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Mamelodi rises from the ashes

The name of Bennett Mamelodi has made headline impacts within the corridors and boardrooms of Lekidi Football Centre throughout this week.

Some football administrators get exasperated at the mention of his name while others rejoice at the thought of his presence within the football corner.

But above everything else, this is a man whose administrative prowess and blunders have long divided football opinion. Ever since his plans to build a Premier League monster in 2016 unravelled, he fell down the football terrain after a new regime took over.

But five years on, possibility that Mamelodi might be re-appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the newly registered elite football body called, Botswana Football League (BFL) lingers.

The carefully laid plans to elevate Mamelodi into BFL radar is said to be orchestrated by Chairman Jagdish Shah. It is believed that the Township Rollers man has requested for the re-advertisement of the post so that Mamelodis football resume can be assessed and processed.

The first phase of the advertisement was completed last year November and it turns out that the blood brother to Ashford Mamelodi did not throw in his curriculum vitae for reasons best known to him. The football conspiracy between Mamelodi and Jagdish comes afar but their love and hate relationship is credited for catapulting the premier league to greater heights.

During years gone by, Mamelodi is believed to have brought the premier league to a stature worth millions of Pulas. Bringing and nurturing Botswana Telecommunications (BTC), the former and long standing partners of elite football is one thing he is still remembered for.

But his recklessness and his inability to operate by the book has painted his otherwise industrious football knowledge with a black brush.While it is clear that BFL has ran out of options in pursuit of a competent CEO, it is also a devils job to appoint a man whose affair with BFA never experienced a happy ending. Football is a game of emotions, so the adage goes.

They were certainly high when Mamelodi was expelled in 2016 and immediately took his brief case to court for legal redress. Have they let bygones be bygones? This question stands still amid allegations that his way back into Lekidi football offices is carefully crafted.

In Mamelodi, some say the league will profit immensely especially at a time when the struggle to build the baseline amid ravaging corona virus circumstances.

But others fear that this is a man who can manoeuvre the football terrain; a schemer who can overthrow the football regime if not closely monitored.

This is the same strategy that was master-minded by former premier league Chairperson Mike Molefe, and it took off immediately when Mamelodi was first given a six months contract to negotiate more sponsors for the league in April of 2012.

At the time, his salary did not exceed P25 000. In August of the same year, as Mamelodi stamped his authority on the ground, he fired one Setete Phuthego after local auditor, Marzas Company, found out that the former General Manager had abused office and crippled league coffers.

Although, high and file cadre of Botswana Football are not proudly maintaining it, it crops out that there is an under boiling battle to put together a succession plan especially at the premier league.

This surface war of succession, unbeknownst to many, is bringing into open the contradictory faces of the league house: the robust force of grass roots social equality within themselves, versus the tight control by the Chairman and his preferred mates to capture the soul of the elite league.

Mamelodi surfaced on the football spectrum at the turn of the millennium after his brother, Ashford, connected him with the then FIFA representative, Ian Riley. The two would later form a company called Pula Sports Marketing that negotiated sponsor (BTC) on behalf of the league. The company has since liquidated.

Mamelodi is still an employee of premier league champions Jwaneng Galaxy and was not available to give clarity on rumours linking him with the BFL post. As of going to print, Shah has not answered questions as to why the league has re advertised the CEO post but those close to him suggest that the adjudicating committee had not found a fitting administrator hence calling for fresh applications.

Last year, only two names had shown interest. The name of one Harry Koata from Masitaoka together with Olebile Sikwane were shortlisted.

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