Gaborone — Botswana Defence Force XI (BDF X1) has been urged to emulate London professional football club Arsenal, which was formed by a group of army officers in 1886.
Speaking at a Botswana Premier League transformation workshop with BDF XI on Wednesday, Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Maclean Letshwiti said the club had capable to become a household name in the country.
Letshwiti told the BDF commander, Lt Gen. Placid Segokgo that BDF could not continue to fund the club, but should instead commercialise it to enable it to raise revenue.
When talking about professionalising the game, Letshwiti said because club licensing was never implemented in Botswana until FIFA made it a prerequisite to participate in the international competitions, they were forced to professionalise football.
He said FIFA and CAF were advocating for change in the game, adding that Botswana had 20 years to make the quantum changes, but decided to ignore the Bosele Declaration.
"As it is, we are now forced, we have no choice, if BDF X1 or any club in Botswana does not meet club licensing requirements, they would never play at international competitions," he said.
Letshwiti said professionalising was a proper way of doing things at club level.
He said BFA was a society and therefore could not run the commercial wing of football, hence need to privitise premier league to make it an investment arm of the BFA.
"But for that, we need strong shareholders, if the clubs are weak, we cannot have a strong Premier League," he said.
BDF XI chairperson, Brigadier Rapula, acknowledged that the club needed to put more emphasis on the development side and consolidate its data base.
"Every time I approach sponsors, they want to know how many supporters we have. Therefore, we need to embark on a serious recruitment drive," he said.
Source : BOPA