Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Maclean Letshwiti will seek a second term when delegates converge in Francistown for an elective General Assembly on August 22. In response to a Mmegi Sport questionnaire, Letshwiti talks about the 5,000 jobs target, and the reason why he decided to run for a second term after his initial indication he will only stand for one term
Mmegi Sport: People would want to know about the 5,000 jobs, what happened?
Letshwiti: The 5 000 jobs was a political statement, it was a dream. It is a possible dream if all structures are in place. It’s achievable, that’s why we are busy trying to put together a solid coherent and functional structure in place. It’s possible because football is multifaceted, and there is a lot of jobs from all sectors of the game, both informal and formal. The PSL is at 13000 jobs as we speak. We can achieve 5000 if we work hard at it.
Forms of jobs are categorized as casual, temporary, contract and Permanent and Pensionable. The construction of the artificial turf created some form of employment for the locals and currently one individual who was with the construction company has been hired on full time basis to maintain the artificial turf. The youth elite league hired 20 youth coaches and 20 assistant coaches. The league has a multipliers effect in the contribution of the economic. We used combi for the teams within the locality where the leagues were played and henceforth supported the transport industry. The teams were fed and therefore this means the food industry was also supported. In essence we supported the job market indirectly in that way. The Selibe Phikwe case study, when the mine closed, all jobs indirectly related to the mine of Selibe Phikwe were lost
Mmegi Sport: You had indicated that one term is sufficient, why are you running for a second?
Letshwiti: Yes, that’s true. Only to find out that my team and I were inheriting a complete mess. A BFA that is P10, 5million in the red with less or no corporate governance in place. A federation that had been hit by corruption and with very little attention to structures. The focus for the past administration was simply to play football. We now suddenly found ourselves having to deal with debts, to deal with collapsed stakeholder relations and a shockingly dysfunctional association. We restructured everything and as you see, a lot of progress has been made. I had mentioned that I will take one term and then step down. However, I could not foresee what environment was at BFA before I assumed office. Henceforth what are encountered once in office prompted me to re-think because I would have left an unfinished business with the Football Association
Mmegi Sport. What were your major achievements?
Letshwiti: We brought sponsors on board. For the first time ever, all the tele companies in the country are now sponsoring football. The confidence FIFA has on BFA. Pilot projects for Women Football Strategy and Football for Schools. We have just registered a company in respect of the BPL that will drive and accelerate our commercialization process. We have done a great deal of coach education, referees education and even media workshops. The youth development structures are now running and
Mmegi Sport: People say you had a hand in the initial vetting out of your rivals, what's your comment?
Letshwiti: It’s a silly season as you know elections time. Look, I was not part of the Electoral board. It’s a team of competent people who I actually found in place. Did you see the caliber of the people in that team? How do I even begin to influence them? Why did I not influence the Appeals body? I actually kept quiet to give them space to do their job. I did the same when the Appeals board reversed the decision of the Elections Board. I did that because I believe in the independence of bodies and the integrity and competence of the configurated people tasked with the job. I am not going to mudsling people; we do not do that where I come from, in the business industry. But let’s be honest, this BFA is not the old BFA where anybody could just come in. We are dealing with public funds, FIFA money, sponsors money. I don’t understand why people would cry and point fingers at me. To be very honest, I am actually happy that everybody is back in the race. Our work must speak for us. I have publicly welcomed competition from the presidential aspirants because football is competition by its nature.
Mmegi Sport: You are running for another term, what is new that you are bringing this time around?
Letshwiti: Mainly to protect our plans. The academy which will the apex of football development. I am running for second term because of the need to see through the implementation of the targets we have set out in motion as a team. We have been working very hard around BFA, but as you see with club licensing and commercialization through the newly registered company, we mean business. The BFA has not had a tax certificate for nearly 20 years and we have just achieved that this week, so my focus is to give BPL autonomy and make it a going concern which can work independently from us as a company. But to achieve this, the clubs need to be proper too. We will also finalize the implementation of the state of the art academy we have agreed on with government and private investors. Only through proper structures can you see a competitive Zebras, a robust but organized league, investor confidence, competitive junior teams, and return of supporters to the stadium. This is what we will do in our second term.