Football awards reduced to a popularity contest

The inaugural Botswana Football Association (BFA) awards have come and gone and the mother body must be commended for its move to reward excellence.

But in the excitement of hosting the first ever BFA awards, some logic appears to have been lost. The awards, like in any contest, brewed some shockers due to the manner in which the competition was tailored. For starters, awards that are given based on a public voting system are not likely to be objective and do not give a balanced outcome. The voting reduces the whole process into a popularity contest. Only those that garner more votes will win, sadly sending merit flying out of the window. Merit should be the bedrock of any process that seeks to reward excellence. But it looks like the cash-strappred BFA probably had an eye and a half eye on the money to be generated from the votes.

It is understandable that the BFA is keen to widen its revenue streams, but at the same time people should not lose sight of the underlying reasons for having an event like the one for Saturday, that is, to reward excellence. Instead of recognising and rewarding excelling individuals, at the end of the day, it became a trophy for the popular. I have nothing against TAFIC (in fact I am a fan of their Facebook page administrator) but how were they paraded as the best team for winning a regional competition baffles the mind. Galaxy and Gaborone United won national competitions in the league and the Orange FA Cup respectively. In terms of weighting, these two competitions have more value compared to winning the First Division title, unless if I am missing something. What sets TAFIC apart from Matebele, who were winners of the same First Division competition in their respective region? What is Granada FC's claim to fame other than that they had more family and relatives voting for the team?

Double Action's achievements need no mention. This is a team that has effectively competed in a tough CAF Champions League qualifier and won local competitions to become the undisputed queens of women's football. But the awards will tell you these statistics and achievements are a lie and therefore need to be ignored as Granada FC was the best in the business in the year under review. I have massive respect for Seemo Mpatane, a young coach who has really redefined the coaching narratives and defied odds operating on a shoe-string budget. While there were murmurs of disapproval from some quarters, I think it was a deserved award although the favourite would naturally be Morena Ramoreboli, who at the moment is arguably the best among his peers.

But Galaxy is cash-rich and already an established club while Eleven Angels is a grouping of ambition but without the resources. Therefore, the Mpatane one can be argued. But as for TAFIC and Granada FC, while not their fault they won the award, they know it was nothing but a case of more votes than merit. They played according to the rules and no one can blame them. Clearly, the organisers were more after the cash which undermined the integrity of the process as merit was ruthlessly sacrificed for profit.

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