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Debswana revives BPL fortunes

Publishing Date : 23 September, 2019


Debswana Diamond Company has agreed to donate P 5 million to the Botswana Premier League (BPL), to boost the 2019- 2020 football sponsorship. The move, seen as a kind gesture by the diamond company, comes at a time when premier league title sponsors, Botswana Telecommunication Cooperation Limited (BTCL), reduced their funding from P13 to P 5 million per season.

 The contribution by the leading diamond company is only meant for this season alone but an announcement is pending owing to the sudden death and bereavement of their former Managing Director, Albert Milton. The company is fresh from renewing First Division League sponsorship, after nearly refusing to commit further. Debswana’s input means that the elite league will experience a slight rise in this season’s sponsorship, after a few months of uncertainty and speculation.

However, reports vary on the amount Debswana is promising. Some say the donation sits at P2 million.  BTC remains resolute and has offered P 5 million while Barclays Bank, soon to be renamed to ABSA, agreed to sponsor the league with P 7.6 million for two seasons. Effectively, this means that Barclay’s sponsorship value sits at P3.8 million for a season. BPL is expected to group these amounts and run and administer a league that threatens to become poor.

As this publication was going to print, the premier league was running helter-skelter to secure monies for Man of the Match awards. In previous seasons, Man of the Match of a televised game received P 1000 with P250 BTC airtime. While Debswana’s move is a welcomed development, elite clubs continue to cry foul that this season does not promise a bright future. The clubs will be televised but no amount of profit will go to their pockets because of the running cashless contract between the league and state owned broadcaster, Btv.

As of last week, the premier league board was said to be hard on the ground striving to break down monthly remunerations of the elite clubs. Because of the known problems surrounding the domestic game, the ultimate prize money is expected to go down from P 1.3 million to P 600 000. This was confirmed by this publication’s moles a week ago and nobody from the league management office has denied it.

However, the league officials are adamant that monthly grants will improve. In previous seasons, elite clubs received P35 000 mobilization fees over a period of 8 months. It is rumored that the remuneration will stand to change although it is not proudly maintained at Lekidi football center. When asked to clarify Debswana’s hand in this season’s sponsorship, Botswana Football Association media liaison officer Tumo Mpatane out rightly denied any knowledge about Debswana sponsoring the elite league. He, however referred this publication to [BFA CEO] Mfolo Mfolo’s office for further understanding.

“I do not know anything to do with Debswana sponsorship; it has never come to our offices. Please check with Mfolo,” Mpatane said in a brief telephone interview. Mfolo is the Chief Executive Officer of the football association. However, WeekendSport has been told that both BTCL and Debswana will not be there in the coming football season. This will leave ABSA with a bigger room to extend and expand sponsorship negotiations.



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