Tuesday, 08 May 2018 09:19

CAF inspects local facilities

FOOTBALL

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Botswana Football Association (BFA) Mfolo Mfolo this week expressed confidence that the national stadium will be ready for Township Rollers’ first game of the 2018 CAF Champions League group stages today (Friday).  Rollers locks horns with Kampala Capital City Authority(KCCA) of Uganda.

This follows CAF’s recent inspection of the national stadium. The BFA was requested to ensure that specific demands made by CAF after the inspection should be attended to as soon as possible. The inspection was meant to ensure that the stadium is suitable to host the CAF matches and remain on the list of approved venues for the games.

According to a CAF report received by BFA dated 21st April 2018, the national stadium should among others have team benches consisting of 14 seats each, as chairs are not allowed in the pitch and one covered bench for officials. 

CAF  demands that sanitary facilities for spectators must be clean and hygienic,  the media photographers’ area should be well equipped. In addition, the media tribune should not be in the VIP area and separation must be provided for both sections. Moreover, CAF demands that spectators living with disabilities should not be seated around the playing area. The continental governing body requires that a dedicated area must be created for people living with disabilities in the stands.

Quizzed on whether, the BFA has managed to satisfy the demands of CAF, a confident Mfolo said they are ready to host the mouthwatering encounter. “By Friday morning we will have availed everything that is needed by CAF and I believe that during their next inspection they will approve,” he said. In the report, CAF noted that the national stadium will be monitored during Rollers' game against KCCA game.

Regarding arrangements on the media centre, Mfolo noted that they have a new arrangement for the media, that will ensure that they are not seated next to the VIP section. Meanwhile Rollers spokesperson Bafana Pheto said they are ready to face Uganda tonight and anything is possible. Kickoff is 1900hrs.  

Published in Sports
Friday, 15 September 2017 16:21

Malesu enters BNOC election race

The outgoing Botswana Football Association (BFA) Ookeditse Malesu believes he stands a good chance of winning the top seat during the upcoming Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) elections.

 Malesu resigned from the BFA after serving as the Chief Executive Officer for about six months. He also served as Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) president and at one point volunteered his services to the Botswana Swimming Sports Association (BSSA) as vice president. In an exclusive   interview the multifaceted sport administrator Malesu rubbished recent talk that he is not fit to lead the BNOC.  “I do not work to please anyone, People must know that you do not have to love someone in order to work together,” said the straight shooting Malesu. 

The   former military man said during his tenure as president of BOKA he won a bid to host the continental competition with just six months in office. The supremely confident Malesu is not shy to boast of his experiences and achievements in sports leadership. “I am the only candidate who served three different codes as president, vice president and secretary general.” Some four years ago Malesu lost the BNOC presidency when he ran as an underdog against the incumbent Negroes Kgosietsile. “I moved on with life but affiliates then asked me to stand for senior vice president, 2 days later another group of codes proposed that I stand for the top position.”

Quizzed on the status of   his relationship with the three codes he worked with Malesu said,  “Football nominated me, Karate seconded and swimming also played its role. The reverse part of the equation applied to all the three code since there were six forms to be filled”. Malesu believes that manifesto do not win elections though he was quick to admit he will soon reveal his campaign message. 

When I was BOKA president about 14 years ago  I competed in a bid to host a continental tournament. The former BNSC board member alleged that after the competition he was co-opted to serve Confederation African Karate as 3rd Vice president. Malesu said he does not believe in lobby lists because they sometimes force the group to fail on their mandate as they cover up for their unproductive members. Malesu is expected to run against Botsang Tshenyego, France Mabiletsa, Tebogo Lebotse Sebego and Daniel Molaodi

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 12:22

Eleven BPL teams fail to comply

Only five BTC premiership clubs have complied with the First Instance Body (FIB), a committee   appointed   by the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to facilitate the strict club licensing initiative.  

This means 11 premier league clubs have not complied with club licensing requirements ahead of the 2017/18 premier league season. Addressing members of the press and stakeholders in Gaborone this week, FIB chairman Mfolo Mfolo said they have since given   non complying BPL clubs a waver to compete in the 2017/18 BTC premiership league under conditions that they comply by 31st October. 

