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Pre-Competition Medical Assessment (PCMA)

These are a set of tests conducted on an athlete to ensure they are safe to participate in any form of physical activity. The aim is to detect possible medical illnesses that may be catastrophic to an athlete when they engage in any exertional physical activity. This in Football was introduced by FIFA in the 2006 world cup where an 81% response rate showed that a standardized physical assessment in possible and since every team has to conduct them prior to competition.
The composition of the PCMA include a medical history, physical examination and investigations
Medical History: It aims to pick up current illnesses and risks that may predispose one to adverse health
events and guides further investigation
Physical Examination: A head to toe examination of body systems to pick out any physical impairment or assess for injuries. The examination may be guided also by the history and usually the major systems of importance which are but not limited to the heart (cardiovascular system), the lungs (respiratory system), bones, joints, muscles (musculoskeletal system).
Investigations: aimed at screening the athlete and further look at any problems found during history and physical assessment. They are usually conducted by the Team physician and physiotherapist.
The standard tests include:
1. Chest X-ray (looks at the lungs),
2. 12 lead resting electrocardiogram/ECG (looks at the heart) if available and stress ECG if available and when indicated – to look at structural or electrical abnormalities of the heart such as
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which may lead to sudden collapse or sudden cardiac death on the field. It also has or requires an athlete specific interpretation.
3. Echocardiogram/ECHO – Is an ultrasound scan around the heart done and is indicated when there are boarder line or abnormal changes that are pathological on the athlete ECG.
4. Blood tests (Full blood count and iron stores, urea & electrolytes, Liver function tests, lipid profile) – and any indicated tests based on prior assessment
5. Body composition assessment: body weight, height, Body mass index (BMI), fat percentage
Other useful tests if available include:
1. Lung function tests – to check lung function in terms of capacity and their recoil ability.
2. Other Test may be conducted by the Biokineticist, Physical/strength and conditioning coach along with the sports scientist (if available) include the Biomechanical status of the athlete and Exercise stress testing (VO2 max – to check your oxygen consumption).
They are conducted at the start of each season or towards a major competition to ensure the participating athletes are ready to compete. Some of the tests may be conducted as the season progress depending on the indication (injury, illness etc.) such as the physical exam and ECG.
Any hospital government or private offer these tests. The team must ensure a system is place for its athletes to be able to conduct these tests.
They are not 100% effective but they pick majority of those abnormal cases that may be catastrophic to an athlete performance. The one (1) life that will be saved by detection of abnormalities from these tests fat outweighs the cost associated with running this test. Hence it is important to conduct them
diligently and not put any athlete at risk by being negligent and overlooking them.
The BFA Medical committee will going forward ensure these tests are done in structures under the BFA and spot checks are to be done for evaluation of these tests independently. The aim is to protect the greatest stakeholder in the athlete.


National First Divisions undergo Operation Time For Change drill

GABORONE, Botswana – In its relentless quest to professionalize and commercialize local football, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has extended the FIFA approved and funded programme dubbed Administration and Management Course – Operation Time for Change to National First Division Leagues (NFDL), both in the South and North regions. The five-day rigorous training, which kicked off at Tlotlo Hotel and Conference Centre in Gaborone on Monday (yesterday), is aimed at endowing leaders of football clubs to effectually grow football from grassroots level and administer it with indispensable proficiency.

Furthermore, it is intended to achieve a renewal in terms of how football is managed at all levels throughout the country, facilitated by FIFA instructor and consultant, Ashford Mamelodi of Mamelodi Consulting. Officially opening yesterday’s Operation Time for Change for National First Division South, newly appointed Botswana Football League (BFL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Solomon Ramochotlhwane implored all clubs to adapt to club licensing regulations, as this will become a standard tool for commercialization of clubs and football in Botswana – a barometer also used by CAF. The course has so far been administered in all the 17 Regional Football Association (RFA) regions where over 600 graduates have been inducted.

With the BFA steadfast to commercialize football, they saw it apt to also train NFDL clubs as they act as a feeder to the elite league. In his remarks Ramochotlhwane said, “the program comes at a time when the BFA 2020 Annual General Assembly granted National Leagues being BFL and NFDL autonomy which paves way for professionalism.  As one of the milestones of becoming professional, Operations Time for Change Program comes at a time when clubs have been struggling to meet CAF Club Licensing requirements. This was mostly due to lack of Management Skills and Stakeholder Management by football administrators.

National First Division Chairman, Sydney Magagane

At the end of the program, the participants will be equipped with the Leadership Skills to enable them to perform their duties and influence the change they want to see,” and further added, “Good Governance drives success and produce positive results. Football is a sport that has been severely battered by poor governance. This comes as results of members failing to account in getting the right people to lead the teams. Planning – This is an area that has been neglected for a very long time. The time has now come for teams to have strategies to drive their day-to-day, week-in and week-out preparations on how they drive football and its activities. Communication- the greatest source of Conflict amongst people is failure to communicate, hence Clear Communication clears barriers of misunderstanding.”

Ramochotlhwane said it is therefore imminent to develop a sense of urgency around the need for change. He noted that the time for clubs to change is now hence it is necessary for clubs to do away with societal organizations mentality. “This often takes strong leadership and visible support from key people within your organization. Identify the true leaders in your organization, as well as your key stakeholders,” added Ramochotlhwane. For his part, Chairman of National First Division South, Sydney Magagane encouraged all clubs to take the course seriously as it will speed up the professionalization and commercialization aspect of Botswana football in general.

“The course intends to further train more instructors as our journey to commercialization will need more professionally equipped experts to undertake this task. Clubs are what makes the BFA and therefore starting to commercialize all clubs will bolster swift transition into the mother body,” said Magagane. The course started yesterday, Monday until Friday, June 14 – 18 for the NFDS before moving to Francistown for the NFDN on 21 – 25th June 2021.

Ashford Mamelodi of Mamelodi Consulting

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