By Bakang Mhaladi
Gaborone - More than six weeks after the final whistle for the 2017/2018 season was blown, Botswana Premier League teams are still waiting for the payment of their prize money and the holding of the season-ending awards ceremony.
The BPL and the league sponsor, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) have each refused to take responsibility, instead, they are engaging in the blame game.
Instead, the BTC argues, it is the responsibility of the league to ensure that the prize money is distributed to clubs and that awards ceremony is held.
“(The) organisation and hosting of the awards is the responsibility of the premier league office,” BTC Public Relations Manager, Golekanye Molapisi.
But BPL Chief Executive Officer, Thabo Ntshinogang, said it was still waiting for the green light from the sponsor.
"The sponsor said they failed to secure a venue that is why we were forced to postpone the awards," Ntshinogang said.
The awards were supposed to held on June 22, and have become part of the soccer calendar over the years where Botswana's top performers are rewarded.
However, for the first time in more than a decade, the awards are in doubt, with the new season due to start next month.
Meanwhile, clubs are still waiting for their prize money to be paid, long after the season ended on May 22.
"We are not impressed with the attitude of the sponsor with regards to the prize money," a Gaborone United official said.
The money is supposed to be deposited into the clubs' accounts as soon as the season ends, but it has been "the coming of the dry season", with many battling to stay afloat.
Ntshinogang said there are in constant touch with the sponsor, BTC, for the release of the funds. Most of the clubs are battling to even pay players' salaries and the future looks perpetually bleak.
The winners pocket P1.3 million while the 16th placed team gets P110,000. The clubs also receive P315,000 each per season as grants.
BTC Premiership prize money breakdown:
1. Township Rollers (champions) - P1.3 million
2. Jwaneng Galaxy - P600,000
3. Orapa United - P400,000
4. Miscellaneous - P300,000
5. Gaborone United - P250,000
6. BDF XI - P200,000
7. Sharps Shooting Stars - P190,000
8. Black Forest - P180,000
9. Mochudi Centre Chiefs - P170,000
10. Extension Gunners - P160,000
11. Sankoyo Bush Bucks - P150,000
12. Security Systems - P140,000
13. Police XI - P130,000
14. TAFIC (relegated) - P125,000
15. Flamengo Santos (relegated) - P120,000
16. Gilport Lions (relegated) - P 110,000