However, Mfolo said teams that have not complied   by   the deadline would be barred from competing in the   league for the rest of the season if they do not come to the party. FIB has been in a rigorous exercise of educating, receiving applications, advising, finally adjudicating and licensing.

Fresh   information reaching BG Sport is that the FIB was pressured to accommodate those clubs under certain   conditions. The BPL season failed to start in August, which is set on the constitution due to failure to pay match officials their dues from the previous season.  The 2017/ 18 season is also going to start late due to prolonged sponsorship negotiations and club licensing exercise. “The late start of the season has nothing to do with us,” Mfolo said when addressing a press conference this week.

The global football authority, Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) issued a circular no. 1128 in 2007 called FIFA club licensing regulations. The resolution was passed at the May 2007 congress with a clear and simple mission to coordinate and implement licensing universally among members. The local football governing authority is among FIFA members, which failed to embark on the licensing system since 2013. 

The club-licensing manual has been introduced by BFA as a plan to comply with the FIFA circular no. 1128. BG Sport revealed that a number of clubs had been going through a rough patch financially, which made it difficult for clubs to have audited financials. FIB has also put recommendations for provisional license holders to pay for audits as a collective, to make it cheaper. 

Mfolo announced that only Security Systems, Police XI, Orapa United, Galaxy and Township Rollers were awarded outright full license. FIB chairman praised the league champions for even going an extra mile to submit financial budget for 2017/18 season. FIB will be in office for the next 2 seasons. 

Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Sharps  Sports person of the year nomination list. The award has been eluding Makwala over the past few years due to inconsistencies.  The key interest at the awards usually is the sports person of the year who happens to be the overall winner. The sports person is usually contested by the sports man and the sports woman of the year. Junior Female Sports Person of the year usually attracts athletes from the Botswana Chess Federation, Botswana Tennis Association and athletics. BCF hosts more youth competitions than most other codes. Besa Masaiti is not a surprise in this category though she did not win anything internationally even though she improved her FIDE ranking.  

Tennis protégé Tshegofatso Tsiang who is based at a high performance centre in South Africa is another candidate even though her achievements at the international stage are a bit vague. Another dark horse in the junior   women’s category is Galefele Moroko who rose to prominence as one of the few promising athletes at BISA competitions a few years ago. However, the young athlete has also not won any major competition. 

The junior male sports person of the year is the only category contested by athletes who competed at the Olympics.  Gavin Mogopa is the first Judoka to represent Botswana at the Olympics last year in Rio even though he made it as far as preliminary stages. Karate happens to be one of the most consistent sport codes and thus far and Thabang Setshego comes as no surprise. 

Setshego will be a favourite to walk away with the award. Another likely winner is Karabo Sibanda who managed to beat teammate Baboloki Thebe for the nomination. Sibanda’s   record at junior and senior level is impressive after finishing 5th in 400m at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Sibanda was ranked 2nd fastest Junior 400m in the world in 2016. The sport code of the year is one of the toughest competitions with Botswana Cricket Association (BCA), Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA). BCA has one of the best strategies in the land. BCF is one of the few codes to have retained sponsors over the years while the BAA remains one of the high performing codes in the field of play even though administratively it leaves a lot to be desired. The coach of the year category nominees is Peter Molefhe (Karate), Mogomotsi Otsetswe (Athletics) and Thebe Setlalekgosi (Boxing). The umpire/referee of the year nominees are Edgar Serole (volleyball).  Joshua Bondo continues to fly the flag on behalf of the poor performing football team.  Gaone Poane of tennis is also nominated. The contest is possibly between Serole and Bondo.   The group code of the year pits BOTESSA against BOPSSA. The awards organiser included the category for athletes living with disability since last year. Kedumetse John - Special Olympics and Goitseone Ramontshonyane - Special Olympics contest for this category. 

The male sport person with disability Keatlaretse Mabote of PASSOBO and Brightfield Shadi from Special Olympics hooting Stars, Miscellaneous, and Black Forest are the only clubs to be awarded provisional license with grade B. Mfolo explained that the provisional license was for those clubs that met the requirements, though they had some outstanding issues which are key to licensing, for example failure to get a medical doctor. Extension Gunners, Uniao Flamingo Santos, GU, Sankoyo Bush Bucks, BDF XI, Gilport and Tafic managed to pass the test but they were also awarded provisional license.    

