Saturday, January 22, 2022

First Causalities of Restructuring or Politics?

The non-renewal of contract of Botswana Football Association (BFA) Finance Officer Thabiso Kebotsamang and the association’s Competitions Manager Setete Phuthego has set the tongues wagging.

The duo’s contracts are coming to an end and no explanation is coming forth as to whether the non-renewal has anything to do with the association’s ongoing restructuring processes or if there are other reasons yet to be known.

While the BFA continues to keep radio silence in the name of ‘professionalism’ or employer employee confidentiality, this has not prevented the debate over what is now considered stunning and unexpected decisions.

As much as restructuring allegedly has a part to play on the matter, some close sources say the decision is part of BFA president Maclean Letshwiti’s plan to shed off some excess weight at the association and make it cleaner before he leaves his post.

“This is the start of a concerted effort by Letshwiti to get the BFA in a good position before he leaves office in 2024,” a source said. According to the source, contrary to reports, the BFA president has no intention of standing for re-election despite the constitution not forbidding him to stand for a third term.

The source went on to claim that Phuthego and Kebotsamang will not be the only people out of the doors of Lekidi. “There will be more to follow them out of Lekidi. When that time comes, people will be shocked,” the source explained.

While the source did not want to go into details, the manner in which the announcement of the non-renewal of the duo’s contract was undertaken, has left some opining it has nothing to do with the restructuring process.

“The duo is sitting in critical position within football, that of finance and competitions. The fact that the announcement of non-renewal of their contract was made immediately after the BFA Annual General Assembly (AGA) raises eyebrows. It seems like the decision was taken close to the AGA and was announced immediately thereafter,” another source opined.

Even more astounding, according to the source, is the fact that Phuthego departure comes at a time when football is returning from a long Covid-19 related layoff. As the Competitions Manager, Phuthego was responsible for overseeing regional football as well as the ongoing Orange FA Cup.

“Regional leagues are due to return very soon and Phuthego is the man who would have been planning for its safe return. He was also literally the man running the Orange FA Cup. Now we wait to see how things will pen out,” the source said. Given the above, the source said there is more than meets the eye to the non-renewal.

Meanwhile, the association is said to be in financial problems. At the just ended AGM, the association was said to have been at pains when pressed by affiliates to pay them their covid-19 relief monies.

So bad is said to be the situation that this week, the BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Goabaone Taylor is said to have informed employees that their salaries will be delayed this month. The same was confirmed by one employee of the association who said they received a message in the BFA employees group to the same effect.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper