Angry Zebras take to the field despite grievances over unpaid match fees
Despite putting on an impressive display in a 1-0 Independence Day victory over Namibia, all is not well behind the scenes at the national team.
Voice Sport have learnt it was only a sense of patriotic pride and love for their country that prevented the Zebras from striking in protest against the Botswana Football Association (BFA) over non-payment of match fees.
According to an insider, the players have not received their P3, 500 appearance fees in a ‘very long time’ – a trend the source claimed stretches back nine games!
Players are said to be ‘fed up’ and ‘increasingly disillusioned’ with BFA management, which allegedly send them from pillar to post over their outstanding dues.
Reached for comment the Zebras captain Simisani Mathumo refused to go into detail, saying only, “I cannot say anything on the matter. Yes there was a standoff between the players and management but please reach out to management for more details.”
When Voice Sport did just that, BFA Public Relations Officer Tumo Mpatane confirmed tension was brewing between management and the players.
“Maybe it would be wrong to call it a strike because all the players wanted was clarity on various issues. So a heated meeting was convened.
“The players wanted to find out why they had not been paid for previous games because the agreement with the association was that they would be paid at least 14 days after each game,” explained the BFA mouthpiece.
According to Mpatane, the players also wanted to know whether they would be paid directly into to their personal accounts or through cheques.
“To show how seriously we handled the matter, the President of BFA, Maclean Letshwiti came together with the head of technicality, Masego Nchingane to explain to players that the association has agreed with MYSC that they should be paid within 14 days from international games,” continued Mpatane, adding the BFA were ‘working round the clock’ to ensure the players are paid their outstanding balances.
Turning his attention to the Zebra’s narrow victory over Namibia on Sunday, which came courtesy of a 4th minute strike from Township Rollers’ new striker Tumisang Orebonye, Mpatane said, “They eventually played for the country and they won.
“I think that should be the focus of the conversation, why should we concentrate on the negative and not talk about how they boys managed to win the game for the country on such an important day?”