BG Sport recently revealed that a number of clubs have released players who were owed money to look for employment elsewhere as  a smart way of cancelling outstanding salaries. Most BPL clubs claim to be relying solely on gate takings and TV rights to manage the day to day running of business. According to the licensing manual all BPL members that have outstanding debts should have a payment plan before they can be licensed. Mfolo warned that tax evasion is fraud therefore clubs should take responsibility and liaise with Botswana Unified Revenue Service. 

Article 3.3.3 of the club licensing manual states that, “only clubs which fulfil the criteria set out in this manual, at the deadline defined by the BFA, maybe granted a license to enter the domestic club competitions of the coming season”.  The newly introduced monitoring and evaluation instrument may force the league to commence with fewer clubs if any member fails to comply. 

BPL recently announced the postponement of the new football season to allow members to comply with licensing regulations. FIB chairman Mfolo Mfolo recently praised the Uniao Flamingo Santos development model. BG Sport is informed that Santos scored the highest in sporting category. 

The licensing has been introduced to the local football authority by CAF as a ploy to curb amateurism in African elite leagues. CAF sent its consultants Honor Janza and Sunzo Nyirenda to come and assist the local association to set structures for licensing. The local association failed to cascade the FIFA vision to make it realistic and achievable. 

Club licensing objectives include ensuring that clubs have adequate levels of management and organisation. To improve the economic and financial capability of clubs increased transparency and credibility. 

The licensing manual prescribes that clubs should have agreed deals with their secretariat, medical doctors, general manager, finance manager, sporting arena and infrastructure.

The club licensing rules guide that all players are subject to medical tests before they could sign contracts with clubs. The local transfer window closed on the 25/ 09/17 and the league is expected to start on the 09/09/17. The new challenge in signing foreign players is issuance of work permit by the ministry of nationality, immigration and gender affairs.

The Ministry of Sports has set new standards for awarding permits to foreigners. BG Sport is reliably informed that BFA is yet to make a case to guide the ministry on requirements of work permit for footballers.  The 2017/18 BTC premiership was expected to kick start on the 9th August. 

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 15:27

The Football revolution

• BFA President Letshwiti means business

• P10m for regional development

• BFA to generate P6m by 2020

Worldwide, football is not only a unifying factor, but also a money spinning and profitable venture.

Certainly this is not the current case in Botswana. Although there is an improvement, a microscopic interrogation of strategic pointers indicates that the sport is behind in many respects.

Currently the sport is characterised by poor performances at club and national team levels, heavy debts, qualified accounts, secretariat that lacks vision and drive, conflict of interest amongst some of the national executive members and lack of funds, and resignation of Chief Executive Officers before their term ends. Surely, these and many others serve as a deterrent to local football attracting qualified personnel to occupy strategic positions. 

However, like they say with proper planning and strategy, one can overcome any challenge. But, those times seem to be over at Lekidi- the Botswana Football Association headquarters. Having realised that all stakeholders and office bearers have failed football in their first year of office, BFA president and reputable businessman Mclean Letshwiti has taken total control like a captain of a sinking ship. 

The latter depicts himself not as a ceremonial head, but a no-nonsense leader out to sweep clean and bring results as well as turnaround the sport of football as evidenced by his NEC’s strategic plan that envisages to generate an additional P6 million in revenue for Botswana Football Association by 2020. 

Having realised that his committee has not  achieved much despite having a strategic plan in place, Letshwiti bit the bullet and decided that the BFA should not invite a guest speaker at the immediate past congress because in his view, there was nothing that football could share with an outsider.

At the congress, he diverted from the tradition of giving a speech, but rather gave a concise report in the form of a lecture, challenging all and sundry to pull up their socks and serve football or else ship out.

Further, in a move that stands to make BFA creditworthy, Letshwiti took a bold step and called off the presentation of the BFA accounts to congress, citing non-compliance of the accounts with both BFA and FIFA constitutions. In years past, accounts have never complied with FIFA Manuals, but were ratified by the congress so that there is ‘progress.’ 

