Francistown — Botswana Football Association (BFA) Executive Committee member, Eatametse Olopeng says it is high time Botswana commercialilised football.
Speaking at a BFA preliminary coaching course certificate award ceremony on June 5 in Francistown, Olopeng said Batswana should not treat football as a hobby but as a business.
Olopeng told the 30 coaching graduates who attended the week-long training course organised by Francistown Regional Football Association (FRAFA) that though football was a hobby, they should turn the passion into a business. He said it was evident that football being the biggest and loved sport in the whole world was now losing momentum in Botswana because it was taken as a hobby.
Olopeng appealed to coaches to take the business community seriously when they invested in their teams for continued support. He advised graduates to exercise professionalism at all times and to apply themselves.
"Don't claim to know something that you don't know, ask for help," he said.
He said some still believed that growing football from the grassroots was BFA mandate when in fact it was the responsibility of every stakeholder in the administration of football. He appealed to graduates to utilise the knowledge they gained from the course saying there were many teams out there without qualified coaches that required their investment.
Further, Olopeng said the world football governing body, FIFA took a decision that all women football structures would be coached by women in order to develop women in the sport and for them to participate at all levels and structures. Speaking at the same event, FRAFA chairperson, Mookaneng Bontshetsi said the core mandate of BFA at regional level was to develop football from grassroots level. He appealed to the graduates to take advantage of the training and utilise the knowledge and skills they gained and be involved for their teams to develop.
Bontshetsi appreciated that the course came at the right time when there was serious shortage of trained coaches in the Francistown region.
The chairperson complained that there was only one female coach attending the course against the nine women teams in the region adding that such was a disappointment on the side of women. Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, district youth coordinator in Francistown, Minkie Bokole was hopeful that the graduates would make a huge change to their teams. She explained that the training was a welcome development in football in the Francistown region.
Bokole said government, through the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture would continue to support sport at all levels adding that the ministry's mandate was to see different stakeholders train their constituents.
"It is in our interest to see teams, managers and the sporting industry as a whole growing and becoming professionals and businesses," she said.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>