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Khama Urges Commitment From Football Leaders

BOITUMELO KHUTSAFALO
Ian Khama receiving token if appreciation from Maclean Letshwiti.PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Former president and patron of the Botswana Football Association (BFA), Ian Khama has urged football leaders to jealously guard against individuals who only want to come into football for perceived potential personal benefits or gains.

Speaking at the BFA general assembly on Saturday, Khama said strife and competition for positions of leadership continue to be a major challenge for Botswana football, threatening the solid foundation laid by the past and present BFA leadership.

He said such things constitute a major impediment to the development of football within the Association’s structures.

“While the BFA is working hard to make strides by enticing other stakeholders to partner with the association in the development of football in the country, many situations seem to be intractable,” he said.  Khama also told delegates at the assembly that since the BFA is the creation of a constitution, it is imperative that the delegates do whatever they do within the provisions of the constitution as disciplined members of the association.

He said disregard for the constitution will only lead to tensions amongst members, scare away potential partners, and ultimately undermine football development for which BFA exists.

He said it is not always how long someone has been involved in football to marshal the most interesting and innovative ideas.

“Even the novices have the ability to change the landscape of football in the country.  With properly structured youth development programmes and appropriate investment, we have noticed small countries like Iceland and Panama making maiden appearances at the 2018 World Cup. In short, a good new idea, well planned, persuasively presented, and patiently negotiated can become part of the football agenda even if it comes from a rookie,” Khama said.

Khama also said the reality today is that the achievement of national teams is very much linked to the proper structures that promote youth development. 

He

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said there is need to emphasise a linear integration from grassroots right up to elite to significantly build strong national leagues and ultimately national teams that will compete regionally, continentally and internationally.

“A forward-looking BFA has crafted an ambitious youth development programme to change the landscape of football in Botswana. This requires self-determination and sacrifices for this noble course to be achieved. Some, no doubt, may have quibbled about this ambitious yet achievable vision of youth development and about what in fact constituted a viable idea to embark on,” he said. 

He added that countries these days embrace youth development as a cornerstone to achieve in competitions.

“I have learnt with pleasure that Botswana youth development programme has earned much accolades with FIFA and it was beamed at the 2018 FIFA congress in Russia as best practice for others to emulate. BFA cooperation agreements with Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund (DOSB) through Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) for coach education and talent identification will complement well with the world class football academy that I am informed is in the pipeline,” he said.

Earlier, the BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti had informed the delegates and the BFA patron that the association is currently facing challenges.  He said the current leadership inherited huge debt when they assumed office two years ago.

“We face serious litigation from our creditors.  It is only a matter of time before creditors close the association.  We continue to engage with some creditors with a view to ask them to give us time to sort ourselves on the matter,” he said. He said the other challenge remains regional offices.



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