Thursday, July 18, 2024

BFL To Plead With BFA to Give Back Its Autonomy

Two years ago, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) decided to give the Botswana Football League (BFL) autonomy. The goal was to run both the Premier League and the National First Division League.

The BFA also intended that this corporation would rebrand the top league and make it a more marketable product in order to recruit partnerships who would find value in being associated with this business entity.

Recently, the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) took a decision to temporarily revoke the autonomy pending its restructuring. The decision was taken as the association felt the BFL could not only uphold its given purpose but was also continuously tarnishing the reputation of local football with their childish banter for power.

According to BFL chairperson Nicholas Zakhem, as much as they were granted autonomy, it still came with limited freedom of operation. As such, he says the association as the custodian of organised football including the premier league, was acting within its mandate.

“There is no time that BFL was ever independent. When there are unnecessary occurrences or petty issues their ability is questioned. They have a problem now and the solution is to take away the autonomy.”

While he understands the association’s decision, he says he wants the BFL to be autonomous. The same feeling is shared by football teams who believe the association’s decision may have been too drastic. 

In as much as there were occurrences that understandably led to this, they are of a view this is an issue that should have just been resolved without taking BFL’s autonomy.

They wonder if this will continue being the case because it is normal for disagreements to take place within boards so will the BFA always resort to such measures whenever it happens.

To regain the autonomy, Zakhem says BFL shareholders have agreed to select a committee of up to five (5) individuals to plead with the BFA to rescind its decision.

The chairman of the BFL says that they have given shareholders until just before the end of June to have sorted the delegates so that he has ample time to write their request to the BFA. 

Zakhem says that the intention is to make their plea before the Elective General Assembly which is to take place on the 14th of September this year.

“The agreement is that the shareholders get together and choose a team, come with an agenda and deliver them to the board any time before the end of June 28, 2024, and we then try to solicit a case as to why the BFA should give back the autonomy.”

As the chairman of the BFL, Zakhem will not be part of the committee. He however says if the committee wishes, he will go with them to help them plead for the autonomy.

“People praise us, they envy us. We have something that they want and we are just throwing it away. I believe we can lead ourselves. We need to change our mindset. It is not about individuals but the whole thing. We will not repeat our mistakes,” the BFL chairperson says.


Read this week's paper