Botswana Guardian

ZAC goes for the jugular

The GU financier and business mogul calls BFA leadership to order

- City Keagakwa BG correspond­ent

Business mogul and Gaborone United Sporting Club football director, Nicolas Zakhem has once again defied football odds to continue his abrasive onslaught on BFA leadership, the organizati­on and cartel he bank- rolled in anticipati­on to improve football performanc­e in the country.

He made his grievances heard regarding the current football status this week and says there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Recently, Zakhem took to local radio station where his comments ruffled a few feathers amongst the echelons of power within Botswana Football Associatio­n ( BFA) and Botswana Football League ( BFL).

There is a pending case against the business man before the BFL disciplina­ry committee, where his recent utterances are perceived to have brought football into disrepute.

However, during a media engagement yesterday on the health bill of the club, ZaKhem once again expressed his frustratio­ns on a number of issues prevailing within Botswana football.

Amid allegation­s of dealings between the BFL chairman, Aryl Ralebala and BFA, Zachem has opined that Ralebala’s position within the BFL structures is conflicted and therefore he must step

down as the leader of the newly formed entity.

It is reported that Ralebala, who owns Regent Hotels has been awarded tenders to house the senior national team during their camps at staggering prices despite other companies having submitted cheaper quotations. This, according

to ZaKhem, is not proper corporate governance.

“I will not tolerate short cuts, I will not tolerate people messing with the integrity of football. BFA has engaged the facilities of Ralebala ( Re

gent Hotels), looking at the quotations between Regent Hotels and Andasonia Hotels, there was a difference of P430 000. The proven thing when you apply for a tender, the financial aspect is very important,” Zachem shares.

“The P430 000 could have been used to pay the national team allowances, two weeks back, there was an outcry from players regarding their allowances.

We are not a rich organizati­on; we depend on help from FIFA and Botswana National Sports Commission ( BNSC ). I shall not accept as a person, as a footballer and as a businessma­n and I shall not tolerate such thing to happen. That is why I call for him to step down, most of us within the BFL share the same idea, unfortunat­ely nothing has happened,” he stated. The BFA club licensing First Instance Body ( FIB) recently adjudicate­d over the license applicatio­ns for clubs that will participat­e in the upcoming BFL season. The move saw Extension Gunners, Notwane, Mogoditsha­ne Fighters, Mahalapye Railway Highlander­s and Gilport Lions removed after failing to satisfy the set requiremen­ts. This left the top- level football league with only 11 teams. Zakhem opines that, given the current predicamen­t of the COVID- 19 pandemic and financial challenges, it was not ideal to impose hard club licensing requiremen­ts on teams.

“Around the 26th of June, there was already four teams mentioned to be chopped, except for Extension Gunners. I was against the idea, I personally spoke to Maclean Letshwiti, that, this issue of you cutting teams is not good for this year. These teams are recovering from COVID- 19, these people have employees, and they have players, they have already made other commitment­s. I requested that this process be deferred to next season. Letshwiti agreed that he’ll address the matter but unfortunat­ely that has not materializ­ed,” Zakhem revealed. The Money Machine financier, whose commitment and support to the club dates back to 2004, has at some point financiall­y supported the senior national team. He made his position clear on the idea of implementi­ng club licensing but warned about possible aftermaths if not done right.

“To me, it’s good to have club licensing, but is it the right time, I can tell you NO. I don’t understand why there is a rush, we were told the season will start on the 24th of September, this is an impossible mission. This problem is going to affect the football industry. Football will not come out of this mess without any damages,” Zakhem advised. The axed clubs are currently awaiting the verdict after their appeal cases was heard; the response was expected last week but there is still no word from the BFA. He said local football has regressed dramatical­ly and people in leadership positions must accept advice when offered. “Football is at its lowest point at this moment in time; my duty is to help football to grow,” he voiced his opinion. The Gaborone United Director then apologized to football fans following his support to the current leadership during the build- up to the 2020 BFA general elective assembly. “If you ask me, if I regret, yes, I do regret supporting Letshwiti. I would like to apologise to football lovers. I

Botswana Guardian

made a huge mistake and we all make

July 3, 2020

mistakes, some can be rectified, some unfortunat­ely can’t,” he said.

 ??  ?? U TURN: GU financier Nicholas Zakhem has turned against his former allies at the BFA and he has since accused them of unfair practices
U TURN: GU financier Nicholas Zakhem has turned against his former allies at the BFA and he has since accused them of unfair practices
 ??  ?? FOOTBALL BOSS : BFL Chairman Aryl Ralebala has caught the attention of GU financier Nicholas Zakhem for the wrong reasons
FOOTBALL BOSS : BFL Chairman Aryl Ralebala has caught the attention of GU financier Nicholas Zakhem for the wrong reasons

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