Gaborone — Football fans across the country have expressed mixed reactions on how Botswana Football Association (BFA) has ended the Be mobile premier league due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with BOPA to ascertain how football fans felt about the decision and their thoughts on what could have been done, many however expressed disappointment at BFA decision.
According to Shedrack Sebedio, it was not a wise decision to stop the league, saying he believed that the supporters could have been consulted before taking such a drastic step since they were part of football.
Sebedio pointed out that BFA could have involved the Ministry of Health and Wellness to devise the strategy for the remaining games to be played, adding that different teams could have improved their league positions.
Dineo Moswete said she was also greatly disappointed by the way the league was ended, without consulting the fans since they contributed in different ways to the development of football.
She noted that the league could have continued without attendance of fans at the games like it was happening in other countries.
She said that different media platforms such as radio could have been used to ask for their opinions.
Mpho Seabe, Gaborone United fan, welcomed the decision to cancel the league even though he was worried that the pandemic derailed his club's plans.
He said that his view was based on the risk of the pandemic as well as lack of funds at some clubs.
Another football fan, Otsile Keoagile was of the view that the league could have continued without the fans at the games.
He indicated that the decision was not fair on clubs that relegated while they stood a good chance to avoid relegation.
Keoagile said in future all stakeholders including fans should be included in decision-making, since football could not develop without their support.
"Number one and two from North and South region could have been promoted to premier league since a number of teams could have avoided relegation, this would bring the number of teams to 20 in the premier league.
That would then mean the following season three teams would relegate and there would be no play offs," said Onkemetse Maothe.
Metlha Pelana, a supporter of Notwane Football Club indicated that she was also not happy with the way the league ended since she believed her team could have been in top eight.
Pelana said BFA could have waited a while before making the decision, observing the trend of the pandemic and if the situation did not improve, at least two teams from first division including one from play offs still from the same league, could have been promoted to premier league.
She said that no matter what happens, fans would always rally behind their club, adding that they were looking forward to compete in FA Cup, ultimately bringing the cup home.
Mooketsi Senbungu indicated that countries with high numbers of coronavirus infections had continued with the games.
Senbungu also said that the games could have been played without supporters, since they had the opportunity to watch the games on television.
He said the decision was going to negatively affect players.
For his part, Thuso Molekani said he was against the decision.
He said that the games could have continued, with observation of social distancing, especially that there has been complaints about low numbers of fans who attended games.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>