Thursday, July 7, 2022

Can Mantswe arrest the rot at BFA?

Of the three candidates running for the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Presidency, Solomon Mantswe comes across as the least accomplished. Mantswe is a public servant, albeit a senior Police Officer. On the other hand, Tebogo Sebego, the incumbent BFA President is a successful attorney while the other aspirant, McLean Letshwiti is a successful businessman sitting in various boards of different companies. While many people continue to ask the question, why vote for Mantswe and not his more accomplished opponents, the right question at the moment may be ‘why not Mantswe?’  Sunday Standard journalist Botlhale Koothupile reports.

Mantswe may not have the business acumen of McLean Letshwiti or the charisma of incumbent BFA President Tebogo Sebego, he however brings the much needed saintly halo to the tarnished football fraternity.

With the current reports of nepotism and indiscipline besieging football, Mantswe, who is a lawman, a top cop, for that matter, may be just the right candidate to arrest the rot in local football. “Football is going through turmoil right now. The Botswana Premier League (BPL) is in shambles and the league is not yet finished. There is leadership vacuum at the Botswana Football Association (BFA). Currently at the BFA, the National Executive Committee has crumbled. The fact that the two Vice Presidents at the BFA have no confidence in the incumbent President points to such. The current President is not in control and stability is needed at BFA,” Mantswe said when asked why he wants the BFA Presidency. “What local football needs at this moment is a leader who can bring back stability and I believe I am the best candidate to do that. If voted, I will bring stability and discipline to the BFA. This association is a public institution and as a leader, if elected, I will ensure that people associated with it subscribe to a code of conduct that is acceptable and befitting of a public institution,” Mantswe explained. According to the Police XI Chairman, as recent events have shown, the BFA is in need of a leader who will deal with issues decisively.

“I believe I possess all qualities of a leader. Where I work right now, I am a leader. As a law enforcement officer, my job requires high levels of loyalty, commitment to duty and integrity. These are the same qualities I will bring to football if given a chance to lead,” the aspirant BFA President says. Should the BFA delegates vote for him at the coming Annual General Assembly (AGA), Mantswe says his first priority will be to ‘to calm the waters at the BFA.’ “My first priority will be to calm waters and rebuild trust with sponsors and businesses as well as re-establishing good working relationships with both the government and the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC),” Mantswe explained. According to him, once these are restored, the next step for him and his NEC will be to lead ‘robust commercialisation of football.’ To achieve this, the aspirant BFA President says his first stop will be to spearhead the autonomy of the Premier League. “Whilst I was still the BPL Vice Chairman, I, together with the then BPL Chairman Walter Kgabung and the now suspended BPL CEO Bennett Mamelodi went to benchmark at the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Absa Premier League. We then made a report which we presented to both the BPL and BFA NEC. This will be my template for the autonomy of BPL. We will have something similar to SAFA and Premier League in South Africa but adapted to Botswana’s environment,” Mantswe explains.

He said the granting of autonomy to the BPL will therefore give the BFA more time to deal with the core of its duties, some of which include development of women football, grassroots development of football as well as empowering the regions. “Ours will be leadership by projects. Under my leadership, the BFA NEC will just formulate policies and give direction, not work at the BFA. We will define projects, task relevant committees and coordinate all committees,” the BFA Presidential hopeful concluded. 

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