Former President of Botswana Lt Gen Ian Khama who is also the patron of the Botswana Football Association (BFA), is expected to organise a ‘strategic meeting’ between the football federation and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture development.
While the meeting is anticipated to address the association’s roadmap in the eyes of the Ministry, sources reveal that the consultation exercise will provide a chance to foster working relationship between the two bodies. One of the association’s strategic goal is to increase performance rating by the year 2020. However, over the months and since the appointment of Tshekedi Khama as the Minister, BFA leadership had always endured a torrid time with the sports ministry. Interestingly, Tshekedi Khama is the blood brother to Ian Khama.
The anticipation towards the said meeting is enormous as Ian Khama will try to facilitate reconciliation talks, reports claim. At things stand, it is said Ian Khama’s schedule is not permitting owing to the eventful months ahead ofthe general elections, it is said. The last straw that broke the camel’s back is when Tshekedi Khama’s ministry instructed Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) to cut down the football association’s 2019-2020 annual subventions. This came to the fore after the realisation that the Sport ministry through BNSC paid an amount of P 3 000 000 on behalf of the association as legal expenses. The fee, specifically emanated from the cost incurred as BFA lost a lawful battle against one Pula Sports company that used to negotiate sponsors on behalf of the premier league along the years of 2011 and 2012.
Now the minister wants BFA to pay back the money or their grant will be cut. Although high ranking officials at Lekidi Football Centre refuse to shed more details about the meeting, the president of the association Maclean Letshwiti hinted about the possibility of a strategic meeting at the association’s Annual General Assembly held last weekend. “We are working to hold a strategic meeting with the Ministry of sports, in fact we could have long held it, but we are still waiting for Khama to find a suitable date,” he told delegates at the assembly.
In many instances, Minister Tshekedi has taken a swipe at the MacLean led association, questioning the long standing reason why football’s budget is higher yet results are not forth coming as the case with other sports code. On the other hand, BFA had always adopted a hard stance when dealing with the Minister. Although the association is not proudly maintaining it, information gathered by this publication is that the BFA has vowed never to open their door to the Minister again whenever he knocks.
Over a few months, the Minister had summoned BFA leadership twice to his office. The first occasion was when dealing with the All Kasi matter. The former BFA technical sponsors had reported their sorry case to Tshekedi after their contract was not renewed.The second time both parties were deliberating on the issues of local coaches where a handful of them were crying foul that the association is turning a blind eye on them and only appoint foreign gaffers.
The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of France’s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina
With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.