The finals of Botswana’s premiere grassroots football development programme tournament, the Chappies Little League, will be played in Ramotswa today (Wednesday).
The two day tournament, sponsored to the tune of P200 000 by Cadbury South Africa, is expected to conclude tomorrow.
Speaking in an interview with Telegraph Sport, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Senior Technical Officer, Tshepo Mphukuthi, said preparations for the tournament have gone accordingly.
Despite the ongoing standoff between teachers and government, Mphukuthi says teachers have already confirmed their presence at the tournament.
“All the regions except the central region have already confirmed they will take part in this year’s tournament,” the BFA senior technical officer informed Telegraph Sport in an interview. He further added that, of all the teams expected to participate, four teams had not confirmed their participation.
Mphukuthi expressed happiness at the teachers’ willingness to take part in the tournament, despite the ongoing crisis with the government, saying this is very important as most of the kids under the required age are at school.
For his part, Botswana Primary Schools Sports Associations (BOPSSA)’s national organizer for football, Keabetswe Selebatso, concurred with the BFA senior technical officer that teachers will be present at the tournament, adding that the absence of some schools is mainly due to other circumstances not related to the standoff between teachers and government.
Selebatso says this tournament will be the second to be attended by teachers, despite the ongoing crisis.
The annual Chappies-sponsored tournament is used to scout for young talent under the age of 12 to be developed in the country.
At least 32 teams from primary schools across the country were expected to take part in the tournament.
For the first time in the history of the tournament, half of the teams taking part were expected to be girls’ teams. This year’s tournament will be the last to be played using the current knockout system after all parties involved in the tournament, the BFA, Cadbury and the Botswana Primary Schools Sports Associations (BOPSSA) agreed to change the tournament format starting next year.
Under the new format, talented kids identified from the tournament will be roped into regional teams where they will be afforded better training and development.