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U-20 Men’s National Team coach, Paul benchmarking at Orlando Pirates FC

In a bid to enhance bilateral football relations between Botswana and South Africa, the U20 Men’s National Team head coach, Keitumetse Pio Paul is in Johannesburg, RSA at the Orlando Pirates FC (OPFC) development side where he is monitoring the progress of 17-year-old striker, Lizo Skweyiya among other things. 

The weeklong assessment will see Paul meeting with his counterparts from Pirates’ development sides amongst them Head of Development, Mandla Qhogi as well as the Under-21 coaches, Simon Marange and Yester Khomane, respectively.

One of his coaches at OPFC Marange has rated Skweyiya’s technical ability and physic higher.

“Skweyiya possesses some really good technical ability, can get past players and is able to finish. He still needs to improve on decision making and game insight. He is comfortable going either direction. He’s very direct. He might grow into a good forward, playing from either the sides or centrally. He also has exceptionally good pace and strength to go with his technical ability,” said Marange.

Paul has described his stay in RSA as a fact-finding mission, his quest being mainly to understand the dynamics which Orlando Pirates used during this COVID-19 period to train young players. 

The coach noted that he also had talks with other academies such as Africa Stars of Farouk Khan – a renowned RSA development coach.

Coach Paul and striker Lizo

“I am here to see how they coped with the COVID-19 restrictions and what the club has implemented to save their players. Notably, it is to build relations with the development coaches of Orlando Pirates with the possibility of playing friendly matches regularly against each other. 

This would be an opportunity for our players to be seen by South African clubs as well. The trip also accorded me an opportunity to look at players from Botswana who play for the RSA clubs and encourage them to understand the opportunity that comes with playing for our national teams. It is important for the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to identify all its foreign-based players as this will give national team selectors a wider pool to choose from,” said Paul.

Skweyiya was previously coached by Jozi Talent under the tutelage of Roman Schroder. Schroder runs his own development coaching academy. He is also the Technical Director for Panorama FC and a graduate of the DFI academy coaching staff.

Paul’s U20 Men’s National Team will go on camp this Friday (May14th) as they start preparations for the 2021 COSAFA Championships. The coach highlighted that the upcoming camp will only feature locally based players while internationally based players are only expected in camp later in the year. Paul is expected back home this Sunday.


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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