BFA missed out on hosting West Ham

18th November 2016
HITTING A SNAG…Kemoeng confirmed talks to host West Ham. Source:The Midweek Sun

Botswana Football Association is reported to have missed out on an opportunity to   host English Premier League club West Ham United.

According to sources, the East London based outfit wanted to visit this country for their preseason preparations during the break, after the 2015/16 season. This reporter is in possession of the correspondences between the match agent Ashley Kotzin and the BFA CEO Kagiso Kemoeng, the correspondences outlined cost of bringing the EPL club to Botswana and benefits for hosting such an international brand among other things.

“We acknowledge receipt of your email correspondence, which you would like to propose a tour of West Ham United FC to Botswana in May 2016.  Our Chief Executive Officer is out of office on a business trip today and I hope that he will attend to your request as soon as possible”, reads the mail by BFA CEOs Personal Assistant Connie Bolaane. 

According to a reliable source close to the concerned agent, BFA ultimately turned down the offer to celebrate Bot50 in style with a club from England playing in the country.  “We spoke some two weeks or so ago.  I tried calling you on your mobile, but could not reach you.  Does the offer still stand?  If you are available, please call me on (cell number provided), or at the contact below (office line)”, reads mail from Kemoeng.  

In a recent interview, Kemoeng confirmed that they have exchanged email correspondences in relation to visit by the English club. “ We had been engaged by a certain Tumelo Pule who represented the South African match agent. The proposal was such that we incur the cost of bringing them here, which was in excess of P 7 million”, explained Kemoeng. BFA CEO also stated that they objected after considering all the benefits and costs to host the club.

The English club was to play the national team and a few friendly matches with two local clubs, which were not yet part of the discussion. Information reaching this publication is that Township Rollers chairman Walter Kgabong is alleged to have had interest in taking the offer. Kgabong was then BPL board chairperson and also sat on the BFA national executive committee at the time. However, in an interview, Rollers Secretary General Khumoyame Masonya said they have never received any correspondence concerning the West Ham issue.

Nevertheless, Botswana football governing body, which is alleged to be in a sorry state financially, may have missed out the opportunity to pocket millions of pula from hosting the English team.  According to the source, BFA could have at least   facilitated a plan to engage government and business community to raise the money. Moreover, the source claimed the value of the EPL club was good enough for stakeholders to buy into their proposal. According to the source, the event managers involved   in the matter communicated in detail the interest expressed by their client to visit Botswana back in May, merely three months before the Independence Day.

“The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development had been preaching Bot50 celebrations and activations ahead of the September festivities. Football failed to make a lasting impression on the hearts of Botswana at large during the activations,” the sources said. West ham would have been the second British team to visit Botswana after Bristol city visited Gaborone for preseason ahead of the 2015/16 season.  Bristol played a friendly game against Extension Gunners.

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