- Orange FA Cup launched yesterday (Monday)
- P12.6 million sponsorship over three years
- 48 teams to participate in the tournament
After a six year hiatus, the FA (Challenge) Cup will return to serve local football fans with more thrilling football encounters between the elite and the lower league clubs. Mobile network giants Orange and the Botswana Football Association have struck a deal that will see the competition return as the Orange FA Cup.
This was announced on Monday at the official announcement of the competition. Orange Botswana Chief Executive Officer Dr Patrick Benon officially announced the tournament’s revival on Monday and hailed its return as “a means of giving back to Batswana.”
He also revealed that the tournament would be sponsored with a cash injection of P12.6 million over the next three years, the competition is slated to start in 2019. The champions will be awarded a cash prize of P700 000 while the losing finalist will be handed P350 000.
Semifinalists will be handed P150 000, P60 000 will be spared for the quarterfianlists, reaching the last 16 will also yield a prize of P25 000, the second round will see clubs getting P10 000 each while the first round will see clubs getting a prize of P5000.
Speaking at the launch, Botswana Premier League Chief Executive Officer Thabo Ntshinogang announced that 48 teams will compete in the competition, this will include all 16 BTC Premiership teams, 16 regional league teams and the top eight teams each from the National First Division (North and South).
Rumours of a deal between the BFA and Orange have been circulating since last year and the speculation went into overdrive when BFA President MacLean Letshwiti, at the 2017 BFA AGM at Tlotlo Hotel and Conference Centre, announced that, “negotiations are at an advanced stage to launch a sponsorship for the FA Cup in the 2017/2018 season.”
The FA Cup always captivated football fans as the fairytale football stories that emanated from the competition where not only refreshing but they gave hope to all teams that they could defy the odds and get their hands on the trophy.
It was not all about winning the trophy though, the entertainment value of the competition birthed a lot of careers. Over the years the likes of Molapong Green Birds (2011/2012 season), Stone Breakers, Motlakase Power Dynamos and Mokgosi Young Fighters among many others have made a great impression and stole the hearts of many.
Perhaps the biggest stories in the last 12 years were that of the Pio Paul led BMC’s 2007 triumph and that of Uniao Flamengo Santos as they defied the odds by winning the 2009 edition of the Coca Cola Cup. The giants versus giant killer narrative has always been entertaining and unpredictable all around the world, the local FA Cup is no different as it will surely be a welcome addition.