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.
The activities and operations of the disciplinary committee of the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) have been suspended indefinitely pending determination by either the Court of Appeal or Parliament.
The action follows judgement in the case between the LSB and Tebogo Sebego that was delivered on 11th July 2016. The effect of the judgement was to declare unlawful the procedure that the Disciplinary Committee has appointed in considering complaints brought before it against legal practitioners.
Therefore, the law society has resolved to appeal the judgement in its entirety. This according to a press release from LSB. It is stipulated that ‘until the Court of Appeal delivers a contrary Judgement, then the High Court judgement remains law and is therefore binding’. Furthermore, it is stated that amongst various findings in the High Court Judgement is one whose effect is that Sections 50 and 51 of the Legal Practitioners Act are unlawful.
In that regard, the effect of this finding is that there is now no disciplinary process in place until the Court of Appeal finds that the Sections are valid or Parliament amends the Act, states the media release. Hence the Disciplinary Committee and Council of the Law Society have both resolved to suspend all consideration of complaints until the Court of Appeal has determined the matter and or Legal Practitioner’s Act is amended.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) presidential hopeful MacLean Letshwiti claims he already knows where he would get the money for the association, once elected.
Letshwiti, who is by no means short of confidence and charisma said he will run the football association the same way he runs his businesses. Says he: “I am a financial wizard and I already know where the money for financing the association will come from.”
He further commits to dedicating 80 percent of the association’s resources to development football if he wins the hot seat currently occupied by Tebogo Sebego. Letshwiti, who describes himself as a no nonsense and shrewd businessman, hopes to clean up the association currently plagued by poor management, maladministration and courtroom battles. If voted into office, the seasoned corporate leader says he aims to focus on grassroots so that local players attract international teams like English Premier League side Manchester United at an early age.
Speaking at his first press briefing on Wednesday after announcing his intention to run for the BFA top post, Letshwiti said that the problem with the current administration is that the focus in on the Botswana Premier League (BPL) while grassroots football is being neglected.
“If you vote for me the Premier League which takes 100 percent of the BFA’s time has to be autonomously run. The league must be managed on its own as well as the National First Division so that the association focuses on development,” he said. The local businessman who will take on Sebego in July said football the world over is about development. “If football resources are not developed, it won’t take us anywhere. Football must be an industry that contributes socially and economically to the country.” Letshwiti said the products of football, which are the players, must be able to be exported to other countries. In addition, the presidential hopeful said the sport must be a national project and not just the responsibility of the BFA alone.
“Government has to support football development, the question is whether we have a relationship with government.” Letshwiti added that both men and women’s football must be developed. “Whatever you do for the girl child you must do for the boys and catch them when they are young. If we start now, we will end up somewhere, our world cup winners are the current 5 year olds.” Letshwiti, who insists that football must be run like a corporate entity emphasised the importance of following the BFA constitution. The well-known Mochudi Centre Chiefs financier views football to be a passion and must be predominantly run by former footballers. “We have to bring people who have been role models back to the sport,” he said, adding that the current state of affairs sees administrators using the sport to pass time.
Letshwiti, who derides the practice of NEC members making headlines said he was by no means painting a rosy picture as he knows the road will be initially bumpy. “The BFA is a corporate entity and it must run like one. It is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) that must be regularly seen in newspaper backpages and not the association’s president.” He dispelled fears that he was running for the position on a Mochudi Centre Chiefs ticket, adding that he will step down from his role at the Kgatleng team if elected into office. Meanwhile, Letshwiti also condemned the habit of buying votes. “Buying votes is unethical. This is why football has lost its integrity. Journalists must expose this corruption that is not doing justice to football.”
BFA president Tebogo Sebego will face Billy Sekgororoane in August this year when Botswana Football Association goes to the polls to elect a new president and national executive committee that will lead the association for the next four years.
Sekgororwane, current General Manager of Multichoice Botswana was secretly endorsed by a cabal of lobbyists last Saturday in a secret meeting held at Cresta hotel in Palapye. This development comes after months of courting Sekgororwane to challenge the incumbent BFA president, Sebego.
Sources close to the events told BG Sports that Sekgororwane was lobbied a faction which is allegedly against Sebego’s leadership and accuse him of bringing the association to its knees and scaring away potential football sponsors.
Sekgororwane only acknowledged to BG Sports that he was approached by some people but was not clear whether he will stand or not. “It’s still premature to say I will stand or not but people approached me for my help,” he asserted, adding they still have to thrash out a few details.
Sources say Sekgororwane’s team comprises of former BFA Vice President Segolame Ramothwa, current Vice President Finance and Marketing Marshlow Motlogelwa and Eatametse Olopeng. By press time it was not yet clear who will make the final list between Albert Motai and Jonase Ikgopoleng as reports suggested differences amongst the two.
Sekgororwane’s backers point to his vast experience in the corporate sector as his trump card and are confident it will be enough to persuade the business community to pump money into football and probably end a drought which has seen the association failing to raise an FA cup sponsor.
Meanwhile Sebego is said not to be amused that almost the entire NEC is standing against him. Although Sebego couldn’t shed much light on his lobby list he said he was ready for whoever is contesting against him. “I have long declared that I am standing and I have long said I want to serve two terms. We will announce our team shortly,” he said. Sources close to Sebego’s camp say that he has turned to his long-time ally Tariq Babitseng who was removed from the association under a cloud of controversy. Other names mentioned in his team include Vice President, Administration Basadi Akoonyatse, and transport mogul Abel Monnakgotla.
The arrival of Sekgororwane is feared will rekindle the existing rivalry between pay per view broadcaster Multichoice and local television Btv as fas as selling premier league broadcasting rights is concerned. In the past Btv were politically favoured to have the broadcasting rights of BPL matches ahead of Supersport despite Btv not possessing the skill and quality equipment needed.
It is only now that the local television has gone all out to buy the required equipment but Sekgororwane’s arrival might throw spanners into the works since Btv will be forced to declare their machinery as he will be the president with powers to sign or overrule any proposal.
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.