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Letshwiti embraces Africa's transformation agenda

STAFF WRITER
Revamping facilities: FIFA wants better stadiums for all African countries PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
FIFA is pushing through a raft of proposals meant to benefit African football, following a recent symposium in Morocco.

Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Maclean Letshwiti, who attended the meeting, believes these would be the ultimate game changers.

Letshwiti arrived this week back from the Morocco meeting addressed by FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.

There is a proposed club league which will feature the continent’s top teams, expected to generate revenue for the teams.

FIFA has also proposed raising $1billion to fund the construction of world class stadia across all CAF members.

“This is what we are talking about as Botswana, and I support this idea that we need a state-of-the-art stadium. A stadium is not just a playing field, but a platform where you can generate money, run it like a business.”

This is meant to enhance the ambiance at matches as Infantino noted that the standard of facilities was poor, Letshwiti said. Another potential game changer is the full time employment of referees, who would be paid by FIFA. Letshwiti said the standard of officiating was seen as low, and in order to enhance the game’s

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profile, professional referees were considered.

Botswana stands to benefit from the changes, argues Letshwiti, as FIFA adopts a more aggressive approach towards uplifting the game in one of its largest constituencies.

CAF is the second largest confederation, with 54 members, but has consistently lagged behind the rest of the FIFA members, due to the poor administration of the game.

“He asked why UEFA is able to raise billions but CAF doesn’t. We broke into groups to discuss all these issues,” Letshwiti said.

There has been a proposal to move the Africa Cup of Nations from a biennial to a quadrennial tournament. He said there was need to move towards professional leagues, rather than social football.

“What he was saying to us is that we have to up the game. Football can contribute to economy of the country. If we do the basics, this is the start of facelifting football.

Experts are now at work, developing models around the symposium. What he wanted to get, was our input.”



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