Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Damn If You Do, Damn If You Don’t

There seems to be no reprieve for the embattled Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership. With the raging pandemic on one side and a growing clamor for elections on the other, the BFA is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Under normal circumstances, the BFA would have held its elective General Assembly on the 14th of August this past month.

More than a month and two failed attempts to host it later, no date has been set yet. The spike in the coronavirus and the protocols put in place have made it practically impossible to host it, or so we are led to believe.

With the campaigns for the control of the soul of Botswana football still going strong however, the association finds itself under pressure to host.

Already, the association has witnessed two letters being sent to FIFA and to the Presidential Task Force team from the rival camps, perhaps as an attempt to poke the BFA leadership to hasten hosting the elective congress.

For the camps competing against the current BFA hierarchy for the association leadership, the delays in hosting the elective assembly are just a ploy by the current leadership ‘to extend its mandate.’

“When you listen to the BFA leadership on various public platforms, they say it is not like they are standing idle. They say they are busy behind the scenes pushing for the elective assembly,” Team Malesu BFA vice president candidate Gabriel Ngele queried.

“There is however no information forthcoming as to what plans they have to host the assembly. They are not coming up with solutions as expected of competent leadership,” he added.

Ngele says from the way the association has been conducting itself, it is easier for one to believe it is deliberately stalling to host elections.

With the mandate of the current BFA executive committee having elapsed, the Team Malesu BFA vice presidential says any decision they make cannot be considered as binding.

He says the delays are also killing local football and have potential to rob players of their livelihood as whoever takes the reins will have to start planning for the safe resumption of football.

“We need to get done with the elective assembly and start planning for the resumption of football as players and their families’ livelihoods are at stake. All those earning a living out of football have their lives upended by the current situation,” he explained.

Ngele’s sentiments that the current leadership is seemingly not keen to host elections is shared by BFA presidential hopeful Tebogo Sebego.

Sebego says while there are COVID 19 prevention protocols, they do not prohibit anyone from hosting meetings.

“The COVID 19 protocols reckon that associations can do things subject to adhering to the set protocols. There is only one thing on the proviso, that we comply,” he said.

The former BFA boss says the association leadership should think outside the box and benchmark from others like the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) who hosted meetings amid the pandemic.

“What the BFA needs to do is find solutions. The first one would be to hold two simultaneous meetings with the aid of technology. The only thing they will have to do in this instance would be to ensure secret ballot is observed during the vote,” he says.

Sebego says alternatively, the BFA can organize to host the meeting in Gaborone in two big halls where the COVID protocols can be observed.

“In this instance, the BFA will only have to ask the Presidential Task Force Team on COVID 19 to grant the 35 delegates coming from outside Greater Gaborone a special dispensation to come into the region. The delegates will then be divided into the two halls to adhere to protocols,” he opined.

With only five delegates around the Francistown region, Sebego said hosting the meeting in Gaborone will make things easier.

Meanwhile, both the Sebego and Malesu campaign teams said it is becoming expensive to keep the campaign ongoing, more especially as there is no time frame they are working towards.

They say the only thing that keeps them going is the passion they have, which the they however say comes with huge financial costs.

Attempts to reach the BFA and Team Letshwiti to comment proved futile at the time of going to press as phones rang unanswered.

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The Telegraph October 28

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 28, 2020.