Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Maclean Letshwiti is a man reborn. More than ever before, the BFA president is keen to see the realization of his dream to professionalise and commercialise local football.
To achieve this, Letshwiti, has been a constant participator and contributor in the UEFA Assist Project and believes it has been a success thus far. This is despite rumors that a clash of egos within local football is threatening to collapse the project.
His sentiments that the project and the workshop have thus far been a success, are shared by Bennett Mamelodi, the man heading the UEFA Assist Project in Botswana. The latter however believes the following few weeks after the successful workshops will be even more crucial.
“We will know where we are really heading in the next few weeks,” the UEFA Assist Project Manager for BFL said in a recent interview. “What happens next is very crucial.”
Mamelodi said after the initial four phases, the project will be entering the last two crucial phases. These involve helping clubs make their own transformation plans, which will be the fifth phase while the last phase will be the implementation stage.
“These will be very crucial stages as they will show us where our clubs and our elite league is heading,” the Assist Project Manager said. He is upbeat that if the said phases successfully carried out, the elite league will be on the right path to professionalization.
While Mamelodi sounded upbeat that the project was heading the right direction after the successful completion of the first four phases, it is alleged all is not so well. According to sources, egos within local football are threatening to render the project stillborn, and this just a mere two phases away from near completion.
It is alleged that at the center of the problems is Mamelodi’s appointment. Rumors surfaced this week that UEFA was not happy with Mamelodi as the project manager. These were however quashed by the BFA president.
“UEFA just wanted role clarity between Mamelodi and the Botswana Football League (BFL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO). On the contrary, they were exceptionally impressed by the efficiency of Mamelodi,” Letshwiti explained.
The BFA president is adamant that ‘nothing can or will halt the transformation project.’ “Take it from me, Mamelodi is doing a wonderful job and because of his appointment, the project will be executed to the T.”
As far as the BFA president is concerned, the project has the buy-in of all BFL teams. “All that UEFA want is for the job to be done regardless of who is doing it,” the BFA president said when reacting to allegations that UEFA was unhappy with Mamelodi’s appointment.
Should the allegations that politics and egos are threatening to collapse the project come to pass, it will be a big blow to the BFA president’s dream of professionalizing the country’s elite league. Among his promises when assuming the BFA presidency six years ago, Letshwiti had promised to commercialize and professionalize the country’s elite league.
Even through the lowest of lows, the theme of professionalization and commercialization has been a constant for the BFA president. Now as football has come alive once again, he wants to ensure his vision for local football manifests. “As I said during my opening remarks at the recent UEFA workshop, it is now or never,” he said.