Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Constituency league debacle rages on

The constituency tournament debacle seems to be intensifying by the day. Last week, the Minister for sports and recreation, Shaw Kgathi attacked the Botswana Football Association (BFA) in a press conference without key representation from the latter.

The BFA have now also come out in their defence further putting the Minister in an embarrassing situation.

Last week on Tuesday at Botswana Television auditorium, Minister Kgathi told journalists that BFA reported the Botswana government to world football controlling body, FIFA, saying the constituency tournament is hampering their football activities.

The Minister went further saying BFA misled FIFA by referring to the constituency tournament as a league.

The BFA have, however, come out with guns blazing, saying they never reported the government to FIFA but were only seeking clarification on the implications of the constituency tournament.

Fani said it over the weekend and added that he was not aware of the press conference called by the Minister because he was outside the country.

“I went outside the country on a Sunday and the press conference was on Tuesday and I learnt about it later,” he said.

Fani also added that when the tournament started, it was called the constituency league but not tournament as Minister Kgathi is saying. Fani even expressed the view that FIFA once wrote to them saying the way it is run is against their rules and regulations and if nothing changes they would take action.

Normally, the action taken by FIFA is through suspensions of the affected country from all international activities.

Minister Kgathi on the other hand said Botswana does not face the possibility of being suspended.
Kgathi’s statement even caused an-uproar within soccer circles with several people saying the government is interfering with football matters in the country.

With Botswana nearing a historic appearance at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, it is worrisome that the qualification might turn to nothing.

The issue of the constituency league has been a thorny issue to the BFA for the past two years since its introduction.

Both parties have been negotiating to find common ground but they are yet to agree.
Even President Ian Khama once went on record saying FIFA is out of order. He said when the government puts money in football it is not seen as interference.

The constituency tournament has paralysed several teams in the lower division because the financial offers are better. So far over P18 million has been spent on the tournament.


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