It was in the late 70s when Batswana came up with an initiative to build their own University because it was expensive for the country to send students out to other countries.
The problem was, however, to build, they needed capital because it was an expensive exercise. Many Batswana decided to donate a cattle each to kick start the programme. Eventually, everything went well and the University of Botswana (UB) was built. The university has now produced many graduates who are spread across the globe.
Borrowing a leaf from the UB programme, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has come up with a programme that would, in the future, help Botswana football to be competitive globally. The programme is called The Football Development Appeal (FODA). The programme will also embark on a national resource mobillisation exercise that will include contributions in cash or kind, especially from individuals interested in the exercise. The money raised would be used to build at least two football academies in Botswana and to set up youth football development in Botswana.
If the launch was anything to go by, then there are greater things in store for Botswana football.
The FODA programme was officially launched on Friday by none other than the BFA patron, Vice President Ian Khama, at Lekidi Centre, the BFA’s headquarters. Khama immediately pledged three beasts and opened the floodgates for donations. The Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Moeng Pheto, some governments and business personnel also pledged beasts and money.
The number of cattle pledged amounted to more than 20. A courier company, African Express, pledged P10 000.
Some Members of Parliament who were unable to attend, like Shaw Kgati of Bobirwa, made pledges and promised to mobilise support from their respective constituencies.
It has not been established yet on where exactly the academies will be located, but the BFA Public Relations officer, Ishmael Mooki, told The Sunday Standard that currently the focus is on raising money and the location issues will be looked into at a latter stage.
The FODA programme is headed by retired Permanent Secretary and diplomat, Benjamin Makobole, who will work closely with all community structures like Dikgosi, Members of Parliament, councilors, Village development committees, Churches, farmers’ associations and others.
At the official launch, Khama said the programme is a key to the professionalisation and commercialisation of football in Botswana and preparations for the national teams towards both the 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations. He said the projects, if properly resourced and implemented, have the potential to develop football in Botswana.
“There are a number of compelling reasons why the BFA had to take the route of making a national fund raising appeal,” said Khama. “The football family, and Batswana in general, have been making representations to the effect that they are ready to make contributions if a platform is created for them to do so.”