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Friends or Enemies of Football?

They were touted as Messiahs when they were elected into office. They were seen by many as the saviours who had arrived to save our football and turn it around. They were touted as the new broom that would sweep clean. They were seen as an administration that would push our football forward. They are Friends of Football group led by BFA President Tebogo Sebego. That is the erstwhile Friends of Football.

As things stand right now, public confidence is quickly waning and questions have been asked as to whether they are indeed Friends of Football as was believed to be as they sold themselves as.

Some have already started to term them as 'Enemies of Football'. This is mainly because they seem to have gone off the rails. First things first; Friends of Football was voted into office after a fierce battle in the last BFA elective Assembly that had to vote for the President. Tebogo Sebego led the faction and ascended to the Presidency of the Association. His ascendency to the BFA Presidency was greeted with fanfare and optimism. The football family’s hopes were raised and they expected a complete turnaround from the controversy riddled BFA tenures of the past. When they campaigned and eventually took office, the Sebego led Friends of Football clique were saying all the right things and all that they said was good music to our ears. There were a few sceptics but on the whole, there was general approval and a mood of expectancy.

It all started with the 100-day pledge and all looked rosy. Even the report by Sebego on what he had set out for himself in the first 100 days in office made for good media reports.  At the time he was seemingly saying the right things. He was bullish about what he planned to do and what he was doing. He was asking for time and not for people to judge in just a couple of months. And then BOOOOMM!! It all went haywire. Scandal after scandal ensued. Skeleton after skeleton tumbled out of the closet. Some of them very closely linked to the leadership. Some of them administrative issues. Some of them ego clashes. Some of them downright irresponsibility. And Sebego has since gone quiet. While all hell breaks loose, he has seemingly gone into hiding. I have talked to a few of my journalits friends and they say he always gives them the proverbial ‘it is an internal matter’ answer.  This has now bred this nothing that what was once Friends of Football is now ‘Enemies of Football’. And as things stand, the Sebego led BFA administration is not doing much to reclaim confidence as scandal after scandal hits the association.  The disillusionment with the current BFA leadership has built up over a couple of months and incidents. The pressure has been building up with every unsavoury incident.

The latest incidents, that broke the horses back, involve BFA technical Director Benny Kgomela and Sebego’s golden Boy Tariq Babitseng, who have been suspended. These suspensions come hot on the heels

of the National Team debacles that rocked relations recently. Kgomela has been suspended for having sanctioned some payments on his own and his alleged public spat with National Team assistant coach Pio Paul. Babitseng, who was Sebego’s foot soldier in the campaign trail, has since ascended to the Vice President – Administration position. In a short time he has been implicated in two incidents of misappropriation of funds.

The first time around he managed to weave his way out of trouble, but this time around even his dear friend in Sebego has not been able to avert the suspension as the BNSC has been in his face.   I’m not one to make judgement, and I will assume Babitseng is innocent until proven otherwise; but being implicated in similar incidents one after the other doesn’t augur well for Sebego and Babitseng’s standing and reputation. The poor results of the National team have not helped the situation. 

As it is right now, the credibility, integrity and reputation of the BFA is maybe at its lowest. It cannot get lower than this. Football followers, atleast those who have voiced out something, have shown their displeasure at what is happening at the mother body. Although it will be denied, as is usually the case, the Botswana National Sports Council is said to be unhappy with the going-ons at BFA and have in the recent past written the Association strongly worded correspondence with regards some of these gaffes that continue to dog the BFA. As I have posited before, it seems like the BFA never wants to be out of the news for long, and if there is any organisation that hogs headlines for the wrong reasons, it is the BFA. Quite frankly some of the gaffes are avoidable, and could and should have been avoided.

There are persistent reports of financial mismanagement, internal bickering, maladministration, backstabbing and misappropriation of funds. Surely this shouldn’t be the case for a faction that sold itself as coming to sweep clean. As the leader, the buck stops with Sebego and I must say he has been let down by some of his trusted lieutenants.

Ideally, whoever considers himself or herself as a ‘Friend of Football’ would be doing all in their power to get the BFA house in order and get our Football going in the right direction. Sebego has done very well, but his gains have been reversed and in a big way and overshadowed by the negatives that have been hogging the news. And people have now started asking themselves if they are indeed Friends of Football or they are now Enemies of Football.

YoungManPal Uncut




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