Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Mclean Letshwiti this week refuted allegations that he snubbed the well-publicised COSAFA and ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa’s high profile birthday party.
The party recently held in Harare, Zimbabwe made international headlines as FIFA president Gianni Infantino attended it. The FIFA president visited the region at a time when COSAFA is mobilising to take over the leadership of CAF from long-time president Issa Hayatou of Cameroon.
This week Letshwiti said he had planned to attend the party on 24th February as there was a meeting planned. Instead the party was held on 25th February. “I was supposed to get into a 7pm flight to Harare, for one reason or the other the FIFA president had a change of schedule so the date had to be quickly changed” Letshwiti said.
“Football does not pay my bills. I had two crucial business meetings here in the morning and in the afternoon. The intention was that immediately after those meetings I am booked on a flight to Harare.” Letshwiti said it was difficult to rearrange his schedule after the FIFA president made other arrangements. “Infantino is not just an ordinary individual, there is budget, security and logistics to consider before his travel. Nevertheless, the COSAFA President did not travel to Gabon but I managed to do so and I personally addressed presidents of all COSAFA FAs while I was there,” said the self-styled football administrator.
In other matters, Letshwiti said former BFA president David Fani who served as COSAFA additional member was recently voted out during the last elections. “COSAFA has recently resolved to vote only presidents of associations into the executive committee. It was not that we were against him. It was a collective decision taken by presidents of COSAFA member associations.”
Moreover, Letshwiti endorsed Madagascan FA president Ahmed for CAF president, since the regional block has stated its position to challenge for the presidency in the eagerly anticipated CAF elections later this year. The BFA president said his role in the new regional bloc is that of strategist, which includes being a uniting force for COSAFA.“I am the driving force, the strategist, I keep the group together”, said BFA President.
Nevertheless, the shrewd businessman conceded that COSAFA leaders were disappointed after he could not make it to Harare. However, Letshwiti revealed that Infantino has invited him to Zurich and he is yet to fulfil this request. “I still owe him a visit.” The BFA president said he has not yet proposed a date to visit Zurich because he is busy. “Go and write what I said not what you think,” a rhetorical Letshwiti said in his trademark parting shot