BFA split over backing Sexwale
Troubled Botswana Football Association‘s National Executive Committee met this past Monday to discuss- inter alia- the unfolding FIFA crisis where rifts later emerged on whether to back Tokyo Sexwale in his attempt to topple suspended FIFA president, Joseph Sepp Blatter, WeekendSport has learnt.
The apartheid political prisoner turned millionaire mining tycoon and former South African Minister of Human Settlements was subject of a long discussion that would eventually reveal reservations by some NEC members about Sexwale’s ambitious intention to replace Blatter at the scandal riddled world football body.
According to sources close to the developments, some NEC members want Sexwale to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he would skirt the trap that caught both CAF president Issa Hayatou and the embattled Blatter. The same members further want someone who can represent Africa in its bid to turn around football developments in the continent.
“We need a vocal leader, a person who understands well the struggles of this continent and can advocate for increase in the number of African team going to the world cup,” a source disclosed.
Despite the NEC being divided over the issue, the president has the final say on casting the vote for the preferred candidate. However, before the meeting, the president was asked about his preferred candidate, but was cagey, instead responding: “We will have to meet and discuss the issue of the candidate.”
Tebogo Sebego is member to CAF committees and has other related networks in football administration in the region. The FIFA presidential elections are scheduled for next year February 26.
Sexwale was endorsed by the South African Football Association late October and a section of the local mother body, giving spark to the hope that neighbourhood relations can play a pivotal role in upgrading the landscape of the domestic game. Some NEC members who are against his being endorsed by BFA for candidature have doubts about his revenue and its unknown sources.
The 62-year-old Sexwale’s varied credentials include being a current Fifa anti-racism adviser, a former prisoner on Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela, and the previous host of South Africa’s version of The Apprentice television show. He is also a hugely successful businessman with interests in the mining and energy sectors, and whose wealth has been estimated to thousands of billions.
As well as working on Fifa’s anti-discrimination committee, Sexwale has mediated for Fifa in the dispute between the Israeli and Palestinian federations, a diplomacy mission given to him by Blatter. He also served on the organising committee for South Africa’s 2010 World Cup.
If Sexwale is backed as the preferred candidate for the whole African continent, that could put him in a strong position. Africa is Fifa’s largest continental confederation, with 54 voting national associations. Another possible African candidate, the Liberian FA president Musa Bility, previously failed to gain the backing of the rest of Africa.
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It’s do or die for Zebras
The senior national team, the Zebras, is currently in Equatorial Guinea to for an African Cup of Nations Qualifiers tie. Before they departed, the team’s coach, Mogomotsi Mpote, had his troops train in Morocco. This was through the agreement between the two countries.
The agreement between the BFA and the Fédération Moroccan Football Association states that the two nations will work together to organize friendly matches between their respective national teams. It also allows the establishment of football camps for the youth categories (U-15, U-17, and U-20), this includes women’s national teams.
The national team has played over 180 minutes in its two qualifying matches against Tunisia and Libya. Currently, the Zebras, Lesotho and Liberia are the only teams that haven’t scored yet in the competition (this is correct by press time on Friday).
Before the match against Equatorial Guinea match, the local boys who were once known as the whipping boys of Africa in the early 2000s, were languishing at the bottom of the log standings in group J. They lost their first match away to Libya on June 1, 2022. However, they managed to salvage a point against Tunisia last year.
Before the team left for Equatorial Guinea, coach Mpote urged his players to focus on keeping their hopes of making a return trip to the AFCON finals alive after an 11 year absence since the maiden appearance in 2012. He noted that they would not allow their opponents to score and would ensure that they would get a draw.
Despite the various changes that have occurred in the two countries’ football landscape, the two teams have only met once before. In 2010, the local boys defeated the Equatorial Guinea team in a friendly match, which ended in an emphatic win for the visitors. Since then, the two sides have realised different fortunes in FIFA rankings, with Equatorial Guinea ranked 51 places above the Zebras.
Meanwhile, in their last six games, Guinea has only managed to win one of them. They drew with Rwanda and Togo in September 2022 friendlies. They have found the back of the net just twice in their six games. On the other hand, the Zebras, won one match against Zambia and lost four on their way to finishing at the bottom of the group with four points. At the conclusion of their previous AFCON campaign, the local boys traveled to Zambia and secured a draw.
Despite the recent results of the Guinean team, which have only managed to draw with Rwanda and Togo in their last six matches, coach Mpote is still confident that his team will perform well against the hosts.
According to the head coach, the local boys have the necessary skills and resources to perform well against any country. He noted that the team’s coaches have been studying abroad to gain a deeper understanding of the various aspects of football.
“Tactically they should also be ready. We need your (Botswana fans) usual support, when we come back from Equatorial Guinea, we will go to Francistown, and we will need you. You are our 12th player, and you are very important to us.”
OBED ITANI CHILUME STADIUM CERTIFIED
This week, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Tuelo Serufho revealed that the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium will host the return leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the local boys and Equatorial Guinea. The venue had initially failed an inspection test conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). However, following the completion of the necessary works, the stadium was allowed to host the match.
According to BNSC Chief, Tuelo Serufho, the various requirements that the stadium must meet included having a designated parking area for the media and spectators, as well as having signage that will guide the spectators. He also noted that the venue now has a world-class media area.
Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society
Township Rollers, one of the country’s most decorated football clubs with 15 premier league titles, is finding itself in a precarious situation as its long-term chief financier, Jagdish Shah, threatens to dump them if the society does not bow down to his demand of forfeiting their 20 percent interest in the company.
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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon
Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.
He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.
The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.