The Botswana Football Association (BFA) and its under fire Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Keith Masters have tumbled and rumbled more than once behind closed doors, and the two parties’ relationship seems to be deteriorating very fast.
A task committee which was set up to assess Keith Masters’ deliverables has submitted a report on the Briton’s short spell and apparently it does not give him much credit. While Masters is currently fighting off duty episodes, The BFA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) is more concerned with his on duty calls and will vet him based on the report recently submitted by the taskforce team.
This publication learns that Masters was this week another leave extension and more scrutiny being done on his portfolio.
Weekendsport learns that the BFA NEC assembled a taskforce group to assess Masters’ dependability and expertise as the CEO of the association. It is reported that the group was appointed sometime in January and immediately started trailing the chief administrator of the association. Before allegations of pornographic materials were levelled against him, Masters was slapped with a letter to demonstrate why action could not be taken against him in as far as his work was concerned, reports say.
This week, after the arrival of the president of the association, Tebogo Sebego from Equatorial Guinea, the taskforce is said to have submitted the gloomy report. The taskforce comprising of five NEC members was assigned to study Masters’ Portfolio from the time he took over the seat of CEO until now.
Currently, indications are that Masters is not enjoying his office as much as he would like to because of souring relations with some staff members and the combination of complaints from the administrative team to anxious technical persons within the BFA. Some observers however feel that Masters is a victim of infighting. But it is clear that some members of the BFA hierarchy accuse him of perceived blame culture hence pushing for his dismissal.
When contacted for comment, BFA president, Tebogo Sebego could not furnish this publication with answers; while Marshlow Motlogelwa, vice president of the association avoided talking about Masters’ future only saying, “A detailed report will be released as soon as the NEC is done.”
BUT WHAT ARE MASTERS’ DELIVERABLES? In an attempt to gather what Keith was hired to do, WeekendSport has managed to turn out at least four deliverables that a handful of NEC members feel the Briton has fallen short on.
As the former CEO of Kent football back in England, he was expected to apply his mind in helping to professionalise Botswana football. The second deliverable was that the Briton should work effortlessly to close the gap between constituency football and the elite league.
Such mandate was to see him helping to create a link between regions and the BFA structures. Of the initial 16 regions, he is reported to have visited only three. Keith was also expected to implement a method of training compensation for football players after the case of Tsotso Ngele tied Gabane Santos and Township Rollers. He came at a time when the Coca-Cola Company was pulling out and was expected to attract investors to the association but all this has not yet happened.
SUCCESS STORY: ASHFORD MAMELODI But how did he manage to complete his term? Asked to talk about his experience as the only CEO to have completed his full tenure in the BFA hot seat, FIFA development officer, Ashford Mamelodi said: “I am not privy to what the goings on are at the Botswana Football Association Secretariat that might be the cause for CEO's leaving the Association without staying for long as I am not a part of the organization since leaving in 2000.”
“Amongst the things I enjoyed most during my time at the BFA and which might have contributed to my longevity of tenure was the environment that I worked in. I was fortunate and privileged to work for teams of leaders (NEC) who were very clear on good corporate governance. Role charity was never an issue and when it did rear its ugly head it would be nipped in the bud. Collective responsibility was simply not negotiable.
Staff loyalty and an excellent work ethic prevailed, where serving football came before ' what is in it for me;' where people were proud to work for the game and low salaries were not a deterrent to optimum performance; and where working standards were not compromised. Most importantly my staff and I were allowed to do our work uninterrupted and I was held accountable to the leadership. Micro management by the NEC at the Secretariat was taboo.
With just three weeks left before the World Athletics Championships kicks off in London, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has set a modest target for its athletes, demanding a paltry two medals.
The members of the team that will be participating in the event are currently training. They are expected to leave on July 10. The Botswana team, which was composed of young athletes, was able to secure seven medals at the recently concluded Africa Senior Championships held in Mauritius. They were placed sixth out of 44 participating nations.
According to Oabona Theetso, the Vice President of the Botswana Athletics Association, the team’s goal is to secure two medals at the World Championships. On the other hand, the under-20 team’s goal is to bag at least four medals.
Nevertheless, Theetso said the team which is currently on training camp encompasses of Isaac Makwala, Nigel Amos, Anthony Pesela, Bayapo Ndori, Letsile Tebogo, Isaac Makwala, and Thalosang Tshireletso of High jump just to mention the few. Theetso noted that the training camp was not able to produce a female athlete due to the failure of the female athletes to secure a ticket to the event.
Theetso also noted that the BNOC gave the BAA about P500 000 to help fund the team’s preparations for the event. Besides the training camp, the organization additionally received the same funding for the Oregon World Champion team.
When asked about the presence of renowned athlete and 800m world record holder, Nijel Amos, at the training camp, Theetso revealed that he has never officially communicated his intention to become an independent athlete.
When further pressed about the outcome of the meeting between Amos and the Minister – Theetso said, “We are unaware that he ever meets with Rakgare. If they met without the presence of BAA official, it will be wrong and highly regrettable,” he said.
When contacted for a comment Tlhobo Tlhasana who is Public Relations Officer at Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture confirmed to this publication that Amos met with Minister Tumiso Rakgare a few weeks after the 2012 Olympic silver medalist made known his intention to go solo.
“The minister is at liberty to meet any sport personality from different codes in his capacity as the minister. He doesn’t need the permission from BAA or let alone BNSC to have a meeting with Amos,” he noted. Meanwhile in 2019, BAA sent a strong team of 13 athletes, with five focused on individual categories, while others were to form part of relay team.
