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BFA at pains to fire Masters?


The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is said to be on the brink of completing its long-standing grand plan to fire its British Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Keith Masters, highly placed sources have revealed.


The troubled English man, who has since returned, was forced go on leave after which he immediately boarded a plane back to his native country last month. Long standing BFA finance manager Susan Monametsi was asked to hold fort for him.


Those close to development have hinted out that BFA chiefs have completed their first phase of pushing Masters out of his plum post. There is a growing belief within the National Executive Committee (NEC) that he was forced to go on leave as part of their strategy to “slash all his benefits” once the Briton is forced out of his contract.


According to reports, Keith Masters signed a three-year contract.


 The association is reported to be cracking under intense pressure from different quarters and has once endured a Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) backlash over his (Masters) alleged  ineffectiveness.


This publication’s informants say the intention was to fire Masters while on leave but a second sobering thought prevailed.


Keith Masters ascended to the association’s plum post in February last year, six months after the then Tebogo Sebego’s strong camp wrestled BFA power from embattled David Fani’s regime.


 Masters was hired as Duncan Kgame’s replacement. Kgame who, too, had lost the control of the NEC opted to resign as outside pressure mounted.


However, there was an ‘outpouring’ of delight within the association when Masters was hired and touted as the ‘Messiah from England’. There was no lingering doubt at Lekidi Football Centre that the man was to effect changes almost immediately. But alas, the Briton found himself surrounded by controversy of all sorts right from the outset.


Although, the possibility of parting ways with Masters hurts and excites the NEC in equal measure, the association is said to be eager to take a bold decision sooner than later.  While it is now a palpable fact that the relationship between some BFA members and Masters is now grossly sour, the association is said to have adopted a cautious approach around the timing of the decision.


As things stand, the NEC’s deliberation is said to be clouded with fear and doubt that will set in after their conclusion. Information says the association is gradually finding it rather impractical to continue with the first ever foreigner to have occupied the position of BFA-CEO.


When contacted for comment in Gaborone this week, the CEO angrily retorted: “I really do not think I want to comment on this as I do not respond to rumours.”


Masters went on: “If the Association wishes to take any action of any kind against me or any other employee there is a due process they have to follow in accordance with the provisions of the Staff Conditions of Service and, I believe, the labour laws of the country.”


In fact, Masters believes there is much good he has done for the association.


 “I have a Government work permit and am trying to do the best job I can for the BFA and the footballing fraternity of Botswana. I personally think we are succeeding as best we can, taking into account the resources that are available.


One of the problems I continually see here is what I have continually called negativity. The cup always appears to be half-empty with the press and that continuation has an adverse effect on enabling progression in certain areas.


We actually need each other to go forward. In my long football administration career I have always had a successful working relationship with the press and, with some newspapers that is the same here. There is much good in the game in Botswana and the good exceeds the alternative many fold but that does not appear important to the press. There is old adage, which I suspect is probably worldwide that the only commercial news in football is bad news,” he said.


Deeming the decision vital in all respects, the mother body is seen to be at a cross roads; trust between them and their employee has over past months weakened rather drastically that the man ‘may’ not deliver the goods.


He has previously threatened suicide when asked to leave by his master, Tebogo Sebego. On the other hand, Masters is said to be drawing much sympathy from other high-ranking NEC members that he should be left to finish what he has already started.


The justification, although not proudly maintained, is that Masters’ relationship with some of BFA members is a healthy one at least and that alone can play a pivotal role in the reform process the association seeks to undertake.

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