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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.

Development

Lifting of BNSC affiliated sporting activities

GABORONE, Botswana – Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Hon. Tumiso Macdonald Rakgare addressed the most anticipated media briefing since local sporting activities were suspended more than a year ago due to COVID-19. In his address, Minister Rakgare told the media that a decision had been taken by Cabinet last week Wednesday for the safe return of competitive sports. A gratifying moment was when the Government Gazette Extraordinary, dated 8th June 2021, followed suit to cement Rakgare’s positive assertions.

The regulations are:

(i) be provided by the host with clean water and soap to wash their hands or with hand sanitizer throughout the duration of the activity,

(ii) wear a face mask or homemade item that covers the nose and mouth or another appropriate item that covers the nose and mouth, where the person is not a participant of the activity, and,

(iii) observe the social distancing requirements of being at least 2 metres apart from each other.

(b) a sports facility may host authorised sports daily where there shall not be more than 50 participants and 50 officials at any given time.

(c) spectators are prohibited from attending competitive sporting activities;

(d) alcohol shall not be sold or consumed at the facility during a sporting activity;

(e) water bottles and hydration containers shall not be shared by participants;

(f) daily disinfection of sporting facility and equipment shall take place where sporting activities are carried out, under the supervision of the Director of Health Services;

(g) a sports host shall facilitate a minimum of a 30-minute break every 2 hours during a sport activity which is held indoors, to allow for ventilation of the facilities;

(h) a sporting activity host shall appoint a SHE officer for every activity;

(i) an adult shall supervise all junior competitive sporting activities;

(j) a sports facility shall be closed, upon direction of the Director of Health Services, where there is a reasonable suspicion that a person who has accessed the premises has come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or that a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 has had access to the premises;

MYSC PS Kago Ramokate

(k) the checking of body temperature of all persons in attendance of a sports facility is carried out by the host, and where the person’s body temperature is 37.4 degrees celsius and above, such person shall not be

allowed to access the sports facility, and the person shall be referred to the Director of Health Services;

(l) a sports host shall maintain a register containing the personal details and contact details of all persons accessing the sports facility;

(m) the register referred to in paragraph (l) shall be open for inspection by the Director of Health Services for the purposes of contact tracing, and shall be open for inspection by any law enforcement officer for the

investigation of an offence under the Regulations; and

(n) a sports host shall surrender the register to the Director of Health Services, within 30 days from the date of

such sporting activity being held.

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