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BFA CEO hunt, what’s the kill target?

MQONDISI DUBE
The home of football: The BFA is in the hunt for a new CEO PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is out in the unpredictable thickets of the job market in search of a new Chief Executive Officer. The search is expected to yield a diverse range of candidates as the association looks to plug a gap created by the departure of Mfolo Mfolo in December. But the key question is; what kind of a man or woman is the BFA looking for? asks Staff Writer, MQONDISI DUBE

The departure of long-serving chief executive officer (CEO), Mfolo Mfolo in December, sent the BFA on another familiar hunting expedition.

The BFA is no stranger to the hunt, which has yielded no less than 10 CEOs in the last decade. It is an open secret that the position has become a poisoned chalice, but it still attracts wider interest despite its notoriety.

BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti recently revealed that the position had attracted no less than 23 prospective candidates after a recruitment agency put up the ‘wanted’ advertisement.

While the full identity of the candidates remains unknown, it is without a doubt the position has attracted diverse interest.

The number of candidates still in the contest is down to five, with the recruitment agency expected to trim it to the final two. But the critical question is what kind of a candidate is the BFA looking for. Letshwiti recently said the ideal person should be a strategist able to drive the goals of the association. The BFA has long been reliant on government and FIFA subventions. Letshwiti will no doubt, be looking for a person with a background in the corporate sector, who can diversify the association’s revenue streams. Emphasis will be on good governance, to reshape BFA and dispel lingering notions that the organisation is a notorious fertile breeding ground for corrupt activities and all the vices associated with football politics.

Letshwiti is a businessman who oversees a diverse portfolio of investments. His ascendancy to the BFA post in 2016 was expected to usher in a markedly different approach to administration, with a business-like paradigm shift. He has preached good governance at every corner, but there would be a feeling that there are certain aspects constantly throwing unwanted spanners at his narrative. There has often been criticism that there are a lot of round pegs in square holes, particularly driven by the desire to reward a successful campaign’s foot soldiers.

It cuts across the spectrum, even for national elections where the victors tend to find spots, rightly or wrongly, for the campaign’s torchbearers.

Some might not necessarily fit the bill, but the winning candidate is indebted to their existence, and therefore, has to scratch their back in return. It is often the difference between driving the promises of a campaign and the failure of a well-thought-out plan.

The incumbents, since time immemorial, always find themselves between a rock and hard place; reward foot soldiers with positions or go all out and employ technocrats

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who are capable of delivering on a strategy.

Discarding football soldiers leaves the incumbent vulnerable as he is their political hostage. It will be seen as kicking away the very ladder that took you to the top.  Therefore, foot soldiers will remain an integral part of the BFA and might be more influential than the incumbent. The choice is more often than not, the choice of the loyalists, who hold undoubted influence. They vet the candidates and green light the final choice. This has been a tried and trusted system of governance, across many spectrums. However, it has many pitfalls, primarily in that the winning candidate may not necessarily be the right peg for the hole, but a favourite of a certain section within the institution. Such is the dilemma facing BFA, and in particular, Letshwiti as the search for the CEO reaches its business end. Both ways, the BFA could be damned.

The loyalists have presumably presented their preferred candidates. The BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) has to sift through the varied personnel presented by both the recruitment agency and the loyalists.

According to the description of his preferred candidate, Letshwiti envisages a BFA that is run by a thorough breed, archetypal chief executive officer.

He and his NEC might choose to bite the bullet and go with their instinct, which will obviously mean stuffing cotton swab in their ear canal. It takes a lot of guts, but at times it could be what the doctor has ordered.

If the BFA appoints a professional but impersonal candidate, the leadership has to surrender a certain percentage of their way. A person who is seen as independent does not thrive in a volatile environment where he is expected to toe even blurred lines.

Some CEOs have left the BFA not because they had failed to run the association, where differences are not solely judged based on professional conduct. It might have to do with stepping on the wrong toes or closing certain doors, which have remained lucratively open for some.  Others see the appointment of certain candidates as the imminent closure of the cookie jar, therefore the failure or success of a candidate in a highly politicised environment like the BFA cannot be measured through a basic Performance Management System. The eyes of the public are glued at Lekidi Centre to see what the men and women trusted with the kill, will bring from what appears to be a tough hunt.



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