Inside BFAs cow horn formation

Rivals: BFA vice president (Technical), Marshlow Motlogelwa and president Tebogo Sebego
Rivals: BFA vice president (Technical), Marshlow Motlogelwa and president Tebogo Sebego

Feared Zulu warrior and king, Shaka Zulu was widely known for infamously ambushing his opponents with the cow horn formation. His army would move to form a horn around the enemy and then strike with devastating consequences, making this one of the feared forces of the time. And now, Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Tebogo Sebego finds himself at the centre of a raging horn sharpened by his own warriors, observes Staff Writer, MQONDISI DUBE

Sebego finds himself viciously surrounded, facing friendly fire from within the walls of Lekidi Centre. It was unimaginable just over a year ago that Sebego would come face-to-face with an internal revolt as attempts to uproot him steadfastly gain traction.

And with each passing step, the football waters are getting muddier as the country’s biggest sporting code prepares for an elective congress expected between July and August next year.

Sebego would not have envisaged the first shot to be fired from within the Lekidi Centre compound. But the sounds of a cocking gun have been heard with a challenger increasingly likely to come from within his own executive committee.

In 2011, Sebego, then BFA legal advisor, announced his intentions to challenge his president, David Fani and overwhelming cantered to a routine victory, under the banner of the ‘Friends of Football’.

Four years down the line, a similar situation is playing itself out, but this time around Sebego is at the top end, starring down the barrel. When Sebego took charge in 2012, he, synonymous with most leaders, began a silent purge to remove those perceived to be Fani sympathisers.

In came ‘Friends of Football’ and the pieces of the puzzle were perfectly in place.  However, the ‘Friends of Football’ boat was rocked when then vice president (technical), Enerst Nthobelang left and a key piece in the puzzle, Tariq Babitseng, vice president (administration), was suspended. This ultimately proved to be the turning point as Marshlow Motlogelwa was elevated to the key post of vice president (technical) while Basadi Akoonyatse replaced Babitseng.

Babitseng was dismissed after an investigation into a Zebras trip to Guinea Bissau unearthed financial irregularities.

He was a key figure in a gruelling ‘Friends of Football’ campaign, which hinged largely on commercialising local football. The former First Division South chairperson was seen as a key Sebego ally and his departure left the president ruthlessly exposed. His foes did not hesitate to move in.  One of the mentioned main actors in the thickening plot is First Division North chairperson and BFA executive member, Eatametse Olopeng, who had a protracted battle with Sebego.

He is said to be the mastermind behind manoeuvres to remove Sebego and have Motlogelwa act as president. This would then give Motlogelwa leverage to fortify his campaign. Motlogelwa was expectedly cagey when asked about his intentions. “I have no intentions to stand. But if I want to stand no one can stop me. I have been approached but at the moment I am constrained and I don’t want to stand,” Motlogelwa said.

Insiders said Motlogelwa is bidding his time and will continuously monitor the mood before taking the plunge.

Sources said Sebego had confronted Motlogelwa over reports he intended to stand with the president asking his vice to come clean. But Motlogelwa reportedly denied intending to challenge his boss.  In the ensuing fight for the top post, the new BFA chief executive officer, Kitso Kemoeng, has been targeted due to his association with Sebego.

There are fears that as jostling intensifies, operations are likely to suffer as Sebego’s rivals reportedly refuse to endorse whatever the president brings to the table.  Some pending contracts have already fallen victim as focus shifts from the ball to the man.

“The effects are massive, clearly there is sabotage at the moment as anything brought by the president is trashed.

It’s going to be a long period before the elections. Sebego had made it clear that he is done with issues of factions and wanted the committee to work together, but the pending elections have an adverse effect on relations,” a source said.  Sebego was reportedly prepared to throw in the towel in the face of hostility from within his own executive, but was urged to soldier on.

The deteriorating situation comes as a first real test since Sebego assumed power more than three years ago.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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