*Dear Editor. Without a doubt, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) president like any other public leader has a duty to reconcile factions within the organisation he leads.
Sadly, from time immemorial, local football has been hamstrung by scheming, collusion and plotting, gossip, envy, back-biting and above all the deadly common syndrome of incompetence, a consequence of which is lack of sponsorship and poor results by national teams.
The other glaring consequence is the frustrating inability to commercialise the game. The responsibility to reconcile and preach peace is automatic. In fact, more often than not, this is a yard stick with which people judge new leadership they have put in place.
This duty becomes inevitable and expected. Football is the most popular sports code, followed by millions of people locally and around the world. It is his duty to make sure that all stakeholders are in synch, are at peace with each other for the sake of progress of the development of the game. The president must work with everybody who seeks to contribute to the game.
But there is a catch! While the president’s door must be open for and to everyone, the factionalists and those who lost the elections must also be willing to concede that he is in charge, and that he’s president, and that they have lost, and that they will genuinely support him and his executive committee going forward.
Let’s be honest MacLean Letshwiti has done reasonably well in building partnerships, especially with the business community as evidenced by a mass influx of partnerships recently concluded by the League and the BFA.
The confidence has grown substantially hence the interest in the game by companies who had initially shown a negative disposition towards football. This is encouraging. Letshwiti has turned BFA into a body that not only exudes integrity but also that is at work through a plethora of the contracts signed recently.
We must also be honest that it is largely his stature and business acumen, which have attracted these entities to the beautiful game. Letshwiti’s radical development programme has consequently led to the much anticipated, never seen before-state of the art academy at Lekidi.
The president is immersed in a serious and proactive agenda to bring about not just change but a collective narrative of progress anchored on unity. Unity of all who wish to see
Chief amongst Letshwiti’s promises during his campaign was decisiveness, and he promised to crack the whip where order is compromised. This is not purging. It is correctional procedure intent on instilling the integrity of football where people have abused the BFA and taken advantage of poor internal controls.
The president preached peace repeatedly during his campaign. He actually even embraced the idea of ‘forgiveness and reconciliation’ when asked by the media during the much-heated debate at Tlotlo Conference, live on television. However, when you assume the power and responsibility such as the office of BFA president, and assume other football related duties such as FIFA Disciplinary Committee membership, attention to the trivial but existing syndrome of factionalism gains momentum anchored by those who would have lost the elections and secondly those who refuse to accept the president as the new man in charge.
Now, you don’t focus on these, you focus on the people who have a responsibility to deliver football to the people, wherever they are. I want to assume this is the posture Letshwiti & Company have adopted in relation to the syndrome of factionalism which is essentially a consequence of envy and denial.
The president is quite busy. He has a duty to build a legacy, to bring about a product that is anchored on integrity and professionalism.
The malice and untruths that often dominate the media about the president having abdicated his duty of peace and reconciliation are motivated by those who have failed before, and whose preoccupation is to come in and thwart progress and misappropriate funds.
Our football has never known the kind of money coming in now, and without factionalism and collusion, we could see a much more organised BFA, a consequence of which would be more competitive national teams in the New Year. My deepest request is to allow Letshwiti & Company space to run and deliver us good football. Once we start playing good football, we will all unite under one brand, the Zebras.
*Rapelang Rasesa, Gaborone