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Minister Rakgare Visits Zebras Camp

Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare, has appealed to Botswana national football team players, The Zebras to work towards regaining the team’s waning glory.
Rakgare made the remarks when he visited The Zebras training camp at Jamali Stadium in Tlokweng yesterday (Wednesday).

The Zebras play their two 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying matches and decisive fixtures against Zimbabwe (March 25th ) and Algeria (March 29th ).

The current crop of Zebras players are harbouring dreams of making history by becoming the second generation to reach the finals of AFCON. The first and last time the national team qualified was in 2012.

In his welcome remarks, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) VP2, Masego Ntshingane thanked the minister for making time to be with the boys saying this will act as motivation to the players ahead of their crucial AFCON clashes.

“It is a special day for the BFA and the players to see the minister, and his entourage in their busy schedules, visiting the camp, to give motivation and assume their fond support to the team. The players represent the country and commitment by the government is an unparalleled boost to the players,” said Ntshingane.

In his speech on the touchline with the players, Rakgare encouraged the players to work hard in training to be able to beat Zimbabwe and Algeria.

Rakgare emphasized that his wish is to see local players securing international contracts especially the ones that will see them plying their trade in top European leagues.

“It is important to play in the AFCON finals. This will give you a better platform of being scouted by international teams. I want you, all The Zebras players playing in Spain, France and England leagues. We see this happening in other countries. We have to work hard as that chance may come whilst playing with the best at AFCON. Together with top officials at the ministry, we are working on modalities to put incentives for the national teams. We are however guided by government protocols.”

Rakgare further assured the players that as government, they are working around the clock to return to play.
He said the government want to see the supporters back to the stadiums supporting their favorite teams as supporters play a pivotal role in growing the sport.
“As government, we want football to return to play, we have until end of March to fight against covid-19 and the safety of the players is a priority. We are however ready to resume sport by end of month. I have been in talks with the BFA, Botswana Football league (BFL) on conditions to resume football. It has been a long spell and we are committed to resuming sport. We are also further in talks with potential sponsors to lure them to the elite league as football has also been hardly hit by covid-19.”
“Qualifying for AFCON should be your number one priority. In the past since I assumed duty in the ministry, we have seen cabinet members attending the matches as a first step to understanding how diverse football is as an industry. This is our commitment as government.”

Meanwhile, The Zebras coach, Adel Amrouche also thanked Rakgare for visiting them saying this is good enough motivation for the team.

“It is a positive insight to have a minister who knows sports particularly football. He has passion for it and wishes the team well. The players know him personally and when they assure him that they will play for the flag, despite all conditions we are facing, I haven’t seen these players complain of anything, we are determined to win and qualify,” said Amrouche.

Goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe who represented the players also assured the minister that the team will do well in the next crucial fixtures.

“It is important to see you minister at our camp physically, we have been working hard for the last two weeks and we are going to make the country proud. The morale in the camp is high, the boys are ready to fight, and we urge the nation to rally behind the team all the way,” said Dambe.


BFA President Letshwiti urges regional FAs to become more professional

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) President, MacLean Letshwiti today (Friday) officially closed the 5-day FIFA approved and funded programme dubbed Administration and Management Course for the Gaborone City Regional Football Association, held under the theme ‘Operation Time for Change’ at Tlotlo Conference Centre in Gaborone.
A welcome and refreshing undertaking, the programme, which opened on Monday, April 12th – 16th, was 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.
The objectives of the programme included the empowerment of leaders, both Regional Structures and Clubs, on the management of the game; engaging participants on the importance of Stakeholder management, as well as identifying for further training prospective national course instructors in Administration and Management, with a view that once qualified, they will continue to train up and coming Administrators in the Regions on football administration.

Ashford Mamelodi of Mamelodi Consultancy

In his remarks, the BFA President said the programme has seen more than 500 participants across the country benefiting at a cost over P4 million courtesy of football’s world governing body, FIFA.
“I am delighted to see that our regions participated in this programme with large numbers, and they have also shown willingness and strong commitment to learn fittingly. For us to run professional leagues, and independent regional associations, we must equip our personnel with the right courses that enable them to be professional and act along the FIFA standards and statutes. The BFA will under my leadership be a frontrunner in improving the standards of football both administratively and in the field,” said Letshwiti.
Letshwiti noted that Botswana was one of the first countries to benefit from the FIFA Operation Time for Change project, saying this goes to show the level of commitment the local FA has for the growth of the sport.

Gaborone Regional Football Association Chairperson Tsheko

The project, which was facilitated by FIFA instructor and consultant, Ashford Mamelodi of Mamelodi Consulting ranged from governance, technical, sponsorship, fan base management, financial management and competitions amongst others.
“There is a lot of hope as the Gaborone region is in the capital city where the headquarters are. I am also happy that the region now has an office, and this is where all the 49 teams in the Gaborone region can go get serviced. After this weeklong engagement, the region has assured me that they will bring about the much-needed change of how they have been running their matters including sub-constitution from the parent constitution to give the chairman powers to run the region professionally. This is the biggest investment the FA has made, and it has to be put into practice. If all the stakeholders can all pull in the same direction, the BFA can be one of the strongest FAs at FIFA level,” said Mamelodi in his closing remarks.
For his part, the Gaborone regional FA, Vice Chairperson, Thapelo Mothusi said as the region they are grateful for all the lessons learnt from the Operation Time for Change course. He said all club administrators have been fully equipped with critical lessons to implement at their various clubs.

BFA President Maclean Letshwiti

As it was the last day of the course, all participants were tasked with case studies to mimic real football situations, ranging from organizing the play-offs, youth tournaments and event management.
Meanwhile, The BFA Technical officer, Tshepo Mphukuthi further assured the delegates that in the upcoming football season, the CAF regulations will be intensified, and teams will have to have coaches with relevant coaching badges to be illegible to coach particularly at CAF competitions.

BFA acting TD Dr Carolin Braun and BFA Chief Protocol Officer Spencer Mmui

From Gaborone, the Operation Time for Change programme will head out to the Kgatleng Regional FA, from April 26th – 30th, and call it a wrap in Palapye from 10th – 14th May 2021 with the Central/North Regional FA (Serowe).

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