on gate takings, adding that they have been able to pay salaries through the club investor Nicolas Zakhem.
“Obviously we would want anyone, either government or the Association to come to the party to assist. We have also been affected by COVID-19, so we would be grateful if for instance government could subsidize us,” added Benjamin.
He added that although there should be a clear move on the part of the Premier league to indicate how they will assist clubs.
“We have started non-contact training in anticipation of the restart” said Benjamin.
For their part, Township Rollers Public Relations Officer Phempheretlhe Pheto said they have not been briefed about how they will be assisted before the restart.
“It is difficult at the moment to say how we will be assisted because we have not been told anything but I guess the Association also knows how we have been able to sustain ourselves over the years” said Pheto.
He also said they will await communication from the Association, adding that it is after then that the club will take a collective decision as to how they will move forward.
“We have only been told to start the process of club licensing and to avail the necessary tools needed for restart, we are working on those, but as for how we will be assisted, nothing has come out” added Pheto.
On the other hand, Extension Gunners Public Relations Officer Gerald Ramahumba said the club committee will conduct a strategic meeting as the club commuter this week.
“We will be meeting this week to discuss the issue at hand, so we are aware of the challenges brought by COVID-19 but we are ready because we have other means to generate income” said Ramahumba.
He said that it is after their midweek meeting that they will also know when players will return to training.