This time, new auditors have been engaged to normalise the situation; they are currently auditing all the organs of the BFA including the Botswana Premier League (BPL). Hopefully this will help BFA to receive FIFA funding. The latter insists on receiving audited accounts before they can release the next funding which usually is done in batches. 

Reliable sources told this publication that the employment of CEO Ookeditse Malesu who left office yesterday (Thursday August 31st) has been identified as the source of the friction between BFA NEC members.

BG News has it in good authority that although he was interviewed Malesu was rated second best by the interviewing panel. The successful candidate was Mokgethi Magapa, but the financially struggling BFA could not match his package.

Malesu unfortunately became a victim of circumstances owing to lack of support from his supervisors. Of the top three members of the executive, only Letshwiti preferred Malesu to take over as CEO considering the time lost during the absence of a CEO, whilst others wanted the post to be re-advertised. 

It is said friction between some of the top BFA executives started during the campaign for NEC positions. The rift between some NEC members and Malesu widened because the latter is not a pushover. He resisted orders and, or challenged instructions that appeared to benefit individuals instead of the game of football.

This led to the inexperienced, but equally effective Malesu finding himself in the deep end such that when he erred, there was no one to correct him. This led to the present committee failing to fully implement its strategy in the first year.

Although he did not mention anything about the existing friction within the NEC, Letshwiti told delegates that it is time for all to work together for football progress and that anybody who opposes football progress must quit.

 

Road to success

Letshwiti told delegates that BFA business is left behind and it is time to fully implement the Strategy which is based on his campaign for the president. In order to show they mean business, the BFA has decided to put more emphasis on development and as a start this time around 80 percent of the BFA budget for the current financial year will go to the regions.

He said his association has already secured a P3million sponsorship from DC Tours. Each regional structure will be given P50, 000 as mobilisation fee for their administration duties.

He further pledged P10 million for grassroots development at regional level which comes from FIFA funding so that football can be developed from the grassroots for both boys and girls in order to make strong national teams for the future.

 

Cancellation of women leagues

Although there are many women’s teams in the country, women have not been given the attention they deserve, and this leads to their poor performance at international level. The women league has been played on bad grounds, at times without match officials. At national level, the women team always loses to opponents by high margins.

Based on this, Letshwiti’s administration took an unpopular decision not to sponsor the women’s league and instead channel the money to grassroots development starting from primary schools in order to increase the number of women participating in football as well as form a string base for future national teams. The next move will be to have women’s league played at regional level between now and 2019, then establish leagues in partnership with other stakeholders such as BOPSSA and BISA.  

Just like it is done with the men, the BFA will also establish regional first division women’s leagues between 2018 and 2019 and later establish women’s premier league in 2019-20.

 

The strategy

The BFA 2017-2020 Strategy that stands to improve all levels of football was developed by members of the BFA National executive committee (NEC). It was developed through a consultative process which included Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Secretariat, Regional Football Associations, National Leagues, standing committees and all key stakeholders. 

It also incorporates inputs from relevant legislation, policy framework and related documents, such as the BFA constitution, Sports, and Recreation Policy, National Excellence Strategy, Ministry of Empowerment, Youth Sports and Culture strategic plan.

The strategy is aligned to the Botswana National Sports Commission 2013-2028 circle spinning from 2017 to2020.

Amongst key factors were to determine the strategy direction, describe, translate, align management to the strategy and manage performance. There were expectations and concerns raised during the development of the strategy. 

Amongst the expectations were that the strategy will develop football in Botswana in all its various structures and facets, and that there will be a change in the participants mindset. School football will also be included in the BFA Strategy.

The BFA balanced scorecard as of the end of 2016 paints a gloomy and  demoralising picture, while millions of pula have been spent in camping, meals and travel. Also there has not been any good results coming from all nation teams and local clubs that registered to compete in continental competitions.

The BFA score board for the strategy 2013-2016 indicates that its strategic objective was to improve athlete performance, with the strategic goal being to increase performance rating at zonal, continental and world levels.

Key indicators being Olympics games ranking, COSAFA Under 20 men and women, COSAFA senior men and women, CAF Championships, premier league clubs participating, CAF Under 17 boys and girls, U20 boys and girls, AFCON competition. But the results show dismal failure as in almost all the cases our teams exited the competition during the preliminary stage despite the set targets of getting gold or reaching group stages. 

