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The circus that is BAA

After failing to organise an annual general meeting on a couple of occasions, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) finally paraded an Athletics Pitso last weekend – but there can only be one conclusion, the Association has a long way to go before it finds peace and puts its house in order.


The Pitso left much to be desired as far the administration of the code is concerned. By 8am on Saturday, the time slated for the meeting, the members could not form a quorum. This forced the BAA officials to make emergency calls to Tlokweng and Palapye Athletics club (fringe members) to coerce them to show face and help them form a quorum and commence the meeting.


The Pitso finally started two hours later at 10am. Affiliates had boycotted the weekend gathering because the Association had postponed a similar meeting a fortnight ago without proper communication to the affiliates. The snub was a filtration of anger directed at the troubled BAA.


The meeting, as it was anticipated was off to a heated start, with affiliates questioning why there is no AGM but rather a Pitso which is not enshrined in the constitution. Other questions that dominated the floor were with regards to absenteeism – particularly on the part of Tlokweng, Lobatse, Palapye and Matshelagabedi clubs which are accused of being regular loafers in BAA organized events.


Clause 13.12 of BAA rules and regulations clearly states: “Any club that misses to participate in three consecutive BAA official activities shall be assumed to be nonexistent and the Secretary General shall scrape it out of BAA affiliate list and inform it in writing immediately.”
The said quartet is said to be trampling on the regulations while the powers that be are failing to act accordingly. This, sources say, is because the EXCO members “have connections with these clubs hence they develop cold feet when it is time to crack the whip”.   


At the pitso it also surfaced that while other clubs are not paying the annual affiliation fees, they continue to be regular players in BAA activities. “Each member club shall be required to pay the approved annual subscription for continued membership of the association. The subscription shall fall due on the 1st of January,” BAA constitution reads in part. The two clubs, Maun and UB are accused of this transgression – notwithstanding this, athletes and officials from the latter club dominate the national team.


“This is just pettiness from the affiliates, because if you look all the clubs are dormant. If we can apply these rules then there will be no competitions, because should we apply double standards it will be unfair to others. All our clubs do not necessarily feature in all our activities,” BAA spokesperson, Roland Masalila said.


Meanwhile the athletics body’s plethora of potentially corrupt activities was also exposed on Saturday. Some of the executive members were on the receiving end as one of them is alleged to be applying for sponsorship for an international trip and was using the association funds.  “That’s not true, if you think otherwise I will show you my passport to confirm,” the concerned official said.


Some of the EXCO members were also accused of conflict of interest as they continue to buy the association’s assets. Six LCD televisions were sold under dubious circumstances. Glody Dube is one of those who bought the LCDs for his business. The assets were sold under the pretext that BAA had to pay the BNSC affiliation fee of P1500. “They were sold in my absence and when I was told I used the opportunity because I needed them for my business, the talks that I never deposited cash are unfounded,” Dube said.


As a culmination of the accusations, Dube is expected to tender his resignation to BAA soon following his declaration to the membership that he was leaving.
Various reasons explain his resignation; more profound is that his department is failing dismally. “The mushrooming of marathons in the country is one of his failures. Failure to develop coaches and athletes does not put him on the right spot either.

The association’s lousy schedule where there are no competitions is also his grey area,” one member who refused to be named said.  
“I want to focus on my athletics projects because I don’t want to be conflicted while in office,” Dube said.
 

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Sport

Cabinet approves AFCON dream

24th January 2022
zebras

The government of Botswana has reportedly approved the dream of hosting African Cup of Nations in 2027 with Namibia as co-host, following a proposal to cabinet by Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare.

WeekendSport learns that the organizing committee dreaming to host the tournament is preparing to hand their hefty book to Confederation of African Football (CAF) when bidding stage comes into open. Botswana Football Association (BFA) has, to this date, managed to win the confidence of the government, and all thoughts around the African football prestigious tournament are given serious attention with acceleration of construction of 10 mini stadia across the country, sources have said.

Furthermore, reports in Namibia state that the Botswana government has approached them with a proposal to co -host the 2027 edition of African tournament. “I can confirm that the minister of sport in Botswana has written to our minister but these are still early days and no decision has been made yet,” Audrin Mathe, an executive director in the Ministry of Sport was quoted by Namibia Sun this week. Meanwhile, Rakgare has said: “It is still an internal issues but yes, we are interested in hosting with Namibia.”

All the while, BFA president who also sits in CAF national executive committee is expected to embody a more emotive promise about the ability of African Cup in Botswana and how it can benefit the citizenry and by extension, the Southern region. With Zimbabwe having come out clean about their intentions to bid for 2034 World Cup, there has been a growing feeling that Botswana should try her luck, and therefore Botswana delegation will be hopeful to walk a fine line.

Although, the commercial potential of a Botswana AFCON Cup is a compelling factor in their favour, following the relative uncertainty of many African countries ( due to political instability, extent of corona virus ) and state of insecurity, BFA is minded not make that their thrust of the case. Hence the concentration on providing a home from home for all teams among Botswana’s diverse population and the opportunity to use the proceeds to advance legacy projects around Africa. The feeling on the ground is that the move might be bold, and some association influential players believe that it will be a matter of upgrading Maun stadium, Masunga and Serowe stadium.

