The recent suspension of a prominent soccer figure might have serious consequences on the leadership of the Botswana Football Association (BFA). Fobby Radipotsane has been suspended from BFA related football activities pending disciplinary hearing and already there are reports that his suspension has irked several soccer officials who feel he is being victimised. Radipotsane is renowned for his tireless efforts to help campaign for his preferred candidates for the National Executive Committee (NEC) positions. All the people he always campaigns for are, in most cases, on the winning side.
Information reaching Sunday Standard is that some of the critics of the NEC are taking advantage of Radipotsane’s suspension and are lobbying him to help topple Fani next year during the national assembly elections.
Surprisingly, former NEC member and Radipotsane’s friend-cum-enemy, Maokaneng Bontshetse, has come out in open support of Radipotsane on one of the local radio stations.
Bontshetse and Radipotsane were bitter rivals last year during the elections of the vacant NEC position of the Vice President (Administration).
Bontshetse was the foot soldier for Booker Bannister, while Radipotsane was on Boyce Sebetlele who ended up winning.
The President of the BFA, David Fani, was in favour of Bannister. Two weeks ago Bontshetse openly said on Radio Botswana that Radipotsane’s suspension was long plotted and his sin being that he did not support BFA’s preferred candidate.
Fani also hit back on Radio Botswana, saying Bontshetse is bitter because he was not given the position of the Chief Executive Committee of which he had applied for last year. It was instead given to Judge Mookodi.
Being strong campaigners, both Radipotsane and Bontshetse are seen as serious threats to the current BFA leadership if they campaign for their preferred candidates who would run against the current leadership.
Even though last year they were in opposing camps for the position of the Vice President (Administration), they were instrumental in bringing former BFA President, Philip Makgalemele in and out of his position.
Way back in 2004 Makgalemele was up against Fani and he won but in 2008 they changed camps to Fani who also won.
It is now interesting since both Bontshetse and Radipotsane look to be in the same camp and already their relationship with the Fani-led BFA seems to be souring already.
When contacted by Sunday Standard, Radipotsane did not want to talk much about his suspension but said it is high time factions are killed in football. He said he has fought hard not to let factions polarize football but it looks it is bearing no fruit.
“My suspension honestly was not done in good faith and the way things are going, the BFA leadership is encouraging factions. Imagine now if it happens that I team up with Bontshetse and campaign for somebody else next year. Obviously we would win and it looks like people are overlooking that,” he said.
BFA President Fani told Sunday Standard that he will only comment about Radipotsane once the disciplinary hearings are complete. He also said he is aware of the rumours going around that some people are already plotting their downfall.
He, however, added that it does not pose a threat to the current leadership.