Botswana: BFA, Constituency League Negotiations On

Tsabong — Negotiations are ongoing between Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) to strike a common ground where resources will be pulled together for the development of football.

This was said by BFA national executive committee member, Alec Monyake during a panel discussion on football in Tsabong. The discussion was part of the five-days training for football administrators titled: Operation time for change.It was organised by the BFA and led by FIFA development officer for Southern Africa and Eastern African region, Ashford Mamelodi.

Monnyake said the constituency league had been a thorny issue as football administrators had been up in arms against the league which affected the development of BFA registered teams.

He said despite the challenges, the league also had merits which could work for the improvement of football through collaboration.

"Our negotiations have never stopped, I cannot go into the details because we are still on. We will get solutions as time goes on. We are going somewhere," he told football administrators.

Conversely, Mamelodi noted that the constituency league carried lots of positives, saying it must be regulated as normal football along with other leagues which were fragmented.

He said the league, which was popularly used as a recreational sporting activity by the youth and elders alike, especially in villages needed to be brought within the BFA fold so that football could develop.

BFA technical director, Tshepo Mophokothi said laws were in place to ensure that mainstream football was not affected by the league. The BFA modified laws regarding constituency league and one such law barred players registered with BFA to play in the constituency league.

"We don't want them to leave their teams, however, registered players are allowed to participate in the league as administrators, coaches, referees, linesmen but not as players," he stated. Another law, he said, was that pupils were not allowed to play in the constituency league.

He was responding to a question asked by the chairperson of Black Rangers, Mpho Molope who wanted to know how far the negotiations were with MYSC on the constituency league. The football administrator had expressed concern that in Kgalagadi South there was a time when the football league had stopped because a lot of players had left their football teams to play in constituency teams.

He said they were not surprised as the constituency league offered better incentives when compared to mainstream football.

"But when we look at our development plans, we had groomed those players as the constituency league money was not used for development. What impact does the constituency league have in growing football from the grassroots level to the elite league?"

Black Rangers manager, Tebogo Mmile called for progress on programmes that BFA came up with to develop football. According to him, the BFA had a tendency of coming up with different programmes such as 'Bosele Declaration' which he said ended in the whirlwind and now a new programme 'Operation time for change' had come up. "Where are the results of the previous programmes?" he asked.

In response, Mamelodi admitted that the results of the previous programme did not have much impact.

"I was part of the FIFA team at Selebi Phikwe in February 2008 when we had a workshop for premier league clubs. We were hoping to develop a strategy of how to transform our clubs at the premier league level. Nothing happened and I believe that had we followed the programme to the latter, things would have been different," he said.

Nonetheless, he implored football administrators to not cry over spilled milk and ensure that they maximised on the new 'Operation time for change.'

He said the current BFA management under Maclean Letshwiti wanted to transform football by developing football at lower levels, and for everyone to take responsibility rather than wait for someone to initiate.

"As football lovers, we shouldn't sit here and say Ministry of Youth or somebody should come and build a stadium for us. We should take the initiative with the resources that we have and do what we can in our regions. We can offer to fence a stadium so that we maximise the resources that are coming in through gate takings.

Operation time for change means that we are now doing football bottom up," he said. Mamelodi encouraged administrators to work as a collective and keep the fire burning. He said for the programme to have an impact on football transformation, they should focus on building their clubs rather than be distracted by their support for developed teams outside the country.

"For example, Black Rangers can become a Kaizer Chiefs of this country. We support these big teams and we forget to develop our local football," he said.

Source : BOPA

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