The new BPL board chairperson Jagdish Shah was this week summoned, together with the league CEO Thabo Ntshinogang to explain a reshuffle of fixtures that happened after Shah occupied the BPL chairmanship.
The meeting instigated by an unhappy bunch of club chairmen, who wanted an explanation as to what could have influenced the changes.
Sources informed this paper that the meeting which was held this past week, requested the duo to always consult them as their decisions and dealings somehow affect them or their teams. “When the season starts, we are given fixtures and we use them to prepare for the campaign. If they change without prior notice and consultations, we are doomed,” said one chairman who preferred anonymity.
It is said the meeting was so tense, with teams currently hovering around the relegation zone more evidently shaken by the changes. “We had an initial installment of the fixtures which was changed in January. But then after he became the chair, fixtures were again reversed. We are told the decision was taken by the chairman and CEO and at the end it hurts us,” said another fuming chairman. Shah’s relationship with his CEO is a cordial one according to board members, a fact Shah has acknowledged. “As long as the CEO is delivering, his job is safe,” he said when asked about the future of Ntshinogang at Lekidi.
Not only are the bottom teams affected by the changes, even the top sides are affected. “The fixture between Rollers and Galaxy was scheduled for May 9th has been moved to April. You can just read between the lines that Rollers wants to finish with the difficult ones first as their CAF quest resumes in May,” highlighted a board member, whose team believes they can still gun for the league.
The board members say they are happy with the arrival of businessman in the game and they have given some of his reforms a thumbs up as they are geared towards improvement of football in Botswana. “We agree with the fact that we are not going to pay stadiums and determine our ticket prices. Those are excellent moves, more so that there was consultation but on this one there was none hence we called a meeting,” pointed another chairman.
For the better part of the current campaign, fixtures have created debate across the football community. The changes to the fixtures will likely affect both teams and their supporters. “This game (between Rollers and Galaxy) could have been better played on a weekend. It would serve as a good advert for BPL because fans from other areas would not make it since it will be played at night,” football commentator Bakang Moipone stated. However, despite challenges, the Mascom Top 8 was conducted within the stipulated three months.
Meanwhile, a lot of changes are in the pipeline for next season, among them being the holding of awards ceremonies for both the league and Top Eight. Shah ascended to the position after former chairman Rapula Okaile unceremoniously resigned from the hot seat.