The President of the Botswana Football Association (BFA), Maclean Letshwiti has finally broken his silence over the numerous sporadic attack launched by former Zebras coach, Peter James Butler on local football administrators.
Speaking to BG Sport this week, the reluctant Letshwiti said “As much as I wish to avoid public spat with our former employee, Mr Butler, but as the custodian of Botswana football, I have an obligation to protect the reputation and integrity of Botswana football, especially our secretariat and stakeholders.”
“As a proponent of free speech, I believe that every statement made should be factual to demonstrate credence and responsibility, and therefore incessant and sporadic social and public media attacks on my administration and BFA secretariat, which lack decency and courtesy, cannot continue unabated or unchallenged.”He notes, “My position is that if Butler feels aggrieved or hard done, then as a professional, he is aware of the right channels to communicate his grievances, in line with existing labour structures or even seek redress with CAF, FIFA and the courts of law.” The candid Letshwiti calls on Butler to stop uttering statements, which, in his view, are tantamount to bringing the game of football into disrepute, and of course deliberately cause injury to some of the BFA personnel.
He cautions Butler that the BFA is on the verge of lodging a formal complaint for unprofessional conduct with all governing bodies such as Confederation of African Football (CAF), FIFA and even the UEFA which gave him a Pro License A.
However, Letshwiti acknowledges Butler’s passion for youth development structures programmes.
“He has always been passionate about developing our future stars, and it was my intention to retain him had it not been for his terms and conditions, which I found difficult to accept. For instance, he told me to expel some of the contracted secretariat staff as part of his conditions of accepting the renewal of his contract. I told him that it was not possible as they had done nothing to warrant the calls for expulsion.
Butler who possesses a UEFA Pro License has never given Maclean Letshwiti administration any credit ever since it became clear that he was not the preferred candidate for the two top technical positions of Technical Director and senior national team head coach at Lekidi House -the BFA headquarters. Butler has been consistent on his calls for a regime change at the BFA. In his own words, and in response to a recent BG Sport questionnaire, the english coach claims he has no axe to grind against anybody, nor is he interested in taking over the position, but he just loves this country and is worried that BFA Technical Director, Matshidiso Kowa and national team coach David Bright are not qualified to hold their positions. Butler has also made some unsubstantiated claims that one of the Serbian coaches working for a local premier league side in Botswana has forged his documents.
The Chairman of Gaborone United (GU) Football Club Rapula Okaile has resigned with immediate effect this week. The reasons for his abrupt resignation are not yet clear. However, Okaile has cited personal reasons when reached for comment on the matter.
According to GU General Manager Olebile Sikwane, Okaile’s surprise resignation is a monumental loss to the team. Okaile is said to have been the chief sponsor of the team and his departure has left a gaping hole at GU.
Sikwane said the team is currently in talks with stakeholders to map the way forward. He said there was no bad blood within GU management and Okaile’s reasons for leaving the team are personal.
“He has been at the helm of the club for a long time, it is not about GU but other issues,” Sikwane said.
The GU General Manager said Okaile has been chairman of the team for the past two and a half years. “As far his memory can recall, he has been with GU for more than 30 years.”
Nevertheless, speculation is rife that the chairman was pushed out of the team. It is alleged that Okaile had lost favour with most of the GU family and majority were already calling for him to resign.
“He was a man in trouble, he no longer had confidence to continue leading the club, he was forced to call it a day,” said a source close to the matter.
It is not yet clear who will take over from Okaile, however former GU Director and financier Nicholas Zakhem is likely to take over. Another possible candidate is GU Secretary General City Senne.
Meanwhile, Okaile’s resignation automatically means he forfeits his position as chairman of the Botswana Premier League (BPL) Board. BPL Acting CEO Thabo Ntshinogang said he was shocked to learn that the ambitious chairman had resigned.
He said BPL is going to be affected in that Okaile was involved in a lot of things, including decision making at board level.
Nevertheless, he said they have no choice but to accept the unforeseen turn of events. Ntshinogang said they would give GU all the necessary time to find a suitable replacement.
There seems to be no end in sight to the Constituency league controversy that has pitted government against National Sports Associations (NSA). Being affiliates of international governing bodies for most sports codes, NSA feel that they have the right to oversee how their respective sports codes are operated and conducted in the country. Government on the other hand has argued that NSA does not have the capacity to oversee the Constituency league.
The recent Sports Pitso held in Palapye provided the opportunity to discuss and resolve the matter. However, It seems like the deadlock between government and NSAs will prevail for now. The Constituency League remains one of president Ian Khama’s most controversial initiatives. Having been in existence for over five years the Constituency league consists of several sports codes including football, volleyball, netball and the recently introduced track and field.
