t has been more than 100 days since Maclean Letshwiti ascended the Botswana Football Association (BFA) hot seat. While the period is usually used by a new leader to acclimatise to his or her new environment, this was however not the case with the BFA President. For Letshwiti, the honeymoon was over as soon as he finished his “I Do” acceptance speech.
Sunday Standard Reporter Botlhale Koothupile caught up with the BFA President on the sidelines of the professionalism course held at Tlotlo Conference Centre this past Friday to have a peep into his first days in office
When he launched his campaign to clean the rot at BFA, Letshwiti was an insider watching from the outside. However, once the red carpet was rolled out and the door at Lekidi opened for him, the BFA president knew he would have no honeymoon period.
While he knew he was inheriting a mess, Letshwiti could not fathom the magnitude of the task ahead. According to him, nothing was working. The BFA was in a financial quagmire and all the structures were dysfunctional.
“I never expected what I found, nothing was working. It was like starting everything afresh. Everything you put your hand on, there was a question mark. So, a lot of time was wasted putting things in place. So instead of starting my 100 days, I had to ensure that the system at BFA works. Every information had to be reconstructed,” he explained.
For Letshwiti, whose campaign had been centred on restructuring the BFA to do its core mandate, the sordid state of affairs at the association was an unwelcome distraction which he, unfortunately, had to clean.
Despite this, Letshwiti and his team have managed to roll up their sleeves and knuckle down to do the hard work, while not neglecting the core responsibilities they had promised to do for their voters.
According to Letshwiti, some tangible progress has been made and he is happy with the little achievements they have made thus far.
“One of my promises to the football fraternity in my campaign was to professionalise football. This is it, this is the beginning,” the BFA president said pointing to ongoing professionalisation course.
“This is going to be run like a project, not just a word of mouth. Before now, the association was just paying lip service, talking about professionalisation. Now we have committed time and funds. No more lip service,” Letshwiti said.
The professionalism course comes just a few weeks after Letshwiti launched one of his most “ambitious” projects, the grassroots development programme.
For Letshwiti, getting the grassroots development programme off the ground is a source of pride, more so that it was a cornerstone of his campaign team.
Already, the BFA is said to have spent more than P1.4 million on the project, with the funds going towards the purchase of equipment for BFA’s regional football associations.
Despite all these strides, Letshwiti is still not happy saying only after the strategic plans of his new committee have been fully developed, will there be a clear pathway as to where the association is going.
“All along, things were done haphazardly. There was no plan and no system. Now we are planning and we are going to implement,” the BFA president explained.
He said starting yesterday (Saturday) through to Monday, the BFA, with the help from FIFA, will be engaged in developing a strategic plan for the next four years.
“We are now starting the strategic plan. All the planning has been done. We were just waiting for the FIFA consultants. It is vitally important that we have a strategic plan,” Letshwiti said.
He further explained that once the strategic plan had been completed, all the other plans of the BFA will then fall into place.
However, just like any other BFA president who came before him, Letshwiti is aware of the politics that have derailed the association before and he is prepared.
Any regrets? At the moment, it seems like there are really no regrets from Letshwiti. In fact, he is very optimistic that when he leaves the BFA after his four-year term, the association will be much better for his successor.
“For me, I came in where things were at rock bottom. But for a person who will take over after me, I can guarantee him that he will have an easier task than I had,” Letshwiti concluded.