Sunday, September 19, 2021

Ambitious VTM Football Club to beat the less travelled paths

Among the many football clubs in Botswana, premier league included, VTM Football Club may yet be the most ambitious of the lot.

Still playing in the dusty grounds of the Kweneng Regional Football Association (KRFA), this newly formed team may offer some lessons to the so called local professional clubs.

Whilst team owner Vincent Mafuta would differ with this analogy and humbly proclaim, they are learning from the big teams in local football, listening to him makes the contrary true.

VTM FC came to the fore when it bought the KRFA first division status of Masitaoka Football Club after the latter had bought a First Division league status.

Despite it being financed by VTM Security, which is owned by Mafuta, the club does not harbour any rushed ambitions to be in the elite league.

For now, he says they are happy to spend time in the lower divisions while learning the ins and outs of running a football team.

Rather, as Mafuta puts it, ‘they do not want to jump any steps’ in their ambitious plan to be among the elite and have adopted a long-term approach.

“Our belief is that for us to have any sustainable future now and in future when we get into the elite league, we have to do the basics right first,” he says.

These basics, he opines, include setting up the team’s own facilities, which will include the team village as well as training and playing facilities.

Already, the team has secured a place where it will set up its own facilities. “We want to have a place where our team can be found, the team’s own place,” he says.

With the land now secured, Mafuta says the intention is to start work on the facilities as soon as all planning requirements are fulfilled.

“When the time is right, we will be calling the media to unveil our proposed plans for the VTM FC facilities,” he says.

As the team is not flush with a lot of monies, Mafuta says they plan to punch within their weight and build the facilities in phases.

The plan for them is that by the time the team reaches the elite league, most of the facilities will be functional.

“From watching different teams, we realised that the main struggle is having own playing facilities. We intend to have our own place where we can host our matches. This will save us costs for our home games,” he says.

The expansive facilities, Mafuta says, will also include academy training facilities where the team intends to nurture its own talent for first team and export.

“Our plan is to develop our own players who will then graduate into our senior team or will be exported abroad,” Mafuta explains.

Already, he says they are looking to create partnerships with teams across the world where they can send some of the talents.

“Recently, I was in Qatar and I had meetings with some of the teams there. They informed me on the kind of players they need and we have an idea of what is required,” he says.

“We are hopeful that our soon to be unveiled technical sponsor will also help us create pathways across Africa and the world to facilitate our growth,” Mafuta adds.

He says they want a football model that will make it easy for them to export talent to leagues in the corridors of Europe to enhance the chances of local players making it into the best leagues in Europe and the world.

Mafuta says by churning out talent from their facilities and exporting it, they believe they will be able to sustain their development programmes as well as their club.

Even with the backing of VTM Security, the VTM FC founder believes the team cannot afford to overspend or grow faster than the company.

Rather, he is of the view that there has to be a balance between both VTM Security and VTM FC ambitions.

“We are a division 1 club and we will continue to behave like a regional division 1 club,” he says.

As such, he says all thirty registered players at the team are also employees of VTM Security.

“They get their monthly salaries as employees of VTM Security while VTM FC offers them bonusses for performances in the football field,” he explains.

To achieve their ambition, Mafuta says the club is working had in hand with the Botswana Football Association (BFA) with the latter providing them with much needed guidance.

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