The only better performance was reaching the finals of the COSAFA tournament and winning silver by the senior national team. The best performance was registered with Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone 6 where Botswana got a ranking of an improved athlete performance.

Equally disturbing is that BFA failed to achieve its set objective of increased high profile event hosting, sanctioned zonal, continental and world events. BFA failed to increase the number of women participating in sports as evidenced by the key point indicator where the league was regional in Southern parts with two teams dominating. The BFA also failed to come up with national league. 

The BFA failed to increase participation of people living with disabilities playing football. Although PASSPBO proposed a friendly match with Zebras U20, the proposal was shot down because there was no team in camp.

Besides the teething problems experienced, the present administration seems focused and ready to accomplish its mission. Under the  learning and growth perspective, their aim is to train 20 grassroots coaches per region, train 60 grassroots referees per region, establish specialist coaches at grassroots level, establish 20 youth coaches, conduct administrative staff  training, establish youth policy, establish Under 19 reserve league by the end of 2017.  

The NEC also intends to consolidate all grassroots development programmes into one. Under the stewardship indicator, the BFA will register an investment arm as well as strengthen governance structures for managing relationships with sponsors.

Letshwiti looks set to achieve the BFA mission statement and provide a well-resourced and effective football delivery system that will improve the football industry and contribute to the economy of Botswana. But, good as it sounds on paper, it begs the question, how will the absence of a CEO affect the implementation of the strategy?

Published in News
Monday, 28 August 2017 09:18

BFA rushes women's team to COSAFA

Women   football   continues to haunt   Botswana Football Association (BFA). Following the withdrawal from the FIFA under 20 qualifiers against   Kenya, the BFA    faces  yet another challenge   of competing in the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) women senior tournament scheduled for   Bulawayo, Zimbabwe from 13-24 September 2017. 

After the disappointing   withdrawal, BFA cannot afford to let down the COSAFA    tournament   organisers.  The COSAFA    tournament   has since attracted about 12 regional teams ready to compete. However the BFA has not yet called the national team for camp, raising   doubts and suspicion of whether the long-suffering senior   women’s   team will   compete. The national team coach Nkutlwisang Gaoletlhoo, popularly known as Ronaldo is expected to lead the ladies team to Bulawayo. BG sport is informed that BFA executive meeting sat this past Monday and the ladies team was on the agenda. 

Women football structures have been inactive for some time due to lack   of   funding. BFA failed to send the U20 ladies team to Kenya for a return match after receiving a 7-0 thrashing by their Kenyan peers at Lobatse sports complex recently. The cash   strapped association was quick to cite lack of funding   for    the embarrassing withdrawal. The COSAFA tournament included the local ladies team even though the association is yet to decide on their participation.

When commenting on the matter   this week BFA spokeperson Tumo Mpatane said women’s football has over the years experienced growth in terms of players’ participation and   attracting supporters. The number has improved from eight teams in the 2011 edition, which was also staged in Zimbabwe. Mpatane said FIFA recently doubled its funding for women’s football-specific programmes for the years 2015-2018. 

The COSAFA nations that have entered the championship are Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and hosts Zimbabwe. The 11 COSAFA members will be joined by Kenya as a guest nation. COSAFA Women’s Championship inaugural was held in Zimbabwe in 2002 and was won by South Africa after beating their hosts 2-1 in the final. 

Banyana Banyana repeated their feat 4 years later in Zambia, when they beat Namibia 3-1 at the finals. SA won it for the third successive time in 2008 in Malange, Angola, beating Zimbabwe in the finals. Zimbabwe managed to win 1-0 against Banyana in 2011, making the host nation the defending champions. The sides will be using this tournament to qualify for the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations, to be staged in Ghana from next November. The tournament will also be used as qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. Meanwhile, the COSAFA   draw made this week in Johannesburg, SA saw Botswana ending   up in Group C alongside Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 10:14

BFA AGA this weekend

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual General Assembly this Saturday at Tlotlo Conference Center. The AGA is expected to address numerous issues   that   have affected Lekidi since   incumbent president came into office. Letshwiti’s administration was never short of controversy including questionable staff appointments, factional wars and the demise of women’s football.

