The Botswana Football Association (BFA) yesterday launched the promised Youth Development League in Gaborone with the association saying it is key to a strong national team.
New BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti had anchored his campaign on development.
The league will be played in the 17 regions with competition in the Under-13, 15 and 17 categories.
Speaking at the launch, Letshwiti said the association has recognised the need for a development league in order to form formidable national teams in future. “We want to be more competitive in regional and international competitions. We do not want to be just mere participants and this would start with proper development structures,” he said.
Letshwiti who had promised to create 5,000 jobs during his campaign said the league would create job opportunities for the participants, as they would be able to reach their full potential and make a living out of football.
“The league will help us compete, to develop the youth, to create job opportunities and help the nation to reach its full football potential. The project is massive, is for people with passion. It must be driven by people with passion. I call all the football enthusiasts to come on board to help us drive this project forward,” Letshwiti said.
For his part the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng said the project should be in line with the current government programmes. “We have government programmes
The league would be played in all the 17 regions with over 25,000 participants. The league is expected to start on Saturday, with the official launch held in Gantsi. The winners of the regions will advance to the inter-block where they will fight for a place in the national playoffs.
Speaking to Mmegi Sport after the launch BFA spokesperson, Tumo Mpatane said the new youth development league would not experience officiating problems that marred the local game recently as the BFA has put measures in place to curb such issues. “We would not have those kind of problems with the (youth) league because we would be developing referees too for these games. The BFA will conduct coaching and life skills programmes for aspiring referees as a way of nurturing raw talent,” he said.