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Kagame says mindset change is key to improving African football

KIGALI, RWANDA – Rwandan President Paul Kagame told the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee meeting on Saturday that changing mindsets and doing things differently would bring about the change they seek to improve and elevate African football.
Addressing the CAF Executive Committee meeting held at Serena Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda on Saturday, 15 May 2021 chaired by CAF President, Dr. Patrice Motsepe and attended by FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, former Arsenal coach, Arsene Wenger and Botswana Football Association (BFA) President and EXCO member, Maclean Letshwiti including other distinguished guests, Kagame urged all the gathered football leaders to improve football in the continent.
Kagame said he was extremely honoured together with his country to be hosting the CAF EXCO meeting.
“It is a badge of honour to have all of you here. We have a duty to football, but we also have a duty to Africa and Africans as well. We need to aspire to deliver as leaders on our mandate, none of us here, does not know our problems, as football organisations, we know what we represent and what we are about. Our task is to improve football in the continent. Let’s change our mindsets and do things differently. Football is part and parcel of the politics of our development, the development of the continent. I’m happy to be addressing this new turning point in football where we now have new leaders, both young and old,” said Kagame.
He said it is inexplicable that Africa endowed with so much, is always lagging behind in everything including football.
“We are the change we seek. We have enormous talent and I urge all of you here today to help nurture it. Also let me recognise Mr. Arsene Wenger, who used to coach my beloved club, Arsenal for gracing us with his presence,” Kagame concluded.
The main items on the Executive Committee Agenda included the implementation of the CAF Pan-African Schools Football Championship, the CAF/FIFA Refereeing Agreement and the FIFA-CAF USD 1 billion Infrastructure Development project. Amongst some of the matters discussed included the 2022-2024 competitions calendar and the challenges relating to the pre-match Covid19 testing, EXCO resolutions on the hosts of the opened bids; CAF Champions League 2020/2021, CAF Confederation Cup 2020/2021, Women Champions League 2021, U20 Africa Cup of Nations 2023, U17 Africa Cup of Nations 2023 and Beach Soccer 2022.
Prior to the EXCO meeting, the CAF President held several meetings including with the six CAF Zonal Unions Presidents (CECAFA, COSAFA, UNAF, UNIFFAC, WAFU A, WAFU


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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