BY BOTLHALE KOOTHUPILE
Football politics and Zebras failures aside, the past two months have been very kind to Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Maclean Letshwiti.
Following a tumultuous two years that saw intensity in rivalries, shortage or lack of sponsorships and constant criticism for ‘apparent failures,’ Letshwiti can now claim his BFA rebuilding exercise is taking shape ‘one stock brick at a time’ as he promised.
Just a week ago, the BFA president, who has just started his second year at the helm, was all smiles as the association announced two sponsorships in a space of three days.
After the announcement of the long awaited Orange FA Cup on a Monday 3rd December, Letshwiti and his committee were at it again three days later on a Thursday to announce FNB Botswana’s sponsorship of the BFA youth teams.
The two sponsorship announcements came just after the government had agreed to avail land to the association for the development of its INEOS sponsored state of the art football academy.
The announcements also came at a time when the association had reportedly managed ‘to cut its deficit from its initial estimations of P10 million when the Letshwiti regime took over to almost P2.1 million at the end of its 2018/19 financial year.’
For the under pressure BFA president, the announcements not only gave him and his fellow BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) members a breather but were also a pointer that his promise to ‘rebuild the association’ was now gaining traction.
“When I announced my candidature for the BFA presidency, I promised to rebuild the association,” Letshwiti explained.
“I promised to modernise the association, establish a robust youth development programme, to put in place regulatory framework for the association and to professionalise and commercialise our elite league.”
“At the core of all these, my main focus or the foundation was to be youth development,” said Letshwiti.
“To be honest, this has not been as easy task. It has been months of hard work and we are finally starting to see the results,” he said.
According to the BFA president, the most critical was the football development programme, saying it accounted for almost 60 percent of the restructuring process.
“This development process includes restructuring of youth development, both boys and girls as well as the restructuring of the regional football structures. So far, we have almost completed this most critical step and we are now in the process of finding sponsors for our regional football leagues to complete it,” he said.
The BFA president went on to say that with the first and critical football development restructuring now almost complete, the association will now be looking at strengthening the Botswana Premier League (BPL).
He said with the BPL being the elite league structure which takes players and where most of senior national teams are selected, it needed to be strengthened such that it can match the quality that will be coming from the development structures.
“When I finally step down from my presidency, I want to be judged based on the delivery of my promises. If I would have failed, I will be happy to accept the criticism,” he concluded.