Gaborone - Four Botswana top-flight sides will, on Saturday, engage in the first one-day BTC Charity Cup, where the winners are guaranteed P300,000 cash prize.
the Four sides, Orapa United, Township Rollers, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gaborone United, were chosen through a voting system, which ran over the last month.
The tournament, which is backed by the league sponsor, BTC, carries handsome rewards for the cash-strapped teams.
The winners take home P300,000 with the runners-up pocketing P200,000. The losing semi-finalists receive P120,000, a sum which should come in handy after clubs did not receive mobilisation fees, as they prepare for the new season.
At the close of voting on Sunday, Orapa United were top with 37,472 votes and Township Rollers second with 36,309 votes. GU and Chiefs managed to squeeze in with 34,979 and 31,402 votes, respectively.
Popular Lobatse side, Extension Gunners and modest Serowe team, Miscellaneous, missed out after leading voting for over two weeks.
Gaborone United and Chiefs will meet in the first final on Saturday before Rollers and Orapa do battle at midday.
The final is at 17h00, as the tournament replaces the now-defunct Kabelano Charity Cup, which was used as the BTC Premiership season’s curtain-raiser.
Botswana clubs have been facing financial challenges and to indicate the level of desperation, Miscellaneous went all out, with a campaign to urge fans to vote for their team.
The club’s officials admitted that they were forced to push a campaign, meant to earn enough votes to make the Charity Cup cut, due to unpaid bills.
The club owes players and the technical staff from last season and the Botswana Premier League will not pay mobilisation fees for the new campaign, expected to start on August 18.
Chiefs, one of the clubs that have been battling financial constraints, was happy to make it to the top four, with the financial gains in mind.
“We are happy to be part of the cup, we have always targeted the fourth spot, and bearing in my mind our own pocket, we are happy that we got it,” Chiefs spokesperson, Clifford Mogomotsi said.
As a way of ensuring the club’s sustainability, the BPL aims to introduce a financial control system next season, which will introduce spending caps.