The Botswana Football Association (BFA) this week officially unveiled its newly appointed Technical Director (TD) Serame Letsoaka at Lekidi this past Tuesday. Letsoaka has been signed to a three -year contract and his immediate task is to assist local football to reach new heights.
Unpacking his rather optimistic roadmap, Letsoaka said his main priority will be developing football from the grassroots. He said Botswana couldn’t succeed and produce a good product if more emphasis is at senior team level while youngsters are neglected.
The confident Letsoaka said that Africa is brimming with talent, however proper structures of grooming athletes are not put in place, “Most of our players start training at the age of 14, that kills talent because European players start playing at the age of 6,” he said.
Letsoaka said there are no shortcuts in football and the current system will only choke promising footballers if not revised. The new TD said under his watch, he will ensure that young players are signed by clubs and given game time because the more they sit on the bench, the more their talents will go to waste. A good player, he said, should be at the peak of his or her career at the age of 17 or even 18. “Our senior team is the face of the Association but we cannot rely heavily on old talent because we need quick results. In addition, Letsoaka said there is need for coaching education.
He said it was worrying that Botswana has only three coaches with a CAF A -licence and none holds a professional players' licence. Furthermore, Letsoaka’s aim is to increase the number of local coaches arguing that they cannot produce stars if they do not have coaches who can produce the talent.
The ambitious Letsoaka said his wish is to see Botswana being ranked 25 and above in Africa, top 5 in COSAFA and eventually appearing in the top 50 of FIFA rankings. Additionally he warned coaches to focus more on empowering locals saying one cannot own a team that is mostly dominated by foreigners, “ We need players who can go on to represent the country at international stages and we can proudly say that they are one of us,” he said.
For his part, BFA second vice president Pelotshweu Motlogelwa said with the assistance of Letsoaka they expect to make improvements. He said the new Technical Director boasts vast experience in the field and they have no doubt that he will deliver exceptionally well.
Motlogelwa said the BFA’s vision of nurturing talent from grassroots is expected to be rolled out as planned, “We have to put solid structures in place and we will not compromise the quality of our product by not delivering to the best of our ability. We do not want a situation where things collapse in just two years, we want to leave a mark in the hearts of the football community,” Motlogelwa said. Meanwhile, Letsoaka possesses an illustrious resume that includes being the former South African Football Association (SAFA) in 2009. Commanding vast knowledge in football, Letsoaka was appointed a CAF instructor in 2005, FIFA instructor in 2010 and elite instructor during the same year.