In a recent interview with BFA mouthpiece, Tumo Mpatane said the Regional affiliates are expected to address their progress and challenges to the mother body during the AGA. “We are expecting the regional affiliates to express their challenges to the association at the assembly which will give the association a chance to appreciate these circumstances and come up with solutions.”

Mpatane said one key area they need to address is the issue of sponsorships. “These are the key areas of discussions amongst other things, we have been in contact with several companies with the capability to inject money into football and results will soon show,” Mpatane said.

However, since the arrival of Letshwiti at the BFA, results have been mixed. The Women’s league has been inactive for more than six months and this should be the hottest potato for Letshwiti’s administration.

The women’s football was a big part of Letshwiti’s rhetoric during his campaign for presidency. However, the BFA boss is yet to walk the talk in this regard. The women’s league is currently in dismay and the BFA   is at wits end on the matter having recently recalled the women’s   team from   international competitions. On the other hand the Zebras have been putting a below par performance and this will be a certain area that requires attention, the team recently bowed out of the COSAFA Castle Cup and the African Nations Championships (CHAN) prematurely.Local football supporters have been agitated by lack of positive results from the national team.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 15:45

Stand off...Zebras confront BFA

The cash strapped Botswana Football Association (BFA) has been caught with its pants down once again as Zebras players are threatening to boycott their Saturday fixture against Zambia in the 2017 COSAFA Castle cup. The game is scheduled for Moruleng, South Africa.Information coming out of Lekidi is that the nagging issue of late player allowances is rearing   its   big, ugly head again.

Investigations by BG Sport this week revealed that Zebras players   recently called to camp are challenging the association over persistent money issues. The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and culture development is responsible for national team allowances.

However, BG Sport is reliably informed that long-suffering national team players are still owed allowances for their recent match against Mauritania at the Francistown sport complex.  The Zebras lost 1-0 to the visiting western African side.  

This week BG sport sources said bemused national team players were quick to administer a tight chokehold on the unsuspecting BFA over pending allowances before the short cross border trip to Moruleng.

According to sources close to the matter, BFA Chief Executive Officer Ookeditse Malesu together with care taker coach Oris Radipotsane have been running helter skelter to resolve the rather dicey situation before the game. If Zebras miss their fixture against Zambia on Saturday, the    humiliation and consequences may prove dire for the limping BFA.

Meanwhile BG Sport has it in good authority that   the Zebras   allowance is part of an even larger   problem at Lekidi. Sources went as far as alleging that staff members from both the BFA 

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 15:36

Butler’s chequered legacy

It is now official. The Zebras head coach Peter James Butler has parted ways with the Botswana Football Association (BFA). Speculation has been rife this week that South African Premier League side Platinum Stars will announce Butler as their new head coach at any point from now. 

The BFA confirmed via a press statement this week, that they have parted ways with the coach following a consultative meeting. “Peter joined the Association in 2014 and has served this country to the best of his abilities in the capacity of head coach of the Zebras. 

“We are grateful to Peter for his service and time, we wish him well in future endeavours,” the BFA press statement reads. “Oris Boyo Radipotsane will step up from his role as assistant coach to head coach in the interim. He will lead the Zebras to the COSAFA senior challenge scheduled from June 25 to July 9th.”

During his tenure at the helm of Zebras for the past three years, the British coach and former West Ham United player has not achieved much. In essence many local football pundits would agree that Butler is more suited to development than managing a senior national team. Despite failing to qualify for any top tier competitions including Africa Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup, Butler has proved to be an outstanding talent scout. 

Bold, brash and confrontational, the Englishman has also proved to be a hard worker having scoured the length and breadth of the country searching for new talent in his sponsored VW Amarok.  Perhaps his relentless emphasis on unearthing new talent and developing future national team players was Butler’s downfall as Zebras coach. 

The local football community - both knowledgeable and casual - watched Butler with a close eye. His national team selection had become stuff of legends as supporters waited with bated breath to see which fresh face Butler would introduce next to the Zebras’ fold. However, Butler’s shrewd and rather risky experiments never paid dividends and made him a polarising figure among supporters. 

