It has always been written in the stars that Duncan Kgame would not serve in the administration of football under Tebogo Sebego’s presidency. On Monday this week, he handed in his resignation letter to the president under cloudy circumstances, writes JOE-BROWN TLHASELO.
Those in the know say from the onset, it had actually looked impossible for Kgame to work with the new committee led by Sebego. Not that the two do not see eye to eye on a personal level - just that Sebego and friends would not entirely trust a man who served under the previous leadership.
In fact, as early as before Sebego’s ascendancy to the presidency of the Botswana Football Association (BFA), the penning of the script on the position of Chief Executive Officer was already underway, and it did not make mention of any mortal outside the Sebego cartel – sometimes referred to as Friends of Football.
It was clear to them at the time that even before the day of the BFA elections, they would sweep past David Fani and company for the administrative positions at stake. They knew then, that they would have to find a way of disposing of Kgame as well, whose position is not elective. They needed to have their own man with whom to work.
If anything, it would rather be somebody totally new, recruited exclusively by the new administration. This, for the Friends of Football, was a must. Therefore, in duplicate fashion to what happened with Tosh Kgotlele and Judge Mookodi immediately before him - albeit under different circumstances - Kgame would not see his contract through.
That was a certainty with the new administration coming in. It was only a matter of when. As recently as this past Saturday, BG Sport is aware, talk was aired in some corner of Gaborone among the Friends of Football that a move be quickly made to push out Kgame and work towards replacing him with Tariq Babitseng, who led the campaign for the current administration.
Not many within the Friends of Football circle warmed up to this idea of Babitseng as CEO. Other names in the executive’s wish list of possible replacements allegedly include Thapelo Lippe, Segolame Ramotlhwa and an unnamed European man believed to be from either Scotland or Wales.
Such information, BG Sport learns, is still supposed to be under wraps, and it was not surprising that Sebego expressed ignorance on the matter when asked by this publication. Babitseng too, rubbished the claims, saying he harboured no ambitions to become BFA CEO.
Yet, curiously, both Sebego and Babitseng spoke of the need to have a revamped secretariat that will drive the vision of the new executive. Babitseng serves in the executive by virtue of being the chairperson of the First Division South. “You will recall that I was a campaign manager of Friends of Football, and we promised several things to those who elected us.
Obviously, we would want someone who can drive our ambitions. And I’m not saying our current CEO cannot deliver on our aspirations; I haven’t heard him say he can’t,” Babitseng told BG Sport.Similarly, Sebego underscored the need to have officers at the BFA who will toe the line of the executive.
“That we are eyeing someone to replace Kgame is not true. All we want are the right qualities that fit what we want. As president, I supervise the secretariat. I have to make sure they deliver in accordance with my vision. Anyone who fails to adapt to the vision will have to leave as I have a responsibility to deliver on my promises to the football family,” said Sebego.
Interestingly, Kgame also laughed off suggestions that he had resigned, saying he was still happily serving Botswana football from Lekidi Center - BFA headquarters. He said he was actually shocked to receive inquiries on the matter.
Yet insiders at the BFA are adamant that Kgame had written and handed in a letter of resignation, and that the news of his resignation was deliberately leaked by a member of the current executive out of excitement at the turn of events. “At the moment, they regret their hasty action as they know they had already vowed to push Kgame out.
They have since agreed among themselves as the executive that they will all deny that Kgame has resigned, and he too has been instructed not to confirm the resignation. They also warned other staff members at the secretariat that heads would roll if they don’t do as they are told, and already there is uncertainty at the workplace, with those in bad books of the current committee already fearing for their jobs,” the insider told BG Sport.
Despite all the denials by parties concerned on this matter, BG Sport can safely reveal that Duncan Kgame will not be BFA CEO when the month of October begins, having handed resignation notice of up to the end of September. This he did on the evening of Monday.
There are suggestions that he had already heard of plans to remove him as soon as Fani lost elections, and was already facing difficulties working with the current executive. This, it is speculated, might have forced him to resign before being systematically made to look like a failure as was allegedly done with Fani ahead of the elections.
Also, he is said to have been a frustrated man, having led an organisation hit with bankruptcy and grave divisions. In fact, from the onset, the BFA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had been divided on his appointment.
His dreams, it is revealed, failed because of the bickering among members of the executive. What made things worse for him was his stubborn stance, refusing to take sides with any faction, including those who supported his appointment.
It was this that eventually made him unpopular, aggravated further by his decision at one point to publicly declare the BFA bankrupt, which did not go down well with NEC and some highly-placed authorities dealing with Botswana sport.
“His spell with BFA actually started with a backlog of issues and he inherited a lot of problems which included incomplete projects, unpaid debts, a divided executive, interference, and lack of policies,” another source revealed, adding that most plans that he had could not be implemented due to lack of funding.
The source further believes that unless something drastic happens at the BFA, no CEO will serve with success as the wishes of the executive always prevail.Kgame only joined the organisation in January this year, having signed a contract that would make him CEO for three years.
His greatest motivation when he took up the job of BFA CEO was the prospect of him becoming the first CEO to successfully turn Botswana’s football around – modernising it into an entity that could compete with the best in the world. He believed he could achieve that, despite sceptics questioning his credentials at the time of his appointment.
He had only led at the corporate world where there were no politics the magnitude of those found in football. His only official contact with football had been at the time he was still with Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) when negotiations to sponsor the Premier League through the beMOBILE brand were underway.
When he took over from the then Acting CEO Tlhagiso Sethibe, he vowed to prevail over football politics and see his contract through to the end. It has not happened.