It is a pivot, that holds sport’s most volatile constituency together, but at the same time, it is a space where only eagles dare fly.
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) chief executive officer’s post has, over the years, become a notorious revolving door.
No less than nine officers have held the position either on a permanent or interim basis since Mooketsi ‘Tosh’ Kgotlele’s departure in April 2010. The last person to complete his term was Thabo ‘Stiles’ Ntshinogang, who served between 2004 and 2007 before Kgotlele took over.
Since then, the post has proved to be the association’s poisoned chalice as successive candidates come and go.
However, in recent times, there has been a modicum of sanity after the frenzy of the last nine years. The incumbent, Mfolo Mfolo was appointed in September 2017, as a little known person in football circles.
But he has managed to cling on, though not without the usual storms that have ruthlessly swept aside his predecessors.
Mfolo’s contract was renewed last year, but reports indicate an uncertain future, with the guillotine hovering menacingly over him.
Praised as a non-partisan dove amongst hawks, Mfolo has reportedly stirred the hornet’s nest on certain occasions, leaving his future threadbare.
It is reported that Mfolo has come close to the exit door on occasions, and while he has stayed for more than two years, like his predecessors, it could be a matter of when.
Mfolo, would feel he deserves kudos, as he nears three years at Lekidi Centre, in a rare story of stability in recent times.
In August, Mfolo, who is on a secondment from the Ministry of Basic Education, would mark his third anniversary at the BFA, but he is acutely aware of how quick the tide can turn. Respected football administrator, Ashford Mamelodi who once served as BFA CEO, believes the environment should be more enabling for the office bearers.
“In my opinion, there are basically two problems. This is based on my own personal experiences and my engagement in different fora including training a good number of CEOs in football and other sports bodies in some African countries.
The first is that people are appointed as CEOs and then not allowed the time and space to do their work.
Micro management is the order of the day, although it conflicts with good governance,” the former FIFA development officer said.
“The second is a school of thought that
Not until leadership at the BFA accord their CEOs due respect and recognition, allow only the president, direct oversight role over the secretariat, including holding the CEO accountable, will the problem be resolved anytime soon,” Mamelodi added.
Former BFA CEO, Kitso Kemoeng concurs politics is the key reason why there has been a high turnover of secretariat heads at the association. “The instability of CEOs at the BFA is a product of politics. Until such time the quality of the NEC members rises to the level of the corporate sector, the instability will continue. Once minimum requirements are set and met, it should also be a constitutional requirement that every new leadership should bring in their own CEO, a process that should start with the campaign.
“But this can only be achieved if members of the executive in waiting are of the right quality to participate in the process and to support the CEO once in office,” said Kemoeng, who is former Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) CEO.
He said if the appointment of the CEO were a collective responsibility, instability would be minimised. “It should not be left to the president as other members would hide behind that to harass both the president and the CEO.
“The other due diligence step would be to commit members to signing a commitment to the Board Charter, assuming one is in place. In this way, there would be order,” Kemoeng said.
He added, the CEO should be of the right calibre and well remunerated. Kemoeng said should identifies suitors well before they are even voted into office, to avoid depending on BFA funds, as in most cases they are not aware of the amount available.
Previous BFA CEO since 2010
July 2007- April 2010 Mooketsi ‘Tosh’ Kgotlele
September 2010-August 2011 Judge Mookodi
August 2011- October 2011 Tlhagiso ‘Sonnyboy’ Sethibe
October 2011- January 2013 Duncan Kgame
January 2013-January 2013 - Tariq Babitseng (acting)
February 2013-February 2015 Keith Masters
March 2015- July 2015 Susan Monametsi (acting)
July 2015- December 2016 Kitso Kemoeng
March 2017- August 2017 Ookeditse Malesu
September 2017- date Mfolo Mfolo