Maun — About 25 football clubs playing in division one league in the Nhabe region have benefited from Botswana Football Association (BFA) relief fund.
Nhabe Regional Football Association chairperson, Norman Sebele, said in an interview that nine teams were from Gumare, 11 from Maun while five were women's football teams.
Each team, he said, received P2 000 but expressed concern that many did not have active bank accounts and the regional office was forced to convert cheques to cash.
He said most teams in Gumare teams did not open accounts and "we were forced to carry P18 000 for distribution which was risky," he added. Sebele urged teams to open bank accounts for easy management of funds.
The interview followed a meeting organised by BFA task team, which assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on structures and solicited ideas on improvement. Moreover, he said, the funding was directed to intended beneficiaries.
Coordinator of the task force, Jonas Ikgopoleng, informed club representatives that the task force did not come to audit the teams but to appreciate if the relief fund from BFA was channeled to the intended beneficiaries.
He said the relief fund was agreed upon without proper consultation with regional teams, but stated that the meeting would give them an opportunity to air their views about the financial assistance.
The teams were issued with forms to complete and share their challenges and expectations during the pandemic.
It was reported that the lower football division teams benefited from the relief fund following the chairman of Selebi Phikwe United Football Club, Fobby Radipotsane's plea to government that the relief packages should be inclusive to all parties affected by COVID 19 pandemic.
The gathering learnt that Radipotsane raised concerns following government announcement through the ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development that premier league and first division team players would be cushioned from the devastating effects of the pandemic with relief fund packages ranging from P1500 -P2500.
Radipotsane who is part of the task team explained that the relief fund was meant to assist players in distress.
He explained that he requested assistance for lower teams because they were struggling to run the clubs.
Initially, he said he requested P100 for each team but BFA decided on P2000 instead and appreciated their efforts in growing and developing the football fraternity.
He also encouraged women's football teams to come forth and ensure the benefit from the FIFA emergency relief fund adding that P5 million had been put aside for women's football.
In response, some teams' representatives hailed Radipotsane' efforts during difficult times noting that they received the relief fund even though it was not adequate.
Some representatives revealed that part of the money went to debts, some said that they did not manage to utilise the funding because they were forced to open bank accounts while some revealed that they experienced challenges in distribution of the relief fund amongst beneficiaries.
They urged BFA to increase the funding going forward as lower division teams managers were struggling to run the clubs as expected.
It was reported that some managers of teams ended up using their own resources to assist their teams.
Source : BOPA