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Suspension Of Football May Be A Blessing In Disguise For CAF Campaigners

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Because honouring CAF fixtures is costly, an extended suspension could be what local clubs need to raise the necessary money

BONGANI MALUNGA

While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to total inactivity in football, it could also be a blessing in disguise for local clubs that were set to participate in CAF competitions if the suspension of football activities continues. Participating in CAF competitions requires clubs to spend money in terms of flights, meals and accommodation. Clubs are also required to pay accommodation for match officials during home games. Such expenditures often go past P500 000 for two or more away trips. As teams progress further, the expenditure grows in corresponding proportion.

With clubs unable to generate income during this trying COVID times, they would struggle to mobilise the necessary funds for their continental trips for the season that would be due but for the suspension. Numerous clubs depend on funding from their sponsors or partners but the devastating effect of COVID-19 has seen a lot of businesses taking a hit. This could affect their ability to consistently provide assistance to football clubs around the country.

With no gate takings, clubs are currently undergoing a trying spell. With discussions about restarting the season currently ongoing, clubs are also aware of the possibility of a period when supporters might be paranoid about their safety when attending matches. The paranoia might lead to less attendance than before and this would hurt the clubs’ pockets, especially clubs aspiring to participate in the CAF club competitions (which require a lot of money).

Jwaneng Galaxy Public Relations Officer, Tankiso Morake, told Gazette Sport that participating in continental competitions is expensive for local clubs but also stressed that it depends on the host country.

“It is quite expensive to participate in the CAF competitions. However, it depends on the distance we have to cover. If we face teams in Swaziland, Lesotho or South Africa, the cost is reasonable. Not cheap but reasonable. Usually, teams provide us with accommodation and we return the favour when we host them. In some cases, teams book unfavourable accommodation to unsettle us. So it is important for us to dispatch a two-man delegation to look for a favourable place to help us budget well. It would cost roughly more than P300 000 for the first few rounds of the competition. But it is advisable for teams to have a budget of just over P500 000 in case they go further in the competition,” Morake stated.

The rescheduling and postponement of these competitions could give local clubs more time to source funds to enable them to honour their CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup fixtures.

History suggests that it is almost impossible for clubs to fund themselves when participating in such competitions. The state of businesses during the post COVID-19 era will determine whether or not Botswana’s clubs can continue to represent the nation in the CAF competitions.

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