The opposition Botswana Movement for Democracy has joined the chorus that’s clamouring for the scrapping of the constituency league.
Gaborone South West MP, Botsalo Ntuane, this week called for the quick intervention of the world football body, FIFA, into the saga.
A brainchild of president Khama, the Constituency League attracts and features youth players in different constituencies across the country whose teams play against each other with the government sponsoring the tournaments outside the Botswana Football Association regulations and laws.
This has sparked a fierce tussle between the local football authority and the government, and has now roped in opposition political parties of the Botswana National Front and the Botswana Congress Party.
Responding to the President’s State of Nation Address as Leader of the Opposition, Ntuane would not mince his words, insisting on a speedy investigation by FIFA authorities.
“We wish to express our opposition, consistent with the views of the football fraternity at its various gatherings that the Constituency League, in its current format, is untenable,” he charged, adding that “much as we applaud government for coming up with initiatives aimed at promoting youth development and responsible behavior, we are convinced this controversial project exists to generate political capital for the ruling party hence the disproportionate hostility to the logical idea of transferring it to the only legitimate football authority in the country as recognized by FIFA”.
The BMD notes with concern the intimidatory tactics of the authorities directed at the BFA, including threats to cut off funding if the association does not retreat from its stance with Ntuane adamant that, as presently constituted, the constituency amounts to “government interference in the country’s football activities”.
“With all these incidences manifested by our hard to bend leadership, I see our beloved boys frustrated to compete in the coming AFCON games,” he prophesied, adding that “we support the call by the BNF and BCP Youth Leagues for FIFA to launch an independent investigation and come up with a definitive position on this matter”.
“We have no faith in the ongoing discussions between government and the BFA because they are designed to produce an outcome only favourable to government. Only when FIFA has concluded its investigation and presented its findings can we know who is right between government on one hand and the BFA, the football family and the opposition parties on the other.
“We urge FIFA to commence its investigation as soon as possible and put the matter to rest so that we can enjoy the beautiful game without any distractions,” he said.