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Personal battles, egos rip BOBA apart

National team coach, Letchedzani “Master” Luza

The battle of settling personal vendettas and egoism is said to be prevailing at the Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) offices following the controversial demotion of the national team coach, Letchedzani “Master” Luza amid accusations of indiscipline.

The former national team boxer and 2000 Olympics medallist, has since been replaced by veteran, Johannes Ditlhabang with the former expected to assist the latter, something which reports indicate he has labelled as an “insult”.

According to WeekendSports investigations, the plan to oust Luza was long orchestrated as early as last month when he was dropped when the team went to the World Championship in Doha, Qatar.  At that time, he was instead sent off to attend IOC course.

The demotion of Luza has not been taken lightly by some within the BoBA family as they vehemently maintain it is efforts to settle personal battles. Unlike Ditlhabang, Luza possesses the new testament of the Aiba Open Boxing (AOB) and the 3 star coaching licence which allows him to coach at any level in the world. After the World boxing body, AIBA, changed some of the regulations to allow boxers to exchange blows without gloves, head guard and the new points scoring, Luza was one of the few coaches suitable for the job but the relevant stakeholders thought otherwise. “We would have wanted someone with a better qualification to take over not an under-qualified to replace a better candidate,” a source told this paper. It is contended that Ditlhabang, other than being under-qualified, he also does not have the experience as would be expected. There are fears that his appointment is likely to backfire as the team prepares for next year’s Olympics qualifications where it is argued that continuity is vital for the team progress rather than changing coaches now and then.

While the coaches’ commission has gotten its share of condemnation, sources say the Executive Committee, especially the President, Dr Thato Patlakwe is the kingpin in the grand-plan to oust Luza. “The President seems to be bitter as Luza always has answers to their complaints, not that he is rude but because he understand the technicalities of the sport and the powers that be feel undermined by his answers. So they wanted someone who will dance to their tune,” the source said. Efforts to get hold of the President and the technical wing to respond to the allegation did not materialise as the President and Sport Development Officer (SDO), Healer Modiradilo’s mobile numbers were not going through at the time of going to press.

The technical arm of the association, headed by Gibson Rauwe, whose understanding of modern boxing is also questioned, has been labelled a toothless dog. Another source stated, “at first it was suggested to the commission that either Thebe Setlalekgosi, Gilbert Khunwane, Khumiso Ikgopoleng or Luza lead the team, but we were shocked to learn that inactive Ditlhabang has been given the reigns. We wanted someone who has a 3 star coaching license and who has been on the ground.”

Also, the ascension of Rauwe to the VP Technical post following the resignation of Tabona Phaladzi has also not went down well with some as they argue that Rauwe is technically challenged and it will be a toll order for him to supervise people with better knowledge.  

The association will hold the preliminaries of the national championship today, albeit without a sponsor. The championship will be held next week before this year’s award ceremony.    
 

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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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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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Sport

Mamelodi rejects BFA CEO post

11th January 2022
Township Rollers CEO: Mamelodi

Township Rollers first ever Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bennett Mamelodi has reportedly turned down an offer from Botswana Football Association (BFA) to take over the reins at the association as the new CEO.  

This comes to the fore following the ‘always expected’ suspension of Goabaone Taylor in December 2021, on account of internal investigations relating to the misappropriation of funds that transpired before her eyes.

Sources speaking to this publication indicate that Taylor will eventually vacate her position, barely eight months after her historic appointment as the first ever lady to lead the often stubborn BFA secretariat.

Masterminds behind her appointment and eventual fall from grace wanted to therefore give Mamelodi an opportunity to assume the role, but the soft spoken administrator is reported to have chickened out, opting to stay put at Township Rollers.

It is not yet known why an ambitious man like Mamelodi’s feet will turn cold over a job that commands respect across football circles.

However, it is reported that the once rejected Mfolo Mfolo will have a second bite on the cherry after BFA president MacLean Letshwiti confided to his close allies that he was misled at a time when Mfolo was sacked.

The equally soft spoken Mfolo, who too has footprints at Township Rollers was fired  just after the October 2020 elections for allegedly failing to take charge when the national under 17 was disqualified  from the COSAFA tournament  after failing the MRI test.

All the while, reports indicate that Mamelodi is eyeing the Botswana Football League (BFL) post where he made his name, but close sources continue to deny that the brother to Ashford Mamelodi will want to go back to Lekidi Football Centre given the manner in which his dismissal was handled about six years ago.

At the time of going to print, he could not be reached for comment.

As things stand, Mamelodi has been appointed as the project manager of BFL while holding the fort at Rollers. He is anticipated to provide insight on how the league can source sponsors for itself and run smoothly without struggles.  He is also expected to erect a working structure for the BFL.

Mamelodi has previously worked with Jwaneng Galaxy as well as interim spells with Orapa United to help both clubs turn professional. He is said to be in love with what he does at Popa and it is why he is no longer intrigued by BFA political positions.

However, sources mention that Mamelodi will be tried once again but are skeptical that the man will agree to the deal even if it is mouthwatering.

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