Saturday, May 15, 2021

‘Football died before Covid-19’ – Zakhem

Outspoken football administrator Nicholas Zakhem is of the view that football in Botswana is dead and does not see any improvement anytime soon.

Zakhem over the weekend declined nomination to be re-elected into the Botswana Football League board.

The BFL, which is autonomous from the BFA, was formed to commercialize Botswana’s elite league in pursuit of changing the fortunes of local clubs.

Following his refusal to stand for re-election, the BFL board elected Masitaoka Football Club financier Aryl Ralebala as its new chairperson.

Ralebala was elected along with Njabulo Gilika of Jwaneng Galaxy, Omphitlhetse ‘Dunga’ Tlhobogang of BDF XI and Kagiso Magocha of Orapa United.

“I declined nomination to be an additional member because I am a busy man. I have a lot of work to do around,” Zakhem explained.

“I also do travel outside the country a lot. I cannot afford to meet the demands of the league as required. I need more time,” he added.

Sharing his view on football with The Telegraph Sport, Zac as the Gaborone United financier is affectionally called within football circles, observed that while talks of commercialization of football persist, nothing seems to be working.

“Privatizations has not worked and it is frustrating and I don’t see it taking off. It is discouraging to me. Continuous disputes will never help the situation and privatization will remain a dream,” Zakhem observed.

According to him the commercialisation has many obstacles, of which both the BFL and the BFA National Executive committee equally share a blame. He said he does not have energy to spend on something that will not bore fruits.

“Transformation will be never be achieved in the current set up. There must be objectives and target date as and when things will be achieved. Without that it is just a wasting a lot of energy which I’m not ready to do,” he said.

On the general health of local football, the fiery GU financier said “football had died before covid-19 and we have not progressed.”

“Campaign and delivery are two different things. People do not do what they have promised to do during campaigns once they are voted in power/leadership,” he fired.

The unapologetic Zac further observed that people are not voted into office on merit but on factional lines and said ‘that is why we have people in leadership who have no value.’

Zakhem advised that committed, passionate and result oriented people should be voted into office so that they can improve the game. He is also discouraged by perennial wars that lead to deserving people fired and replaced by incompetent people belonging to regime in power who turn out to be problematic.

“We need everyone in football to have a hand so that they can be progress. People should not claim to be volunteers when they have interior motives of being in football leadership.”

“They must work hard because they agreed to be voted in positions of leadership and they should stop sleeping on their jobs” Zac advised.

He said if they are volunteers as they claim, they must work like Red Cross volunteers, ‘true volunteers who work hard to restore dignity of people in the mist of wars and other disasters.’  

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