Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS and Dynamos are no longer travelling to Botswana for an invitational tournament that was set for tomorrow after organisers failed to deposit players’ appearance fees as per agreement.
Bosso and DeMbare were invited for the Supa Power Cup that was to also feature former Botswana champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Tafic Sporting Club in Francistown.
Organisers of the Super Power Cup, the Joy Foundation Sports Development, had agreed to deposit money into participating teams’ accounts two weeks before the event, but had not done so by yesterday afternoon.
Highlanders were the first to stick to their guns, telling organisers they would only embark on the road trip when the agreed cash had been deposited into their account.
The tournament was eventually called off after Joy Setshedi, founder of Joy Foundation Sports Development, tried to lure Dynamos to travel to Botswana alone, promising to pay them from the gate-takings.
However, Dynamos chairman Kenny Mubaiwa turned down Setshedi’s offer, saying it was risky.
“I spoke to Joy Setshedi, who is the organiser of the tournament, and she said Highlanders had issued a statement that they will only travel to Botswana after getting the players’ appearance fees. She said the statement angered the sponsor, who then decided to pull out. Given that there was no sponsor, Setshedi then said we travel to Botswana where the players were going to be paid from gate-takings. I told her that’s risky and as the chairman of the club, I had to protect the interests of Dynamos. What if we travelled and the gate-takings failed to cater for the players’ allowances?” Mubaiwa said.
The four teams had been promised P5 000 per player in appearance fees, with the organisers taking care of transport and accommodation costs.
Highlanders’ chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube said demanding cash upfront is in the contract they signed.
“We included that clause so that we avoid arguments that could have come after the tournament. We were avoiding arguments that could diminish our brand, with reports that players were not paid after participating in the tournament,” said Dube.
In 2012, a payment scuffle ensued when Setshedi took more than six months to honour her pledge of paying teams after a similar soccer tournament.
Setshedi had claimed everything was above board this time, saying the Botswana Football Association had given the green light for the tournament, unlike in 2012 when some sponsors pulled out at the last minute.
The pullout forced organisers to pin their hopes on gate takings, which only amounted to P74 000, way below the budgeted figures.
The Supa Power Cup was meant to raise funds for the development of a sports academy in Mochudi.
As part of raising funds, the organisers were running the tournament along the lines of South Africa’s Carling Black Label featuring Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, with fans of the four teams selecting the participating players through SMS voting.
It seems Joy Foundation were hoping to cash in from gate-takings since Highlanders and Dynamos are crowd pullers. The cheapest ticket for the tournament had been pegged at P60, with the VIP enclosure costing P750. — @ZililoR.