Botswana football’s longest serving master Ashford Mamelodi, has set the record straight about the country wide touted ambition pushing him to stand for BFA Presidential elections in July. In an interview with WeekendSport, the former FIFA consultant said he harbors no desire to become the most powerful football administrator in the country.
He said he declined the proposal to stand for BFA position and reasons were many. Mamelodi, instead proposes to work with whoever is at the helm to better the standard of the local game. “People from different walks of life wanted me to stand, I declined that offer, but this is not to say I will be lost to football. I will continue administering football at different levels and notably, I will be glad to help any sitting President to move the country football forward,” he stated.
Although he seemed to duck the question, it is maintained that Mamelodi also ran a rule over his health conditions and uncovered that it will be too risky if not suicidal to accept the BFA Presidency challenge. It is well known that such posts often come with unparalleled stress. This according to observers will worsen his medical conditions because the job is demanding on its own.
Mamelodi’s admission will mean that the plan to oust the incumbent, Maclean Letshwiti, crumbles down- at least for now. The football masters had planned that Mamelodi be part of Tebogo Sebego’s crew because his football ideologies and firm standings are the needed ingredients to dilute Letshwiti’s popularity and bravery. The crew really wanted Mamelodi largely because of his vast experience in football especially on the African continent. This publication is informed that the foot soldiers even phoned his wife to help conclude the negotiations in a closed peaceful bedroom corner.
However, Mamelodi says there is still a challenge to change the status quo at Lekidi Football Center. He is of the view that people have to be convinced to support and follow the vision of the sitting President and forget about factions. He believes there is nothing wrong at the association except that people tend to serve their interests than that of football. He wants to administer football development at the region level-a portfolio he is still running even in the hour of rumors linking him with the BFA plum post.
If Mamelodi’s word are anything to go by, the election will therefore be a straight fight between familiar players (Letshwiti and Sebego). In the meantime, Letshwiti is prepared to face seemingly insurmountable odds, particularly after the regime itself split where one Segolame Ramotlhwa as well as Maokaneng Bontshetse might as well be prepared to mount a challenge.
However, both men arguably could win a public vote for the Presidency, having obtained countrywide popularity for their exploits on the field, and in particular at the helm of BFA. Mamelodi’s entry into the race was expected to remove the threat of virtual coronation for Letshwiti, who swept up Sebego four years ago after an earnest strategy.
The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of France’s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina
With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.