Thursday, January 28, 2021

Constituency league under a barrage of attacks

The constituency league that was recently introduced by President Ian Khama continues to cause discontent in the soccer fraternity.
This was even evident at the Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s general assembly last week where district officials bashed the BFA for letting that league run while terrible consequences await their respective teams.

The district officials expressed concern at the BFA assembly saying they were not consulted when the league was launched. They said had they been consulted, they could have made fruitful contributions that would not have created the current chaos the constituency league puts football in.

Officials complained that despite the constituency league being established for non-registered players, many registered players are still finding their way into it and thus crippling the registered teams. Others went on to banish the idea saying it was politically motivated and, as such, politically inclined officials were encouraging their registered sons to play.

One of the district representatives, Maokaneng Bontshetse, said his team, Tonota Football Club, is one of the hardest hit because most of its players have left to concentrate on the constituency league.
“As I am talking to you now, most of my influential players have left while others are not reliable. This is mainly because of the constituency league. As an association, we have to find ways of addressing this issue because, currently, it has a lot of loopholes,” he said. On the other hand, former BFA president, Philip Makgalemele, conceded to the delegates that the constituency league issue has many teething problems. He said they have tried and are still trying to resolve the issue with President Khama.
“We have to understand that when dealing with something in which the head of state has a hand in, there are certain protocols and ways of doing things. We have spoken to the President about the issue and I hope it will be resolved amicably. We made it clear to the President that the constituency league has a potential of harming our soccer. We proposed ideas like youth league and even ways of putting youth off the streets using football,” he said.

Makgalemele also added that the BFA, together with the Botswana National Sports Council, would also make presentations to the President about the issue.

Already, some politicians, especially those in the opposition parties, have dismissed the constituency league idea saying it is politically motivated. They said it is just a mask by President Khama but its main establishment is to try and lure voters to the ruling party. Other politicians have since expressed concern that football is now used as a tool to attract voters.

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