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BPL’s big cut: from 16 to 12 teams?

Publishing Date : 20 November, 2017


Botswana Football Association (BFA) is bracing for showdown talks with its structures should they heed a German football scientist, Christoph Rocholl’s advice of cutting down the number of premier league teams from 16 to 12.

Rocholl is said to have made the recommendation while he toured the country to carry out the feasibility study of developing the local game. He is expected to compile his report before departing the country at the end of November. Sometimes in 2008, especially during the Bosele declaration report- a conclusion made by BFA in a hotel at Selibe Phikwe of commercializing football- a decision was taken to reduce the number of premier league competing teams. 

The motion was shot down by BFA regions, arguing that some of the teams would never get a chance to play in the elite league.  The detractors of this idea also highlighted that, it is only at the premier league where there is better chance of coming face to face with reasonable finances.

It appears that Rocholl is awakening the idea after having been given the mandate to study the content of local football. Those behind this thought believe that competition among the league teams will be heightened together with the fact that better finances will be spread across the teams.  As things stand, in a premier league format of 16 teams, clubs receive monthly grants of P50 000.  This figure can be improved if lesser teams make up the elite league.  

It is said Rocholl, although not proudly maintained, believes that lopsided results can be improved once the teams are reduced. According to sources, Rocholl argues that resources are not adequate to run a 16 premier league teams; this includes playing fields and availability of astute coaches.

It is not clear how the implementation of the idea will impact on the already existing structures of the association. As of now, there is a mini- league powered by Mascom known as “Top 8.” Whether the tournament will be affected is another issue subject to internal discussions.

BFA is expected to meet with the premier league office to discuss the widespread issue already diving football opinion. The 16 premier league format was introduced in 2004/5 and the league was won by Township Rollers, fresh from winning the First division North league.

Rocholl is a Sports Scientist who works for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has worked in Costa Rica in the 1980's and helped to develop the youth in general and building academies in particular. He has been credited with the rise of Costa Rica who recently made it into the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Brazil (2014). In 2009, he was tasked with developing grassroots football and coach education in Honduras. “This seasoned Technical Expert has assisted emerging football in nations like India in creating development policies and plans tailored for their skills, abilities and strengths,” reads part of his credentials.



Do you think the closure of BCL will compel SPEDU to double their efforts in creating job opportunities in the Selibe Phikwe?