Voting is a democratic process with the sole aim of representing the voice of the people. That will be the case when the Botswana football fraternity elects its new executive committee on August 9.
As has been the case on previous occasions, the eye grabbing and closely contested position is of the President of the BFA, which is in the hands of Makgalemele.
Interestingly, Makgalemele is challenged by Fani, the man he ousted four years ago. There is a lot of behind the scenes lobbying from the two camps and it is up to soccer regions across the country to elect their preferred BFA president.
Many people are wondering why Fani is coming back because he was actually despised during his tenure five years ago. After his humiliating defeat, Fani was rarely seen in soccer circles and it was thought he would never try to make a come back or would do so in another capacity.
Fani’s main sin then was that football during his tenure was in shambles and he failed to effectively deal with it.
During his time, institutional teams ruled the roost because they won almost everything up for grabs. That, however, did not go well with community teams, saying institutional teams were using government financial muscle to paralyse them.
Teams such as Township Rollers, Gaborone United and Mochudi Centre Chiefs ended up competing in the lower division while BDF XI, Tasc, Police XI, Mogoditshane Fighters and, to some extent, Prisons XI easily recruited their players.
Eventually community teams resorted to forming a parallel soccer body called the Botswana Soccer Association (BOSA). That was the major weapon Makgalemele used to oust Fani.
Fani’s absence from football for such a long period of time, only to resurface when the assemble approaches, has even raised eyebrows in soccer circles.
What new measures he is bringing to football, they ask. Is he coming back with a vengeance, is he going to take football back to the old BFA and BOSA period? These are some of the questions soccer teams are asking themselves.
Even some of Fani’s inner circle buddies, some of whom defected from Makgalemele, are questioning his motives.
Some of them, however, are seen as disgruntled opportunists waiting to bask in Fani’s glory if he wins. Such people are seen as having little soccer interests at heart.
Since Makgalemele took over in 2003, the whole face of soccer changed drastically. Makgalemele’s leadership has been under attack from many teams’ officials and supporters, but everything is on the table for people to see.
Never, in the history of this country, had the national team had a sponsor. Also, the elite league received record-breaking sponsorships that led to many people thronging the stadiums.
The performance of the junior national teams, like the under 23s and 20s, were great cause for national celebration as they reached points they had never reached before.
Township Rollers spokesperson, Molathegi Mangole, did not want to say who the better candidate between the two is or whether changes are needed at the top.
Mangole said both leaders were at the helm at different times of football.
“At the time Fani was in charge, there were these ‘value-added taxes’ but under Makgalemele, we do not see that so it means someone benefited from that,” he said, adding that Makgalemele’s administration had been excellent in terms of marketing as they managed to mobilize many resources for football.
He stressed that Makgalemele’s main undoing was his concentration on the senior national team and the Premier League at the expense of lower leagues and junior teams.
“Generally, we cannot say Makgalemele failed and whoever assumes office must make progress because we do not want to see our football going backwards.”
On the other hand, Mochudi Centre Chiefs mouthpiece, Cliford Mogomotsi, heaped praises on Makgalemele.
He said he did well and many people seem to be blind to that.
“The guy did well; it is just that football is a complex sport and it is difficult to satisfy the needs of football followers. It is like a coach who is the villain when the team loses while it is the players who gain all the accolades when the going is smooth. What we see now against Makgalemele are egos and settling of old scores,” he said. Mogomomotsi added that what worries the most is that Fani has been detached from football for quite some time, but still there are many people who are backing him.