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Heartbreak or hoax?

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Heartbreak or hoax?

BFA shocked to learn of U/17’s world cup exit

This Wednesday, Botswana Football Association was (BFA) shocked to learn the country have seemingly been excluded from the final round of U/17 Women World Cup Qualifiers.

Trailing 1-0 after the first round first leg against Morocco, the girls had been due to fly to North Africa for the return match on 14 March.

However, on the eve of their flight, BFA called off the trip

following instruction from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture Development.

Heartbreak or hoax?
OUT? Zebras U/17 ladies team

With Covid-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Botswana government cancelled all planned external travel of national teams and the hosting of any international teams until further notice.

Speaking to Voice Sport on Wednesday, BFA CEO Mfolo Mfolo said they were shocked to discover the fixture list on sports website JWsports1 had pitted Morocco against South Africa in the final qualifying round.

According to the site, ‘Morocco advanced after Botswana withdraw due to the Coronavirus scare’.

Mfolo claimed that back in March, BFA wrote to CAF informing them of the government ban on international travel. He said the response they got asked if they were withdrawing from the tournament.

“We responded asking for postponement of the fixture. We were waiting for them to give us new dates of the fixture and are surprised by the new development. I still don’t believe this is genuine because they haven’t communicated with us about the decision to withdraw us from the tournament,” said Mfolo.

“We are very disappointed. The situation was beyond our control and it was a sensitive issue because we are talking of minors who are the government and parents’ responsibility. We could not risk their lives,” insisted Mfolo, adding that on the day the team were due to travel, Morocco registered its first confirmed Covid-19 case.

The CEO said they will send a letter to CAF this Thursday (14 May) to inquire about the new fixtures.

Having beaten Zimbabwe 7-0 on aggregate in the preliminary round, the U/17 team were full of confidence ahead of their rematch with Morocco.

It seems their dreams of playing in next year’s World Cup have been taken away from them through no fault of their own.

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BFA welcomes COVID-19 stipend

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BFA welcomes COVID-19 stipend

On Monday Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare revealed the government’s plan to help the elite and second-tier leagues with player’s salary subsidies respectively.

Minister Rakgare stated that 25 players of all the 16 teams in the BTC premiership will be paid P2, 500 whilst first division players will each receive P1, 500 for the months of April. May and June.

Teams were expected to submit the required documentation for verification and due processes this week.

The Minister said it was inevitable for government to intervene as sports was the first discipline to be affected by Covid-19, citing the Mares Under 17 trip to Morocco that never materialized.

The Mares were scheduled to face their Moroccan counterparts for a return leg of the FIFA World Cup qualifier in March.

He further revealed that the subsidy is part of the P70 million set aside by the ministry to cushion the impact of Covid-19.

BFA welcomes COVID-19 stipend
SPORTS MINISTER: Rakgare

“The subsidy is only for Batswana players, technical and office staff and monies will be directly deposited to player’s bank accounts to avoid situations where teams might use such funds for their daily expenses,” he said.

He further revealed that referees will be assisted through the FIFA relief fund as agreed with BFA.

Letshwiti hailed the intervention, which he said will cushion the effects of the pandemic on the socio- economic lifestyles of players and technical members involved in running of the clubs.

“This will also go a long way in giving club leaders a reprieve during this challenging time,” he said.

The BFA President said club leaders and owners are custodians of football events and this financial assistance is critical in sustaining players and eventually the clubs they represent.

“The BFA is truly humbled by this noble gesture of unity. We have since availed P40,000 to BPL clubs as a reprieve to help clubs mitigate these devastating consequences,” he saud.

He further said, together with their partners, including government, they continue to discuss sustainable means to get football out of the woods.

“We truly are encouraged by the posture adopted by Honorable Minister Rakgare in finding the most reasonable and practical solution to the problems football faces in the country,” Letshwiti said.

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Teranga lions’ world cup legend retires

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Teranga lions’ world cup legend retires

Montpellier’s veteran former Senegal attacker Souleymane Camara has retired after 13 seasons with the side, club president Laurent Nicollin said on Monday.

Camara, 37, played a record 423 times for the outfit where he won the Ligue 1 title in 2012 and made the last of his 35 international appearances in the same year.

“We spoke on Friday and the decision was taken,” Nicollin told A French newspaper.

“He’s now thinking about what he’ll do next. We’ve given him some time to know what he wants to do, if he wants to coach here. We’ve left the door open,” he added.

Camara started his career with Monaco in 2001 before a loan spell at Guingamp and joining Nice four years later.

He was part of the Senegal squad which beat the then holders France en route to the historic 2002 World Cup quarter-finals.

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