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Key Note Address by the Minister

Key Note Address by the MINISTER OF YOUTH EMPOWERMENT, SPORTS AND CULTURE DEVELOPMENT, HONOURABLE TUMISO RAKGARE
Salutation:

It is a singular honour and privilege for me be officiating at this momentous occasion of the Botswana Football Association 2020 General Assembly.

This event, by its very nature, is a time of reflection; one on which we look back at the previous period and at the same time set forth on the journey into the future.

Directors of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Please allow me from the outset to congratulate the BFA for ensuring that notwithstanding challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, an elective general assembly is held.

Through this assembly, football stakeholders have the opportunity not only to elect a leadership of their choice, but also to participate in the decision making process of an organisation they hold dear. Such is the democracy and fairness contemplated by many of the good governance codes for voluntary organisations.

Having spoken of good governance; let us remember that it refers to systems and processes by which an organization is directed and managed.

Good governance influences how we set and achieve our objectives; outlining rules and procedures and assisting us to determine means for optimizing and evaluating performance.

In short, good governance is the foundation for all progress that we make as people in our various sectors and areas of endeavour.

Director of Ceremonies

I deliberately delivered a short lecture on good governance as in my view, today delegates have the opportunity to examine governance issues and structures; to determine the way forward in terms of adjustments and improvements that should prove beneficial not only to the football fraternity in Botswana, but also to the economic success of Botswana.

While still in its nascent stage, our football has already demonstrated that with proper nurturing, it can impact lives thousands of lives positively, play a big role in event based tourism as well as contribute to the diversification of our economy; all of which is contemplated by our National Vision 2036.

As it is no secret that Government would like Botswana to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations, we bank on you as BFA to enhance the chances of success of the country’s bid when it is eventually submitted.

We would also bank on you to ensure there is a Team ready to take on the continental powerhouses and not only add to the numbers. Who can forget the determination and grit we showed ahead of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations? I have no doubt that with proper structures, we can do far better by 2027.

With preparations for the 2027 AFCON and other international events we wish to host, we should see an exponential growth in the number of professional footballers and other athletes; increasing employment numbers in the process.

The sport followers we will attract would not only be sport tourists, but potential consumers of our other types of tourism activities in future; and thereby contributing to our GDP.

Of course it will be remiss of me not to underscore the importance of grassroots development. We need systems and processes that will ensure that year in, year out we produce quality players of the caliber to qualify for major junior football tournaments at CAF and FIFA levels such as the Under-17 and Under 20 events.

We cannot hope to qualify for the FIFA World Cup when our juniors have not played at the youth events, and as such, I would like to encourage the Football Family to apply their minds and seriously explore ways of transforming the performances of our junior national teams, both boys and girls.

When we churn out good players at youth level year in year out, we will no doubt grow the love and support of what the great Brazilian legend, Pele, called the “Beautiful Game”, in our great Republic.

I urge you, delegates at this General Assembly, to raise the bar in terms of the organization and administration of football in the country. Mediocre football leaders and coaches produce mediocre players and results. We need to change that. The rest of the world is moving forward and doing so with speed. We should not run the risk of falling far behind due to things that are entirely avoidable.

The petty squabbles, bad publicity and controversy generated by football leaders should become a thing of the past. Such are bad advertisement and scare away potential sponsors and other well-meaning and talented Batswana who would like to contribute to the growth of football in Botswana.

Let us remember that it takes years to build a good reputation and only a few seconds, minutes or just hours to destroy that hard-won reputation.

Personally, I have no doubt that we have eminently qualified as well as capable men and women in this country who can provide the dynamic, visionary and transformational leadership that is required in guiding the development of the game in this country.

Let us all get together as the football family to demonstrate that despite the population size of Botswana, we can still compete with the powerhouses in world football. Like some wise person once said, “It is not about the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog”.

Mr. President, Dear Delegates
My attention has been drawn to the fact that this past Wednesday and Thursday, there was held a webinar for Sub Saharan sport organisations on sport integrity; particularly the Manipulation of Sport Competitions.

I have noted with great excitement that Botswana had representation from diverse sectors, including law enforcement, anti-corruption and sport; and most importantly, that the BFA was a participant.

Dear Delegates
It is a fact we perhaps cannot run way from match fixing, illegal betting and general corruption in sport. However, we must put in place systems and structures to preserve the integrity of football in Botswana.

We all know that we have already had cases of match fixing in Botswana, and that while one of two individuals may have been tried and sanctioned for that, many others could probably be getting away with it undetected.

It is against that backdrop that I fervently hope the good ladies and gentlemen who will be elected by the end of this assembly will not only talk about these issues in hushed tones, but ensure there are deliberate and concrete steps towards raising awareness, putting detection and reporting systems in place and pushing for promulgation of appropriate laws.

Already our country has suffered its fair share of shame from doping scandals, and we cannot allow another vice to rear its ugly head in our sport. Manipulation of competitions, doping and other vices are not only dangers to the athletes, but they also cause irreparable harm to the good name of sport.

Directors of Ceremonies
In conclusion, on behalf of the People and Government of the Republic of Botswana and indeed on my own behalf, I would like to heartily congratulate all election candidates for making it this far.

In my opinion, you are all winners, regardless of what the outcome will be. Minus that bad press that I talked about earlier, you are richer now that you were before the campaign trail started, as a lot of wisdom, experience and insight have been gained during the process.

Most importantly, after everything has been said and done, Botswana Football, should emerge as the ultimate winner from this General Assembly.

Let us use football to celebrate with the Nation the 54 years of Independence and all the glorious achievements that Botswana has recorded as well as lighting the way to Vision 2036.

Let us stand, United and Proud, spreading patriotism throughout the country through football.

Let us notch up the good work we have been doing and strive to become better representatives, ambassadors and role models to the many Batswana out there that swear by the sport of football.

May the best people win today and may the Good Lord continue to bless you abundantly.

I thank you for your attention.

PULA!

News

Preparations going accordingly

Zebras assistant coach Keitumetse Paul says Batswana should not be bothered by Zambia and support their team at this point in time. Paul said the technical team had to strategize on how they will get the team in the shape that is needed ahead of the AFCON qualifier.

Paul, who is also the national under 20 head coach, said he was currently taking charge of the Zebras in the absence of head-coach Adel Amrouche. Amrouche is set to return from Belgium this Friday. Paul highlighted that the head-coach is very much in charge of the team as he gives direction on training session, and is consulted on daily progress.

Paul highlighted the importance of supporting the Zebras. He said the Zebras have the heart and they are fearless as they continue to prepare for Novembers international games.

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