During that time two out of five athletes who were to represent this country within individual events were relegated to spectators owing to injuries. But the injuries on the two athletes had left one question on the lips of many within the athletics fraternity.
The duo of Nigel Amos and Galefele Moroko, who were undoubtedly team Botswana poster kids, saw their dream of sailing through in the competitions halted as they were forced out of tournament owing to injuries. Botswana eventually came home empty handed after failing to secure podium finish.
Botswana Football League (BFL) Chairperson Nicholas Zackem who is also a Gaborone United financier and director says Township Rollers should instead of being a hard-nut be remorseful on the Onkarabile Ratanang marathon case.
In an interview with WeekendSport this week, Zackhem says he has always had a good relationship with his Township Rollers counterpart, Jagdish Shah. However things took a nasty turn early this year when it surfaced that their left back Onkarabile Ratanang was not registered accordingly.
Again, the Rollers home game against GU played in February which resulted in a near stampede left him agitated such that Rollers should learn a lesson. “So with all these I think they should be remorseful and stop being militant,” he said.
His contention is, “this is recurring and with only one team – Rollers. Remember what happened in 2014 when BDF X1 was leading the log and they were docked points which in turn allowed Rollers to win.” In 2016 there was Ofentse Nato (Rollers player) saga where he was also not duly registered and now we are here again with Ratanang. This should be corrected to better our football.”
The Ratanang case has been dragging for months now and has created unnecessary chaos in local football. Of late the football league awards ceremony had to be postponed with those in the know saying it is because of the matter. A statement from BFL however says the postponement is a result of logistical challenges.
The BFL boss says he does not care what should happen to Rollers, which is arguably the most followed football team in the land. “Even if the relevant structure could fine the P100k or relegate or even be docked points I don’t care but I want them to respect football. My worry is they should be disciplined because they committed a heartfelt mistake.”
Some football commentators say there is high possibility of Rollers be axed from the elite league because they are facing a misconduct charge which means they can only plea for a lighter sentence like points docking.
When asked about reports of some players from other teams not registered accordingly just like Ratanang, Zackhem said it will be up to the relevant structures to decide because as far as he is concerned, the Rollers case is the only one that has been reported at Botswana Football Association (BFA).
ZAC ON BRIBING REFEREES
The 2021/22 football season was exciting but here and there it was blotted by allegations which were pointed at Zackhem himself as the league Chair of buying referees. He has vehemently dismissed those reports and rumours saying the current GU arsenal does not need any favors.
“We invested heavily on this team and if you have invested surely you are poised to win everything on offer. Look at the players that I have do you think I would need referees to win matches? Most of the players have also been called to the national team and that alone proves their mettle. I don’t remember the last time GU was awarded a penalty this season, it has been a team work and those referee talk is baseless.”
“I am a dreamer and perseverance is my name because after writing my Cambridge examinations a few years ago, I grouped young footballers in Francistown and started a youthful unregistered football team with them.
It was a difficult thing to do because the players were students and parents were not letting some of them to play football as they believed it might negatively affect their studies and some of the big clubs in the elite league will come and take my players.”
This is how Seemo ‘Sixteen’ Mpatane, a coach and founder of Eleven Angels football club which gained promotion to the elite league last weekend describe himself and the journey thus far. Barely two weeks ago, Mochudi Center chiefs failed to pluck Angels’ wings when they hosted them at Riverplate grounds during the first leg of the Botswana Football league promotional playoffs but this past Saturday Angels soared to a 5 – 0 win over them to reach the promised land.
The win meant Lekgamu la Bananyana (youthful side) as they affectionately known will now make a debut appearance at the apex of local league football. For a match characterized by a long stoppage time following clashes between Angels and Chiefs supporters, it was Angels who showed more battle to convincingly beat Chiefs and attain promotion.
Nevertheless, Mpatane said, “I continued to coach my team even when I was still studying at Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) in Francistown and it was a difficult journey because I had some school projects to do and I will divert my monthly allowance to some of my players; to feed them, provide transportation for them and also to buy them soccer boots,” he stated.
In 2013, he says, he decided to register the team officially with Botswana Football Association (BFA) in order to protect the players from other teams and to make income out of the team. He further said Lekgamu La Bananyana started in Third Division league when they got position one and gained automatic promotion to Second Division league although it was only their first season to play there.
“We struggled at Second Division because I had inexperienced youthful players and had limited resources like transportation, soccer boots and most of our players were sitting for their examinations, but we managed to avoid relegation as we finished in position four,” he alluded.
In 2017/18 season, he said the team won the Second Division League and qualified for the Debswana First Division North playoffs. During the playoffs, the team represented Francistown region, against other three teams from other regions, to be precise Chobe United, Maun Terrors and White Diamond from Boteti region.
In addition, the young tactician managed to produce quality players like Norman Mabaya who plays for Orapa united, Doctor David and Fortunate Thulare of Jwaneng Galaxy and Molaodi Tlhalefang of Security Systems who went and made their caps at the senior national team.
“I achieved one of my dreams; that is to take my team to the elite league and I’m left with one that is coaching at national level and I think after getting my license I will be ready to lead under 17, 20, 23 and even the national team cause it just requires humility, love, perseverance and commitment, but right I can offer my services cause football is in the heart,” he said.
Mpatane revealed his intention is to see more of his players participating at national level and overseas, as this week Zebras interim coach Mogomotsi Mpote called the 18-year-old Monty Enosa to be part of Zebras team which will compete for COSAFA tournament that is set to kick off next month.