On the 10th of January, Botswana Football Association (BFA) took the decision to amend the number of players a team can register per season as well as adjust number of substitutions per match. The decision came after FIFA and CAF took the decision to adjust number of substitutions from three to five.
According to the BFA circular, the amendment to article 2.3 of the play rules now allows for the registration of up to 40 players, which will comprise of 30 senior players and 10 junior players. Previously, only a maximum of 30 players were allowed to be registered per team.
The amendment has elicited mixed reactions from the local football followers, with others viewing it as a good move while some say it is ill advised. For those who think it is a good move, the only problem is that it is introduced midway through the season. For those against it, they believe the association is unfairly changing rules midway through the game.
Jwaneng Galaxy head coach, Morena Ramoreboli said this adaptation brought forward by BFA is happening worldwide in regard to what is happening due to corona virus.
“It is very difficult now to get players to the level of fitness we all want them to be due to the new normal. Having the opportunity to make five substitutions will help players to rest and also give them an opportunity to recover, more so that we have players who were infected and affected by covid-19. When they come back from quarantine you cannot give them 90 minutes to play but they can be given minutes that can carry them to play until they manage 90 minutes,” Ramoreboli said.
He also said training sessions are no longer as proper as they used to be due to the fact that players cannot be kept for a long period of time with the fear that they may easily infect each other. In addition, Ramoreboli said they are not training as hard as they used to and this started during the pre-season where clubs had to manage and control how players are training to avoid complications with their health.
“These changes will not benefit any team but football as a whole, because the wellbeing of players comes first before securing three points. As a coach I believe this is a good move and can be adopted not in temporary basis,” he concluded.
Adding to what Ramoreboli said, Public Relations Officer to Jwaneng Galaxy, Tankiso Morake said his predictions are that BFA has requested this change from CAF; and as Jwaneng Galaxy this new change will surely come in handy.
“Just imagine playing CAF, Mascom top 8, Premier League and Orange FA cup how many players are we going to play with looking at players fatigue, injuries and so forth. You will realize that sometimes a team gives all focus to CAF games and once they play their league they lose, it is because of fatigue. This amended of 40 players will help us preserve players and select them according to which tournament they can play in,” he elaborated.
Morake believes this change may help the league to avoid postponing games due to the rise of infections from teams. Apart from contentions that the latest rule change will fuel disparity between teams and favour those who can afford bigger, stronger squads, it is held that allowing five substitutes can have a profound impact on the game.
Premier League debutants Masitaoka Public Relations Officer, Thuto Oduetse, said they are open and ready to embrace the amendments made by BFA highlighting that it is a good change most especially due to the era we are in now.
Their only concern however is that this latest change of rule may widen the chasm between teams. They believe it can make the playing field uneven as it is likely to favour financially stable clubs who will be able to buy all quality players and strengthen themselves while weakening other teams.
“Every club wants the best players in the market, it is not just about the number being signed but clubs are going to look for outstanding players to make their squad. We are in the transfer window period and we are going to see clubs losing good players as they will be going to those who are financially stable,” Oduetse said.
Oduetse noted that clubs who are well organized and their bank account is up right stand a better chance of acquiring best players.