The Zebras last game, an Afcon 2019 qualifier against Mauritania, might have been a watershed moment between Butler, the BFA and supporters after his 1-0 loss at Francistown Sports Complex. After the loss Butler’s experimental antics of mixing the new and old weighed too heavy on depressed Zebras   supporters who are thirsty for a win even if it means applying quick fixes. 

With Butler having abandoned the cash-strapped BFA, options for a replacement are limited. There is however, assistant coach Boyo ‘Oris’ Radipotsane, former coach Stanley Tshosane and potential dark horse Daniel  ‘Chico’ Nare.  Jwaneng Galaxy’s Mike ‘Dubula’ Sithole and Orapa United’s Madinda Ndlovu can also be thrown into the mix. After taking over from Tshosane the Englishman has constituted an ever-changing squad failing to maintain a consistent first team.

When he arrived at Zebras Butler introduced his famous 3-5-2 formations Moreetsi Mosimanyana, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Thato Kebue, Tebogo Sosome, Thabang Mosige, Lesenya Ramoroka, Otlantshekela Mooketsi, Obonye Moswate and Boitumelo Mafoko have all been in the mix at the back. This meant that Butler could not produce a consistent and formidable defensive structure.

However in a system where the midfield is swamped and a three-man defence is set up, there is obviously no room for error from any of the three defenders. This meant three resilient defenders to understand each other and culminating in a neat and rather clean game. However Butler’s tactics often failed to uphold an unswerving backline as he resorted to rotating defenders with each game.

Moreover the calculating tactician has botched his tactics in the middle of the park. Likewise, consistency is no closer to Butler not with results only but also with selecting his starting lineup. Bonolo Phuduhudu and Thato Ogopotse once played Butler’s right-hand harvests in the midfield.

Nonetheless the Englishman rotated his axis once more, delegating the midfield role to the safeguarding duo of Ofentse Nato and Lebogang Ditsele, something which the fans enormously criticised citing that both Nato and Ditsele are exceedingly identical with their play and shouldn’t be fielded together.

As if this was not enough, Butler also handpicked Lesego Galenamotlhale and Arnold Mampori to engage in a midfield skirmish frequently. This sporadic midfield has contributed nothing, it has rather prompted attacking confusion in the past three years, something which the coach can’t pinpoint to this date.  

At Zebras, Butler never possessed a perilous war chest, with his attacking force having scored more than three goals back in 2015 against a toothless Eritrea side at the famous Francistown Sports Complex.

Although he always relies on Mogakolodi Ngele, Segolame Boy, Onkabetse Makgantai, Omatla Kebatho and Joel Mogorosi to lead his front line, he is yet to discover the right candidate to play the leading role of a target man in his three years and six months stay with the team.

With that being said, Butler has been a good scout during his tenure, discovering prolific defenders like Lesenya Ramoroka, Thato Kebue, and Keolopile Molemi. He also discovered elegant midfielders like Arnold Mampori, Joseph Joseph and Lethogonolo Senwelo accommodating them into the national team set up.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 15:06

BFA power struggle begins

Bickering within the Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC) looks like the beginning of what is shaping up to be a protracted internal wrangling. 

That is until someone in the NEC warring parties quickly taps out of the political chokehold. As things stand within the BFA NEC, brutal Machiavellian tactics including systematic sabotage are expected to be the order of the day. This week BFA Insiders said the seeds of discord between president Maclean Letshwiti and two influential members of the BFA NEC were being sown even before they (current regime) toppled the former regime at last year’s watershed BFA General Assembly. 

According to impeccable sources close to the matter, the recent appointment of BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ookeditse Malesu was a calculated move by Letshwiti to use his recruit as a bulwark against any attempt by NEC members to eject him from the plum post. “Letshwiti needed someone who could directly deal with defiant NEC members who are seeking to control both him and the BFA,” said a source, adding that some NEC members were hoping to serve as puppet masters to the president but this has since backfired.

Moreover, the BFA source said like Kitso Kemoeng before him, Malesu will be tasked with dealing with power hungry NEC members and provide some sort of protection to the BFA president. However, well known BFA king makers who allegedly helped to orchestrate Letshwiti’s quick rise to power, will stop at nothing to see their own creation deposed from Lekidi.