Representing the NSAs at the Sports Pitso, Tsoseletso Magang said the Associations were never consulted when the Constituency League was established. “When you established the Constituency league, you did not think it was worthwhile to empower national Associations. This comes across as government not trusting us to run sport,” Magang said when addressing Sports Stakeholders. Magang said the hot potato issue has split the population, as NSAs have to go out and seek sponsorship while other sporting activities are funded directly.
In response, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Thapelo Olopeng said the Constituency League was not supposed to compete with NSAs. Olopeng said both the NSAs and the Constituency league are under the same ministry despite running parallel.
The minister said the Constituency league was meant to engage the youth and not compete with Associations. Moreover, Olopeng questioned the capacity of NSAs in taking over the Constituency league. “The structure is so informal staring from the ward, constituency and the regional level.”
In addition, Olopeng said the athletics, one of the most successful sporting codes in the country was recently introduced in the Constituency League. As government we need to review the Constituency league and that will come from your recommendations.
Meanwhile the biggest controversy caused by the constituency league involved football when FIFA demanded information on how the Presidential initiative was implemented.
Preparations for the next Intervarsity Games scheduled for the University of Botswana (UB) are at an advanced stage. UB is expected to host the University of Swaziland and the University of Lesotho for the popular University games from the 18th until 23rd March.
Speaking during a recent press conference in Gaborone, the Director of Sports and Culture at the University of Botswana Raj Rathedi highlighted the readiness of UB to host the games. “We are more than prepared for the games, we have had enough time to prepare and now we are ready to host a successful Intervarsity games.”
Moreover, Rathedi emphasized the need to grow the games in leaps and bounds. “We have intentions to grow the games and ensure that they are not just known to the UB community only but to the nation at large. The public should expect better branding and advertising of the event to be on another level this year.”
Over the years, the games have unearthed credible young talent including 400m runner Lydia Jele, BNSC Sports Person of the year Sensei Ofentse Bakwadi, Onkemetse Francis, Marline Manthe, hall of fame Francis Mabiletsa and athletics coach Justice Dipeba among others.
In a recent interview, the UB Student Representative Council (SRC) President Oteng Eleck said the games are not only for refining and cultivating the area of sports amongst tertiary students, “these games also gives us a platform to intermingle with our fellow students from other countries where ideas, innovation and cultural exchange can occur.”
Furthermore, Eleck said the games will be used as a window of opportunities for students to utilise the market the institution. “We have set all necessary measures to ensure safety to all those coming to the games and we invite the public to come in numbers and support us.”
“There is a security subcommittee that is in partnership with the local Police to provide safety and security during the games.”
The President of Township Rollers FC Jagdish Shah this week accused Botswana Premier League (BPL) of failing to support local teams hence the poor quality in local football.
Shah was speaking during a press briefing held in Gaborone to give feedback on the BPL’s recent visit to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in South Africa. The BPL leadership and local clubs representatives, including Shah were part of the benchmarking delegation.
From their findings, Shah said he is disappointed with the working relationship between local clubs and BPL, which he described as sour hence the sorry state of the domestic league. “We are like orphans to the BPL and our efforts as teams are not even recognized,” Shah said when addressing stakeholders.
In Shah’s view, the BPL needs to introspect so that the local league can grow; he said they continue to battle with issues like ticketing is “We are suffering and queuing everyday for tickets, a day or two before the game, clubs will be out there looking for the tickets. We do not know who is responsible for administering the tickets either, today is BPL, tomorrow someone has been appointed to handle the process, we continue to struggle,” he said.
Shah said both parties, (clubs and the BPL) need to maintain a good working relationship and deliver what could turnout to be an exciting game of football.
The Rollers president said most BPL teams are facing financial constraint, adding that such teams rely heavily on gate takings.
“However, it does not help that the gate proceeds take forever to reach clubs saying there are games that were played a month ago but to this point, the money has not been given out yet.”
Meanwhile, players are not happy and often abandon games because clubs fail to pay them well in time. Their welfare is also at times compromised with games played without adequate medical resources such as ambulances.
According to Shah, the neighboring PSL has the interest of the player at heart and they have made it a priority that they pay insurance premiums for players and club officials. Shah said the PSL gave both the teams and players motivation to play a good game of football during play offs.
Furthermore, the Rollers president urged the BPL to do more in branding football so they attract investors. Despite any financial assistance from the government, Shah said the PSL is considered to be the very best in Africa and ranked 10th in the world.
For his part, BPL acting Chief Executive Officer Thabo Ntshinogang said they are considering to hand over ticketing operations to their clubs, an issue he said will be discussed at board level.
He said the PSL league is well resourced in all areas, infrastructure, human capital and financially hence the reason why do things better than the local side. Ntshinogang said they will also be looking at the structure of the BPL especially the Executive Committee level, this he said will allow easy communication flow.