On April 1st Goabaone Taylor became the first female chief executive officer (CEO) at the Botswana Football Association – an appointment that has been welcomed with glee.
When the news of her appointment filtered in, no one would have faulted local football followers for taking it as just another April fool’s day prank by the BFA.
The appointment of a woman, an unknown woman at that, to a position always wrongly ‘reserved for political appointees’ would be an ‘out of the blue occurrence.’
Only that this time around, the BFA was serious, dead serious. The little-known Taylor was the new broom at the association’s Aegean like Lekidi stables.
For the association which so desperately needs a face lift, Taylor comes as ‘a real breath of fresh air.’
She comes with an impressive resume and a wealth of experience from the corporate world. Most importantly, she is unblemished by the toxic and divisive local football politics.
Former BFA board member Tsoseletso Magang says Taylor’s appointment ‘is a welcome and exciting development by the association.’
She says looking at the new CEO’s CV, “she will definitely put structure in the BFA Secretariat.”
Magang is optimistic that Taylor will bring needed change at BFA, which, for the longest time failed to be bold in its hunt for CEOs with strong corporate background and instead just looked within sport.
“Above all, I am happy that they picked a woman to lead. Women have a nurturing effect which the association needs right now and I believe she will recruit qualified individuals to run the association,” she says.
She goes on to say under Taylor, she foresees women football getting the attention it has been lacking because of Taylor.
“We really have a good opportunity to bring good results, and pride to the country through the women’s game.”
Botswana Press Agency (BOPA) journalist Anastacia Sibanda hailed the appointment as both historic and well deserved.
“It is a step in the right direction looking at the fact that Taylor is not a familiar face in local football,” says Sibanda.
“Looking at her credentials, she is not just an ordinary woman. BFA as it is right now needs someone from the corporate world who can set football in the right direction and I believe she is that person.”
Sibanda also says the appointment is likely to inspire more women participating in football.
“This is an achievement. It is a great day for women in sports. Whoever thought! Who ever thought BFA would appoint a woman CEO,” gushes an elated Sibanda.
Activist Game Mothibi also hailed the appointment, which she describes as ‘a bold decision by the BFA.’
“I must admit, this is a bold step by BFA and a necessary step to take. It gives them credibility and a new leaf of hope on the current BFA leadership,” Mothibi opines.
She says the appointment of a woman football CEO, late as it may be, needs to an applause.
Mothibi further says the appointment is also ‘a victory for Botswana and women in sport in so far as leadership is concerned.’
“The fact is this country does not have a lot of women holding positions of decision making in sport, let alone football. This appointment gives the female child hope that anything is possible.”
“We are hopeful this will send a message to all other sporting codes in our country to dispel the notion that sport is not for women,” says Mothibi.
Sport journalist and analyst Bongani Malunga like many believes BFA took a step in the right direction.
He says from her credentials, the new CEO is highly qualified for the post as she possesses vast experience in the corporate world.
Malunga says football has been missing someone who can fill that commercial and corporate expertise role.
He also lauded the appointment saying it will influence and inspire the girl child to see that they can have a positive effect in a male dominated environment.
In concluding his comment, Malunga said he believes change will be visible from now onwards provided we manage our expectations and allow her to get used to her role.
For sport journalist Kagiso Kgaogano, as much as the announcement ‘came as a suprise on April fool’s day, it was very welcome.’
“Looking at her credentials and experiences she is no ordinary woman. Her CV is very rich and we have to salute the BFA for taking a bold decision and appointing her. I believe she will bring the necessary experience to improve the BFA and help transform our football,” opines Kgaogano.
He however warns that Taylor must prepare for the challenges and dynamics of working in a politically charged atmosphere that is Botswana football.
“We have seen many CEOs believed to be high profile sports administrators come and go. I challenge the association to provide a conducive environment and support so she will be able to fulfill her mandate,” he says.
Kgaogano says he hopes ‘clear mandate and deliverables have been set for the new CEO so that she is judged on her work and nothing else.