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Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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First Cut

Botswana must take part in CAF club games
By Staff Writer Mon 19 Nov 2018, 08:00 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: First Cut








The last team to participate in a Confederation of African club tournament in Botswana was Police XI way back in 2006. The Jungle Kings did not do well as they were knocked out by Nigeria's Enugu Rangers 3-2 on aggregate in the CAF Champions League preliminary rounds.

Thereafter, ECCO City Greens, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, BMC and Gaborone United declined participation on account of limited funds. This has been a sore thing with a number of people who think this compromises the development of the game in the country. My focus however is not the lack of funds or lack of participation therefore, but as to how other teams from very poor league do it. Year in and year out, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is one of the countries in Africa with the weakest economies, has teams participating in CAF. Clubs like AS Vita, St Puisant Lupopo, TP Mazembe and DC Motemba Pembe - all from DRC - are constant participants in the CAF club organised competition. I would challenge the Botswana Football Association (BFA) executive through its secretariat to enquire from the DRC how their teams manage. Other teams that are a constant feature are those from Mali, especially Djoliba and Stade Malien yet, comparatively speaking, Mali is one of the poorest countries in Africa as well. Closer home we have teams from Zimbabwe. Well the sorry state of Zimbabwe's economy is legendary but still their clubs are so motivated that they can even beat teams from Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Africa.

Last year, the country's glamour club Dynamos under the guidance of David "Yogi" Mandigora managed to reach the semi-finals of the CAF Champions league. This was quite a remarkable feet given the fact that teams from South Africa, despite a relative abundance of resources always get knocked out during the preliminary stages. A few weeks ago, Zimbabwe's Monomotapa booted out Ajax Cape Town of South Africa from the competition and just last week accounted for the scalp of perennial participants ASEC Mimosa of Ivory Coast. This without doubt is a big boost for Zimbabwean football.

But why is Botswana always failing; where do these teams, which are coming from very poor countries, get the money to travel? Something is wrong somewhere with our set up.

Perhaps we are so much attached to the South African and English league that we have become blind to our reality. There is therefore need to compare our set up with countries that share a common set up with us. Why should teams from Rwanda, DRC, Mali and Zimbabwe manage to do well in Africa even when their countries are struggling badly-economically that is.

The BFA chief executive officer (CEO), Mooketsi 'Tosh' Kgotlele together with the association's technical director Losika "Six" Keatlholetswe must

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go on some fact-finding mission to these countries, look at their set ups and how they have managed to improvise. Yes, we can use South Africa as a benchmark on other things but I have a feeling clubs in SA are too advanced that we cannot immediately close the gap. For example, almost all the first division and premier league teams in South Africa are privately-owned or belong to families. Those who own or run the clubs do so as a strictly business entity. That is the guys are in there to make money using the football industry hence there is always frequent changes of hands or the clubs get liquidated because the level of bankruptcy used to be high prior to the television deal. This is one thing we in Botswana have to take cognizance of.  When one looks at clubs like Bulawayo Highlanders and Dynamos in Zimbabwe, one gets a feeling that in terms of structure, those clubs resemble more the Botswana structure albeit a difference in the management structure. This brings me to the other point of the way forward for our football structure and would urge BFA vice president for administration to champion the cause for change vis--vis the BFA constitution and best operating structure for our teams. We have to look to as many models as possible and probably come up with our own hybrid model.

What makes teams like TP Mazembe, AS Vita, St Puisant Lupopo and DC Motema Pembe in the DRC tick given the economic situation of that country? We need to broaden our horizon than just focus on South Africa. As for CAF club competition, I am eager to see how our teams will perform next year given the good run by DRC and Zimbabwean teams, which are using mostly local coaches as they cannot afford the expensive foreign ones. 

Samuel Ramosweu
The senior national team, the Zebras, better forget about Samuel Ramosweu (formely Samuel Maposa). In fact I wonder why he has been called to camp when his national status shows that he is now a South African. Are we so much desperate for him? I think not. The boy should be left to carry on with his life in South Africa up until such time that he decides to play for Botswana. But that said, the Zebras ought to change its approach. Of the games that I have watched, the team is only good playing in its own half but when advancing to the last quarter of the pitch, it runs out of ideas but yet become very vulnerable on the counter. We also need some urgency in our play so that we cannot be predictable. Let's hope that the UB stadium will ultimately be available for the New Zealand game.

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