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BFA pushes congress to Christmas period

The effects of COVID -19 have gone all the way up to the administration of world football, with Botswana Football Association (BFA) mulling to take unprecedented steps of calling off its elective congress that was to take place in July of this year.

The executive committee of the association is therefore expected to traverse the length and breadth of the country to brief and deliberate with the regions on the impeding matter. The committee is thinking of a date before end of November but can always reverse thoughts if the virus subsides. BFA comprises of 16 regions, all anticipated to send two representatives to cast a vote.

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 has disrupted the schedule of the local football game. At a time when the bolts around the virus are loosened, the association will find itself facing a taxing work load. The association now needs to fast track events and ensure the league finishes without hindrances and further delays. When the sport slipped into a sudden clamp down, there were about 10 premier league games to be played and about 3 rounds of FA cup matches to be completed.

BFA, in the meantime, thinks video conference call can come to effect if push comes to shove. This however is not proudly maintained whenever reality arises that they also have to hold elections.
According to the BFA constitution, the general assembly has to be held after every football matter is dealt with. Meanwhile, two opposing groups are believed to be already working behind closed doors. One group is that of current BFA leader, Maclean Letshwiti. The other group comprises former BFA boss, Tebogo Sebego.

Certain football soldiers under Letshwitis leadership are believed to be pushing that he groups high profile names to solidify his candidacy in running for the post. The threat from Sebego camp cannot altogether be ignored. All the while it is maintained that Letshwiti has a mountain to climb as two of his most influential foot soldiers are facing each other – Masego Ntshingane Vs Maokaneng Bontshetse.

However, Ntshingane does not mind stepping down for Botshetse, but all that is still guess work and nobody knows what will happen thereafter. Should Ntshingane respect his conscious, there is no doubt that these coming elections could be a straight fight between two factions of the association and Bontshetse will be prepared to face seemingly insurmountable odds.

However, the former Tonota constituency parliamentary candidate could win a public vote for the vice presidency, having obtained countrywide popularity for his exploits on the field particularly at the Francistown region. Bontshetses early entry into the race was expected to remove the threat of virtual coronation for Letshwiti, who himself does not want to declare whether he wants Bontshetse or Ntshingane.

When asked about his ambition late last year, Bontshetse said, Well I have received so many calls to stand for one of the VP posts, and I can tell you Im still considering it. I am also looking at the reputation of BFA right now and I do not like it because people are factionalists but I think football deserves better.

In recent years, I have seen the image of BFA fluctuating and as I speak to many people in football-to players and coaches-so many of those people have told me something has to be done. The platform afforded by a tilt at the executive committee might help his cause or it could backfire if Ramotlhwa, who has backed many football administrators from either side, campaigns against him on that front.

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Finally, sponsors jerk BFA

30th January 2023

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.

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Clubs petition Zackhem, Jagdish Shah

23rd January 2023

Some disgruntled Botswana Football League (BFL) shareholders are planning to petition the BFL board led by Gaborone United director and chief financier Nicolas Zackhem and his treasurer Jagdish Shah. Furthermore, they want to challenge the Botswana football Association (BFA) leadership over the deteriorating status of football in the country.

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P80 million windfall for BFA

9th January 2023

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is poised to benefit from FIFA’s forward development programme. The Association will receive over P80 million to be used during the course of the next four years, as the world football governing body is strengthens its commitment to building a stronger foundation and the growth of football.

The Forward 3.0 funds – to be accessed by all 54 CAF members for the next four years have seen an increase of USD 2 million compared to Forward 2.0 cycle and Forward 1.0 cycle when the programme was launched.

According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, the third cycle of the programme will be launched this month and it will dedicate more financial resources than before to developing football nations as there is an overall increase of approximately 30% compared to Forward 2.0.

“It is vital that we are now strengthening our commitment to building a stronger foundation for the growth of football,” Infantino noted.

The 62 page report by FIFA-Forward-Development-Programme-Forward-3-0-regulations also reveals that for travel and equipment, each member association, subject to compliance with the regulations, will receive an additional USD 1 million to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for their national teams. It further states that the remaining funds may be used to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for domestic competitions organized by the member associations.

“A contribution of up to USD 200,000 for the four-year cycle (2023-2026) to cover the cost of any football equipment related to the training of players and organization of matches (e.g. full kits for the national teams, balls, mini goals, bibs, substitution boards and referees’ communication systems) for those member associations that are identified as needing the most assistance,” the report indicated.

FIFA President, Infantino and his team said the member association is identified as needing the most assistance, for the purpose of the contributions, where their annual revenues (excluding Forward Programme funds as well as funds from any other FIFA programme/ initiative) do not exceed USD 4 million as the figure shall be reflected in the latest annual statutory audit report submitted to the FIFA general secretariat within six months after the closing of the relevant financial year.

Nevertheless, the contributions for travel will be released in four equal installments of USD 250,000 each in January every year, whilst those for equipment will be released in four equal installments of USD 50,000 each in January every year provided that the member association has fulfilled the conditions.

For the specific projects – in the case of Botswana and Namibia – there is an ambition to host the AFCON 2027 and if the joint bid succeed, the two nations will need to build new stadium to meet the requirements of CAF as the Bid technical committee has alluded before; therefore the two associations could make an appeal for extra funds to FIFA.

The report further says where a member association uses funds allocated for specific projects to improve or build new football infrastructure for its direct benefit or for the benefit of another entity (e.g. regional associations or clubs), the member association shall also provide, as part of the supporting documents, the FIFA general secretariat with the relevant national land registry certificate or extract confirming that the member association or the other entity is the owner of the land or the agreements confirming the donation, transfer or other form of provision to, or use of land by the association.

When contacted for comment, local sports analyst, Jimmy George said; “Ours is more a lack of vision, than money to finance programs. Regrettably when you lack vision not even USD 8 million can bail you out. Its pity the funds might be used to pay for the past projects that have yielded very little success.”

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