Orapa — Boteti Regional Football Association has secured P735 000 sponsorship deal for the women's league from Debswana through the Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) and its business partners, KANU Equipment.
The sponsorship agreement will run for three seasons.
Receiving the sponsorship deal on behalf of the football fraternity, Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Mclean Letshwiti said the local football organ and FIFA were equally concerned by the limited investments in developing women in football.
Letshwiti said the football fraternity was focused on the four initiatives aimed at encouraging the growth of women in football.
"The BFA encourages mass participation of women in football. We must come up with strategies to encourage the girl child to play football. Our mandate as the BFA is to capacitate football structures," he said.
Letshwiti said even though women were the majority of the world population it was unfortunate to note their limited participation in sport.
"We must change our perceptions. It is not only the boy child who must benefit from football. We can also have a girl-child as a professional football player and therefore we must provide a platform for the girl-child to perform," he said.
Letshwiti acknowledged the support extended by Debswana and KANU Equipment in the development of women in football. He pleaded with the regional Letshwiti said the sponsors would be disappointed if the funds injected in developing the girl child was to be squandered and never to be accounted for.
He said the BFA was highly regarded in matters of governance, integrity and transparency. "Win the sponsor's trust and justify that in future you can go back to the same sponsors and ask for more funding," said Letshwiti.
Debswana's OLDM general manager, Bakani Motlhabani described the partnership as a historic moment that would take women in football to greater heights.
Motlhabani observed that the last Women's Football World Cup had proven beyond doubt that the girl child was equally capable. He said Debswana through its Corporate Social Investment advocated for among others equal opportunities and supported greater diversity and culture.
"Women are equally competent and must be given an opportunity to showcase their mettle. Our wish is to see women football grow and therefore we have invested P600 000 towards their development in the Boteti region," he said.
Meanwhile, Boteti Regional Football chairperson, Phillimon Bunu said the region had been encouraging women to fully engage in football for the past 10 years.
"Women football teams have been in existence for the past years and they were eager to formulate a league," he said. Bunu said recently the men's league received overwhelming support from Lucara Diamond Company through Karowe Diamond Mining, who has sponsored the league with P500 000 for two seasons. Instead of celebrating the deal, Bunu said the region was under pressure, as the women were also eager to get similar support.
Bunu said his office approached Debswana with the proposal of diverting the P100 000 annual sponsorship for the General Manager's tournament towards supporting women's league.
He said KANU Equipment has always been a strong partner in the development of football as they annually contributed P35 000 to the General Manager's tournament.
"To our amusement, our proposal produced what we had never anticipated. Instead of diverting the usual P100 000 of GM's Cup towards women's league the two companies delivered the unexpected," he said. He said while Debswana gave them a boost of P600 000 sponsorship for three seasons, KANU Equipment on the other hand also increased their contribution.
For the first season, KANU equipment popped out P35 000 and P50 000 for each of the other two seasons. In total, they have secured sponsorship for women's league in Boteti totaling P735 000.
He said seven teams namely Orapa All Stars, Diamond Chiefs (from Letlhakane), Overcomers (from Mmatshumu), Boteti River Giants (from Mokubilo), Tawana Top Girls (from Letlhakane) and Desert Buffaloes (from Rakops) were registered to partake in the league.
Botswana National Sports Commission vice-chairperson, representing women in sports, Tsoseletso Magang appreciated what Debswana and KANU equipment had done in encouraging women in sport to grow. She commended the BFA for providing women with a platform to showcase their talent in football. She urged women in sport to stay responsible as pillars of the society and focus on multitasking on their responsibility.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>