Saturday, June 3, 2023

BFA officials in another controversial Asian trip

The Botswana Football Association is under spotlight following a controversial trip of the President and his Vice to Qatar. David Fani and Vice President (Administration) Vincent Seretse visited the Asian country over the festive holiday. The trip was fully paid and the duo was accompanied by their spouses.

The trip comes a few months after another controversial one to China by the national soccer team, which resulted in the Chief Executive Officer being suspended for bribery allegations.

It has emerged that the two top BFA officials were invited by the President of Asian Football Federation, Mohamed Bin Hammam. The question now is since the invitation was a football related matter why were the two officials accompanied by their wives instead of some officials within football so that they learn a lot from the trip.
With the trip being fully paid for, eyebrows were further raised. It also came to the attention of the Sunday Standard that part of the trip was to market Qatar as a viable venue to host 2022 World Cup.

The other question is why then, if Qatar wants to bid for the World Cup, it did not send officials to Botswana to woo for support, instead of a Botswana delegation going there.
There are, however, rumours that Bin Hammam is planning to challenge for the FIFA Presidency, taking on the incumbent, Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter next year.

The trip is then seen somehow as one way of buying voters or asking for favours by Bin Hammam well on time.
Bin Hammam, on the other hand, is a controversial soccer figure in the Asian world and is always branded dirty names for his alleged corrupt tactics.

The Asian World even wanted to dump him last year during the Asian football elections, adding that he was also ruling by an iron fist. The elections were seen as the most close in Asian soccer history as more knives were drawn out for Hammam. He ended up narrowly winning the Asian elections by a margin of two votes. Most people seen as associated with him are somehow also seen as dirty.

On the other hand, BFA president, David Fani, has come out in fierce defence of his trip to Qatar. He told a media conference on Monday that the trip was for networking and relationship building purposes and there was nothing sinister about that.

“I have to make it clear that after receiving invitation from Qatar, we briefed the National Executive Committee and they gave us the green light. In Qatar, more than thirty African football associations were in attendance,” he said.

On why they took their spouses instead of going with fellow football administrators, Fani said the invitations were clearly for two administrators and their companions.

“That was the nature of the invitations from Bin Hammam,” he said. Since Qatar intends to bid for 2022, and countries that normally want to host major tournaments go around canvassing for support, Fani could not clearly answer why they went to Qatar instead of a Qatar delegation visiting African countries.

“Bin Hamman is the one who can clearly answer why he did not come to Africa but instead invited us,” he said.

Since it is an open secret that Bin Hamman is a controversial figure with a tainted image and is always at logger heads with fellow Asian counter parts, some people might just think by being invited by Hamman, it could lead to a perception that Botswana football is also dirty.

On the other hand, Fani said before under taking a trip to Qatar they consulted with FIFA and they were given the green light.


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