The recent upsurge in the performance of the national soccer team, Zebras, might be a thing of the past if local teams continue not taking African Clubs competitions seriously.
So far, it has been confirmed that both Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs will not be taking part in both the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Championships League and the CAF Confederations Cup.
Surprisingly, both teams are the most followed in Botswana and most of their players are doing duty for the national team.
Many people are now wondering why the local teams do not take advantage of these international CAT competitions since those that took part last season do not even command as much support in the country.
In past years, Rollers have been taking part in CAF competitions whenever they had a chance to do so and they always passed the preliminary stages. Centre Chiefs, on the other hand, have, for several years, shunned participating in CAF competitions despite earlier promises.
Township Rollers say they would not compete in the CAF Championships because of limited resources.
The team spokesperson, Kaizer Sekaba, told Sunday Standard that they would rather concentrate on defending their league title.
“It was our intention to participate in CAF competition but we cannot because we do not have much resources. Participating in CAF competitions is not a child’s play and requires a lot of money and can bleed teams to death. Currently, our focus is in defending our league title,” he said.
Sekaba also decried the fact that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) is not in any way helping teams that participate in CAF competitions. He said if such were the case, local teams would continuously participate in CAF competitions.
He added that in other countries, teams that take part in international competitions are financially assisted by their football associations.
“Playing in African competitions coupled with domestic competitions is a huge task that also takes its toll on the players. Players easily get injured and as such more players are needed and more players mean more money that we are struggling to have. If BFA could meet us half way we would go into the transfer market and buy more players but currently we cannot,” he said.
Sekaba also added that North African teams dominate CAF competitions because they have ample resources, especially those from the private sector, something he said is not happening in Botswana.
He, however, decried the fact that Botswana losses a lot by not playing in CAF competitions. He said such competitions help players gain invaluable international experience, which would in turn help the national team because Rollers has several players in the national teams.
With all African eyes on Botswana because of the Zebras’ impressive run in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, it was an ideal opportunity for Rollers to participate and market themselves. That would attract many scouts to their matches and several players could even clinch overseas deals.