The writing is on the wall at Lekidi Football Centre with a seemingly disgruntled and elated football leadership at odds with one another. Currently the Botswana Football Association (BFA) is seemingly going through a transition following a change of guard at the recent Annual General Assembly (AGA).
The Maclean Letshwiti regime, which recently ousted the Tebogo Sebego axis, seems to be reshaping the local game and only time will tell whether such changes will be for better or for worse. Those close to the Letshwiti faction explain that they will create an enabling environment in the next four years for the industry players to reap from their hard work. The buoyant Letshwiti has already been tested by the delays in the start of the football leagues by the recent boycott of the opening games by referees.
Politics rules the game?
Botswana football has suffered greatly over the years due to ideological differences by the politicians. Nevertheless, at face value the new regime seems to be in one book when it comes to matters of improving the game and restoring its identity. The new BFA regime is in a position to craft a strategic plan that cascades from the manifesto of the ruling faction. The faction is built around popular football politicians Maokaneng Bontshetse, Setete Phuthego and Victor Sebolao who do not sit in the national executive committee. The regime has appointed one of their own Booker Banister to chair the Premier League management committee. The leadership has not yet publicised who their legal advisor is, those close to football argue that the association should just have a full time lawyer than an advisor.
According to Letshwiti, the two leaders encouraged him to unite the warring factions and build the image of football anew. Football had lost confidence of the business community and strained relations with government as well. Nevertheless, the Letshwiti regime is yet to speak to the constituency league, which is partly to blame for sour relations.
Creating 5000+ jobs
During his campaign for the presidency, Letshwiti polarised opinion within football circles when he boldly announced that his regime would create 5000 jobs during the four years of his tenure. Nevertheless, the BFA president did not shed light on how the jobs are going to come about. Those on his side claimed that football spinoffs will bring in thousands of pula to SMMEs across the country, thus creating employment for ordinary citizens. It is not clear how the regions will help create conducive environment for the hawkers or small medium enterprises, as they are known in the business world. Moreover, Letshwiti spoke more about development during his campaign, though he never spoke about the subject of commercialisation or privatisation of the game.
BFA and BPL CEOs fate in question
The two Chief Executive Officers at the BFA and the Botswana Premier League are likely to be fired if the political and ideological opinions expressed by those close to the regime are anything to go by. The two are already serving suspension each pending disciplinary hearing. The matter relating to firing and hiring football administrators is a foregone conclusion. Some football politicians close to the Letshwiti group claim the two positions are sensitive therefore there is need for political appointments. The Kemoeng, Mamelodi detractors believe the two have shown greater allegiance to the ousted Sebego regime.
BFA NEC this week resolved to suspend its CEO Kitso Kemoeng with immediate effect while BFA administrator Susan Lawrence will occupy the hot seat on an acting basis. According to BFA press release, the CEO will have his day to respond to issues raised by NEC. Nevertheless, a press release announcing Kemoeng’s suspension did not state which issues were raised by the BFA executive committee. In recent months local media speculated that some individuals close to the regime want the top two positions. Letshwiti admin was elected to office at the 2016 BFA assembly in August.The BPL CEO Mamelodi has been placed on suspension, it looks very clear that the man will not find his way back to his office in the near future.
Those close to football decision-making group said the CEO’s allegiance is questionable while those who want him in office say the league has grown tremendously under his watchful eye. The BPL CEO already has a pending case at the industrial court in which he wants the court to interdict his employers from conducting disciplinary action against him.
The position of national team head coach is one of the few positions which determine the future of football politicians. The Zebras coach Peter James Butler seems to be a darling of the state leadership, despite his enraged social media posts about his superiors, colleagues and the footballing communities. The previous BFA leadership brought in Butler after parting ways with the most successful coach, Stanley Tshosane, in the history of this republic. The nomadic Butler has allegedly found favour among the top brass, which makes it difficult for the current leadership to fire him. The Letshwiti regime is rather expected to put measures in place to control the coach who has become synonymous with his outbursts and social media posts.
Block Technical Directors
During his presidential campaigns, Letshwiti promised football leaders that his leadership would employ technically knowledgeable people to assist in crafting and planning development structures. The four regional directors have been identified already; the financially strained association is still sourcing funds to run the offices, which will be based at the blocks. The local sporting authority Botswana National Sports Commission will host a few or all block directors, until the association finds its own space.
The women football and girl child are among FIFA priority areas as far as development of the sport is concerned. The newly-elected women representative Suzie Montsho, is reported to be relocating to an Asian country known by this publication. Montsho, who was in the Sebego campaign team defeated Theresa Hitchfield and Tapiwa Gaebolae, is likely to be co-opted to replace Montsho anytime soon. The local ladies’ league has been without a sponsor for a number of years after parting ways with transport mogul AT & T Monnakgotla.