In six days, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) presidential elections will have been decided following the General Assembly, which is billed for Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) next Saturday. It promises to be the most thrilling election ever in recent times with incumbent David Fani taking on his long-time advisor, Tebogo Sebego. Sunday Standard journalist TSHEPO MOLWANE assesses the chances of the two men vying for the most powerful seat in Botswana football.
He has been at the helm of BFA for two separate terms and, according to football pundits, he is a clear favourite to retain the seat. The commentators claim that, unlike his opposite number, Fani already has the experience to lead local football to higher levels. They claim that he has already developed contacts at both CAF and FIFA level, which can benefit our football going into the future.
The fact that under Fani’s leadership the Zebras qualified for their maiden appearance at the African Nations Cup (AFCON) also put him in pole position. It is an achievement many believe did not come from nowhere. Fani has under his leadership seen BFA host the COSAFA Under-20 competitions which were described as a success by those who attended the games.
Though he did not have a much publicized campaign, it is said that Fani has the backing of most of the 115 delegates. Sources claim that Fani knows how to woo delegates on the last day even when the odds seem to be stuck against him.
“It is on the ground where he has one of the most powerful campaign teams though they’re not pompous,” said a source on Friday afternoon.
Under Fani’s leadership there have been reported issues on maladministration, which led to the association being declared broke. His decision to attack All Kasi publicly after the sportswear company decided to deposit the money raised through AFCON t-shirts straight into the player’s accounts might work against his decision to seek another term. Fani also might have short himself in the foot after engaging in another public spat with the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) after the council decided to cease their grant. It is his recent poor relationship with the media which also does not put him in good stand. Commentators further say that Fani spends most of the time outside the country on CAF and FIFA assignments even when the country needs him most. “Some of the regions are not happy with him. He has failed to deliver on his promises,” said a source.
Those close to Sebego say that he is a man of integrity. It is especially his profile that seems to have won him the hearts of most of the delegates. He has been at the helm of Botswana Law Society (BLS). Through his business acumen, Sebego managed to turn BLS into a profit-making organization, thus ensuring that it has a fully-fledged office which remains in operation. The other plus for Sebego is that he has played football at the highest level and those close to him say that he understands what football needs going forward.
While other members of the NEC hardly attended Premier League and First Division games in the past four years, Sebego has mingled with footballers over this period something which has put him in tabs with what the game needs. Others say that the fact that he has served in the NEC under Phillip Makgalemele and Fani has opened his eyes on what needs to be done to run football.
“He is a man of the people and he has so much respect from the football community. It is decision to put the interests of the region at the top which might swing votes into his side. The fact that he has managed to run a law firm for over 10 years also puts him in a good standing. Being a businessman means that he has so much respect from other businessmen which can help improve our football,” said a source.
The thing which might make delegates not to vote Sebego is that he has been part of the NEC which many believe has failed under Fani. Others argue that he might not have advised Fani accordingly because he was looking at his own interest (of taking over). He has also not been involved in football administration at club level whatsoever.