“The idea was to dispose of Sebego and bring in their own candidate being Letshwiti.  However, things have since played out differently as Letshwiti has his own ideas on where he wants to see the association go.” The source explained that Letshwiti should anticipate stressful NEC meetings where he is likely to ward off ‘motions of no confidence’ at every corner. “The problem with the BFA is that politicians meddle in the secretariat, to the extent that they event sign cheques and approve trips around the country.”
The source with close ties to the BFA argued that the association’s secretariat should have been running autonomously without NEC members meddling in its operational matters.

“This is why the former CEO had to leave because he stood up to some of these irregularities. This is what FIFA is advocating as now its own secretariat is fully autonomous from the council.” The source said the high-ranking NEC members will ensure that Letshwiti fails by sabotaging him at every opportunity. “This will be their common goal unfortunately. Their ultimate goal should be football but this will not be the case. In this situation, there will be no new ideas generated on how to improve football as most of them lack business background”

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 14 March 2017 15:54

BFA says TD post heavy for Batswana

The Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s search for a new Technical Director (TD) is at an advanced stage, with the local body weighing more options from FIFA and IOC concerning salary payments.

The position fell vacant when the association did not renew the outgoing TD’s contract which elapsed in February. The association has recently interviewed potential candidates from the local market. The new development fuels speculation that national team headcoach Peter Butler wanted people he can control at Lekidi Centre. Butler won battles against his countryman Keith Masters, outgoing TD Benny Kgomela and former technical officer Philemon Makhwengwe. 

However, BFA   president Maclean Letshwiti this week confirmed that they have found their man already. “Everything is in place it’s just a question of signing,” said Letshwiti. BFA president indicated that the development project they are embarking on is too heavy for local candidates. “There is nobody with enough experience to undertake the project. It’s never been done in Botswana or in Africa,” Letshwiti said. The BFA intends to utilise the FIFA forward programme to get the expert, which means the local association will not be paying salaries and other related expenses for the preferred candidate. 

In addition, the BFA president said   the difference between him and his predecessor Tebogo Sebego is that they will bring an expert with a Motswana as his /her understudy. Nevertheless, Letshwiti could not be drawn into discussing the identity of the technical expert. Moreover, Letshwiti took time to praise the newly appointed regional TDs who started at their new jobs about two months ago. Meanwhile, Letshwiti agrees with his predecessor that Botswana is not ready to host African football showpiece. “We have to start somewhere, we have to host U20 and women competitions then take it from there.”

In other matters, Letshwiti took a swipe at the embattled BPL CEO Bennett Mamelodi. “He didn’t have to go to court to seek those documents, they were available, and they have been available all this time, all he had to do was just to ask,” Letshwiti said adding that Mamelodi was engaged in delaying tactics. “We are professionals, we know the law, and everybody is entitled to a fair hearing, it’s absolute nonsense. It is unfair to the association.” The BFA president conceded that the association failed to relieve Mamelodi of his duties in a proper manner. “It is going to end very soon because I am doing it right,” stated the BFA president.

Mamelodi has about eight months left to his contract with BPL, the court has however instructed BPL CEO to face disciplinary proceedings conducted by the employer. Letshwiti dismissed allegations that his regime side-lined the Debswana-sponsored leagues because they formed part of Sebego’s campaign team. “I have the best relationship with everybody who serves  me”, said BFA president. Though Letshwiti admitted that he does not know football, he however claimed that he brought corporate governance to the association. “Well I won BFA elections but I do not know anything about football. I just said I am going to bring change. I inherited an inefficient way of doing things and I am doing it the right way”, boasted Letshwiti.    

The local football governing body is however reported to have agreed to play friendly matches with three different associations during the coming FIFA calendar breaks. BFA president confirmed that he has agreed with other CAF member associations to play the Zebras. Letshwiti has conceded that the broke association is engaging government regarding funding of the proposed matches. BFA president said he has agreed in principle with three association leaders to play friendly matches with the Zebras. “As far as those people are concerned we have agreed, we are just waiting for funding. At presidential level, we have agreed”, Letshwiti explained.

Published in Sports
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