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The Footballers Union of Botswana recently hosted a tournament for out-of-contract players, helping more than a dozen get contracts with Premier League clubs.

The Footballers Union of Zimbabwe and two leading Botswana teams -- Gaborone United and Police XI – also took part in the event in Gaborone. The one-day competition followed a five-week training programme for players who had been released by their previous club.

About 15 players of the 31 players who took part in the training camp have secured contracts with Premier League clubs and five more have signed deals with second-tier teams, according to Kgosana Masaseng, a spokesman for the Botswana union.

Gosenna Molapise, a 26-year-old player, said he had agreed to join Premier League team Extension Gunners after taking part in the training camp and tournament. He said the union-organized initiatives were a “good platform” for players. Arnold Mampori, 26, said he was set to join Gaborone United following the tournament.

Players prefer taking part in a training camp than being sent to trials at different clubs around the country, Masaseng said.

The Botswana national team coach, David Bright, who attended the tournament, said he was impressed by a few players that he felt could play for any team in the league. “I can only request coaches in the Premier League and first division to attend these games in numbers,” Bright said.

A few Premier League coaches said their only complaint was that the tournament was late in the offseason and that they have mostly prepared their squads for the upcoming season. Mmoni Segopolo, head of the Botswana union’s technical committee, said they would try and bring the tournament forward next year.

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Picture: Nine club coaches, three independent scouts and dozens of spectators were among those who watched the tournament.