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BFA is ready to resume play

GABORONE, Botswana – The Botswana Football Association (BFA) this afternoon (Friday) hosted a virtual media briefing where it presented its readiness to return to the pitch. 

The media briefing which was hosted at Lekidi Football Centre in Gaborone was led by the BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Goabaone G. Taylor and her team of experts; amongst them Head of Competitions, Setete Phuthego, Medical team, Dr. Lone Bagwasi, BFA Legal eagle, Pako Moakofhi as well as Botswana Football League (BFL) CEO, Solomon Ramochotlhwane.
 
Subsequent to today’s media briefing, the BFL is also expected to roll out their plan to the media next week Tuesday.

BFA PRO Tumo Mpatane directing the media briefing

 
Today’s media session follows the recent publication by the Botswana Government allowing for the resumption of competitive sports after a lull due to the outbreak of COVID-19.  
 
In her remarks, Taylor emphasized that the BFA is ready and raring to return to play, adding that the secretariat has adopted a phased approach where all the BFA structures will be capacitated to speak one language of hygiene, prevention, and prompt recognition.

Botswana Football League (BFL) CEO, Solomon Ramochotlhwane.    

The BFA Return to Play roll-out plan will commence with training sessions by national teams and BFL teams subject to authorization by the Medical Committee from June 14, 2021. However, friendly matches and pre-season tournaments will not be allowed at this phase.
 
BFA is desirous of hosting pre season tournaments but these will be subject to negotiations with sponsors to agree the roll out plan . The 2021/22 season has been declared to start from August 28, 2021 – May 29th, 2022. The BFA indicated that there will be continuous monitoring and evaluation at each phase to ensure compliance.
 
Still under the first phase, Taylor said from June 28, 2021, all First Division leagues, RFA, Women Football will be allowed to resume training. The period, according to the BFA will allow for training of SHE Officers and to allow Regional Leadership to inspect the resources that the clubs have and to check compliance.

BFA Legal eagle, Pako Moakofhi

“We are happy for the recent announcement allowing for competitive sports, particularly football to resume play. The BFA is ready, and all our 17 regions are going to be trained effective 24 June to 3rd July to align accordingly with our Return to play plan. During this time, there will also be an appointment and training of compliance officers,” said Taylor adding that teams are further expected to equip themselves with screening points.
 
She noted that pre-competition medical assessment of not more than 2-weeks prior to competitive football will be compulsory.

One of the journalists, Tshepo Molwane fielding questions to the BFA CEO, Taylor

 
“A 4-6week preparatory training phase is critical ahead of the start of competitive sport. In the 1st 2 weeks, divided training sessions are highly recommended, with teams divided in to four groups of 8 people. Also, ahead of match day, stadiums should be disinfected and fumigated. No spectators will be allowed at stadiums and training grounds,” said Taylor.

The CEO stressed that the host team shall be responsible for all logistics, and where a player or official is infected, all public health protocols will be followed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

BFA CEO Taylor (centre) addressing the media

 
Furthermore, Taylor cautioned that any team which fails to meet the minimum set requirements shall not be allowed to resume play.
 
“CAF and FIFA guidelines to be followed should there be ambiguity and costs to be split between BFA and the teams,” she added.

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The Anti-Doping Agency from the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture today paid a courtesy call on the national U17 teams before they left for the Region 5 Youth Games in Lilongwe.
 
The agency coordinates anti-doping regulations for all sporting codes in Botswana. Its main objectives include among others scientific and social research, education, investigations and monitoring compliance with the global anti-doping program.
 
FIFA’s anti‐doping strategy relies on education and prevention. A worldwide network of physicians guarantees doping control procedures that are straightforward and leave no place for cheating. FIFA actively acknowledges its responsibility to protect players from harm and ensure equal chances for all competitors by stringent doping control regulations.
 

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