An idea is also harbored that another stadium will be built in around Gaborone to boost the existing National Stadium with the Lobatse and Francistown stadia also expected to play pivotal role.  All the while, a more than P20 million operational budget is said to be needed to travel the African countries in convincing them that Botswana is more suitable to host with its security and economy very much stable.

Botswana passes the mark when it comes to transportation, accommodation and hotel facilities. The fact that CAF normally want a country that has hosted youth tournaments before enables Botswana to score points in that it has hosted before. The only problem that might mark Botswana down is road infrastructure.  BFA will consider roping in an experienced sport person and the high profile of former players like Diphetogo Selolwane is anticipated to appear for the thoughts building around the bid, and his name will be seen as watershed moment.

The southern region, however, might be dealt a devastating blow following the catastrophe that hit Angola when they hosted the 2010 edition. The Togo team was shot by rebels and panic erupted.  However, the field is open and the ever shifting sands of CAF internal politics make the race hard to call and feed fears of horse trading and backroom deals.

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Sport

FIFA concludes findings on BFA

24th January 2022
Lekidi football centre

A delegation from FIFA, the world football governing body, has left heads rolling after concluding what some call ‘early findings’ that Botswana Football Association (BFA) secretariat has not misused FIFA funds contrary to widespread reports and criticism. This comes to the fore against the much peddled P8.8 million which disappeared within the coffers of the association.

However, FIFA delegation led by David Fani, a former BFA boss himself, finds out that the funds have been used to projects they were not initially meant for.  The delegation cited money for covid-19 which was meant to cushion clubs from distress due to lack of playing and was used to pay BFA employees. However, the findings by FIFA are said to have left the world of football divided on the way forward.  They are those who are skeptical about the manner in which investigations were carried out but are afraid to voice out for fear of being victimized or being relieved of their duties.

While FIFA is adamant that the funds were misallocated, BFA finds itself at pains to answer a difficult question where some staff members at the finance department were sacked.  More complicating the already strained situation is the decision to suspend the Chief Executive Officer, Goabaone Taylor and threatening to expel her while she had an over-riding duty to prioritize BFA funds when corona had ravaged the administration and operational wing of the association.

It might be that the National Executive Committee was building a case for her and would now want to look as if they were saving face when they sidelined her. “During the four day visit, the delegation carried out its assessment and interviewed BFA staff and former employees. At the end of the investigation, the delegation briefed the NEC on initial findings. The delegation informed the NEC that it found no evidence of misappropriation or embezzlement of funds,” reads part of BFA statement.

BFA has claimed that its brand has been “deeply tarnished” and that its “ability to use its resources for positive actions throughout the country, and to meet its mission of supporting and enhancing the game of football” has been “impaired” as a consequence of the actions of the football officials and some sports administrators under their watch. “We are not out of the woods yet, we had made good strides in earning FIFA’s trust; we will wait to see what the remedial action will be. However, we will be tightening our gabs and ensuring that we regain the financial confidence we worked so hard for,” BFA president Maclean Letshwiti said.

 

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Sport

BFA faces ministry backlash

11th January 2022
MacLean Letshwiti

Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place owing to the ever burning issue of mischievous spending at operational level.

While the association coffers have suddenly dried up, with some staff members getting the boot, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has threatened to place the Maclean Letshwiti led association under strict funding for unspecified period of time.

WeekendSport learns that the sport ministry is not happy about the financial status of the association and will want to act before everything get messy.

At the close of last year, the Ministry had to intervene for the Women National Football Team to travel to Ethiopia as BFA had no penny to cover for the travelling costs.

As if that was not enough, the BFA December wages were covered from the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) purse, an abnormality that BFA is at pains to explain.

All these incidents, however, coincide with a time when the Sport ministry is putting in place a new revised modeling for funding. The model requests national sports associations to explain in details the why they will need funding  for their calendar of events.

Moreover, the Ministry is eager to prioritize funding basing on the performance of the sport code on a yearly basis.

“Things have changed, we are not going to splash money like we used to do, and we want a code to explain fully how they are going to spend the money,” a source shared.

Moreover, we will be funding looking at the overall performance of the code, we are not going to fund just because it is football and it is loved by many people.”

At worst, the ministry will want the association to account and should BFA fail to balance their books, the National Executive Committee(NEC) is likely to be dissolved by the ministry.

Sources further state that the Ministry’s patience has actually wilted away concerning codes that abuse funds. In the case of BFA, sources point out that they are likely to get half subvention until everything goes back to normalcy.

On a good year, BFA subvention reaches P 5.4million annually. Should the ministry persists, BFA will start operations of the year on a budget of about P 2.7 million. It will not be for the first time the association finds itself bearing the brunt.

Sometimes in 2018 when Tshekedi Khama was the Minister, the association’s subvention were cut down to pay an old standing debt that amounted to P3 million.

However, high ranking officials at  the association believe funds can still be accounted for and refuses to accept that they have been reckless when it comes to spending. The official who does not want be named is of the view that the association had to halt FIFA projects and concentrate on incidental expenses brought by COVID -19.

According to BFA expenditure, the CEO gets the higher chunk and that’s where most of the money went. A national trip to South Africa by senior national team has also seen the association spending close to a million.

Moreover, the communication department of the association is bleeding more money after a certain PR agency was appointed nearly two years ago.

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