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BFA President pays courtesy visit to Rakgare

A delegation from the Botswana Football Association (BFA), led by Maclean Letshwiti, President of the BFA yesterday (Wednesday) paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports, and Culture Development (MYSC), Honourable Tumiso Rakgare in Gaborone, Botswana.

The purpose of the BFA visit was to introduce the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Goabaone G. Taylor as well as present the new national team UMBRO replica jersey to the parent ministry.  

President Letshwiti also used the opportunity to discuss numerous issues of football, amongst them the burning desire to return to play, the possibilities around hosting international major tournaments as well as seeking government’s buy in regarding all matters of football.

Letshwiti was accompanied by the BFA Vice President 1, Marshlow Motlogelwa, BFA CEO, Goabaone G. Taylor, P.S.P to BFA President, Spencer Mmui whilst MYSC representatives included Honourable Rakgare, his deputy, Honourable Buti Billy, Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate and Director – Policy Specialist for Sports and Recreation, Imon Bogosi.

In his address, Letshwiti officially introduced the new Botswana FA female CEO before recapitulating to the minister various outcomes which were discussed at the weekend’s Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee meeting held in Kiagali, Rwanda, most of which bordered on garnering government support on footballing matters.  

BFA President Letshwiti in discussions with Minister Rakgare

Letshwiti highlighted the urgent need to speed up the return to play as the football fraternity and its entire value chain continue to suffer due to non-footballing action.

The BFA president stressed that it is high time the professional leagues and others return to play, arguing that Botswana is the only country where football is not being played, forcing its workforces into a state of destitution.

“We are one of the few countries that haven’t returned to play and the football leadership is not happy, this is the feedback I gave you minister because it has been proven elsewhere that football can be played in a controlled manner, bio-bubbles and the like. Football is the biggest employer in the sporting fraternity, and we have stressed in our return to play guidelines of the value chain that comes because of football being played. We seek your outmost support in gaining buy in from cabinet and the powers that be, as you continue to do so in support of football,” said Letshwiti.

On other issues, Letshwiti said the BFA seeks the cooperation of government to be able to undertake some of the grassroots development programmes which are on the pipeline courtesy of CAF and FIFA.

“CAF and the football governing body encourage partnerships with governments and gone are those days when government demanded accountability; it was deemed as interference. It is against this backdrop that we therefore ask our government to form formidable partnerships with the BFA as FIFA has introduced football for schools, because our products which are the players and students are in schools managed by the government. We relay this message to the government through you minister Rakgare because FIFA is ready to help with training of coaches including improvement of infrastructure. Botswana is therefore expected to produce an Under-15 team to participate. We cannot at this juncture be seen to shun all these opportunities,” said Letshwiti.

Quite pleasing, the BFA President said was the FIFA and CAF expected efforts of embarking on a project that will see every country in Africa getting at least one state-of-the-art and fully funded football stadium, with the member association only expected to provide land for the development, and as such beseeched the minister through his government to allocate land to the BFA. 

Letshwiti also openly asked the government to bid for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2027 finals, as priority is given to countries that have not hosted before. However, Letshwiti said Botswana has raised its hand to host the COSAFA Women’s Championships. 

“If we host this championship in August, it will give us the much-needed litmus test on how we will fare when bidding for the AFCON finals. We need to have activities in football as this will also attract football leadership such as CAF and FIFA presidency respectively to check on us including our projects,” concluded Letshwiti.

In his response, Honourable Rakgare said his ministry is also working around the clock to gain buy in from the powers that be about the importance of returning to play within the shortest possible time.

Rakgare further encouraged the BFA to work closely with the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) as custodians for all matters that may arise around the hosting of major tournaments including government’s assistance.

Rakgare assured the BFA that it is in the best interest of his government to host such major tournaments thanks to the obvious return on investment (ROI), especially sports tourism.

Minister Rakgare presented with the new Zebras replica jersey by the FA President Letshwiti

 

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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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