Zim coach threatens to report Bots club to FIFA

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By Bakang Mhaladi 

Gaborone - Former Zimbabwe national team assistant coach, Bongani Mafu has threatened to report Botswana Premier League side, Orapa United, to FIFA over owed salaries.

Mafu was dismissed by the diamond mine side last month and says he is owed more than P40,000, after his severance package and October salary were not paid in full.

The coach has said efforts to get the club to stump up the dues have, thus far, hit a brick wall.

He said if no solution is forthcoming, he would be left with no choice but to report the Botswana side to FIFA.

Another Botswana side, Gaborone United, recently paid a crippling P500,000 to a Ghanaian national, Appiah Bismark,  after the player reported the club to FIFA for unfair dismissal. The debt was initially a lowly P21,000, but as repeated efforts to get the club to pay failed, the figure escalated to US$39,500 after it reached the Court of Sport Arbitration (CAS) in Zurich.

Mafu is also contemplating taking the same route after the club told the local press that it did not owe the Zimbabwean.

"I was paid P70,000, but then we agreed that I should be paid my October salary and a settlement allowance, both amounting to just above P40,000. However, nothing has been forthcoming," Mafu told The Southern Times.

"The club chairperson was not honest that the money would be deposited into my account." Orapa spokesperson, Kabo William, denied that the club owes Mafu.

"We don't owe him. If there is anything he or his representative will contact us," William told the local press.

But Mafu said he will press ahead in his bid to get the club to pay.

"I am willing to let people know the truth so that no other coach would be abused. This might cost me, but I am fine with it. They have no respect," fumed Mafu.

"I am looking for the route to FIFA, I am not letting this go."

Mafu was appointed Orapa coach last season, but there was trouble when the club appointed local, Mogomotsi 'Teenage' Mpote, as his assistant. Mpote had won the league championship with Township Rollers the previous season and was reluctant to be Mafu's assistant, and reportedly engineered his downfall.

Mafu, a former Highlanders coach in Zimbabwe, did not have a good introduction to Botswana football after he went for six months unpaid at his first club, Mochudi Centre Chiefs in 2017.

In the end, the club accumulated a P200,000 debt, which has not been fully settled to date.

The majority of Botswana clubs are battling financial challenges, which have seen most pay disputes with either players or coaches, reach the courts.

However, Orapa United are one of the few 'rich' clubs, with a strong financial backing from the diamond mining company, Debswana.

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