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All Is Well in the Zebras Camp

GABORONE, Botswana, February 18, 2021/ — The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has vehemently denied damning social media reports claiming harassment of national team players currently on camp, racism and maladministration.

In light of the recent allegations, the BFA CEO, Thabiso Kebotsamang has categorically dispelled the circulating media reports as fabrications.

Kebotsamang has assured all football stakeholders that everything is in order within the national team camp, with players and coach amicably working together as they prepare to lift the country’s flag high by yearning for six-points at the upcoming 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers between Zimbabwe and Algeria next month (March).

Kebotsamang confirmed that from the initial 30-man provisional squad which was called to camp by head coach, Adel Amrouche, only three players have thus far left camp due to various reasons known to the BFA. The three are Lesenya Ramoraka of Orapa United, Tshepo Maikano and Mishani Thupa from Gaborone United. Kebotsamang explained that Ramoraka and Thupa left due to injuries.

“He came to be assessed by our national team doctor as the coach can pick a player with an injury and assess through latter for a second opinion on their injuries, while Maikano left on personal matters. All I know is that he has assured the technical team he will certainly be happy for the next call up.

Furthermore, to solidify and strengthen the national team, a new team manager, Harry Koata has been appointed. Koata is the Botswana Football League’s club, Masitaoka FC general manager. His role is to primarily act as liaison between the technical team and the secretariat.

Kebotsamang further assured the football fraternity all is well within the Zebras camp courtesy of a solid and well-versed technical team.

On issues of racism, the CEO dismissed everything as untruthful adding that the BFA has no room for such to prevail.

“The nation would care to note that the Zebras’ technical team is led by coach Adel Amrouche, assisted by Letang Kgangwenyane of BDF XI (local), and goalkeeper coach Kagiso Tshelametsi of Sua Flamingos (local) whilst the physical trainer is Christophe Baudez. The BFA acting technical director Dr. Carolin Bruan continues to assist the technical team whenever she’s free. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, some of Dr. Braun’s projects supported by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) which she heads in her 2-year stay in Botswana have been put on hold as there are travel restrictions around the country including government’s decision to halt meetings or engagements of 50 people or more,” added Kebotsamang.

Regarding allegations that the national team coach prefers to work with expatriates as opposed to locals, Kebotsamang affirmed that as per international practice coaches always choose to bring their own support staff ranging from assistant coach, video analyst and physical trainer, and in Adel case he brought in only Baudez while the rest of the technical team is made up of Batswana.

Meanwhile, assistant coach, Kgwengwenyane’s no show in the current camp is because he had asked to be excused due to current commitments with his employer, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and that he will be available in the next camp.

In preparing the team, the BFA says its working around the clock to secure international friendlies but due to Covid-19, nations are reluctant to travel or play host.

“Our technical team has also advised against playing local teams as their lack of action may result in the squad sustaining injuries. The talks with Rwanda FA also fell off due to the prevailing pandemic.”

The first camp is expected to end on Saturday, February 20th.

“Due to no action of the league, we intended on having longer camps purposely for the coach to fully assess his squad. The next camp is expected to resume on March 1st until the next fixtures with Zimbabwe and Algeria. Internationally-based players are expected to join the next camp as preparations for The Zebras’ yearn for glory intensify,” concluded Kebotsamang.

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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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