When Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Maclean Letshwiti assumed the reigns of the association presidency, he had a dream.
His dream was to professionalise football and transform it into a business capable of creating employment for Batswana.
If things were to go his way, Letshwiti’s vision was to transform football at the elite level and then cascade it to the lower structures.
After more than four years of failures, the BFA’s president seems to be taking root, but not the way he had envisaged it would.
Instead of starting at the elite level and cascaded to the lower structures, the opposite is seemingly happening.
This past weekend, the BFA president was among the witnesses as Kweneng Regional Football Association (KRFA) division 2 started, in the words of its chairman Vincent Mafutha, ‘took the first step in its journey of a million miles to professionalization.’
According to Mafutha, the KRFA division 2 league has committed to ‘transform from societies to professional entities.’
the chairman further indicated that the KRFA division 2 league intends to have at least 30% of its teams become ‘business entities by the end of this year (2021).’
For Letshwiti, who had recently visited another Kgatleng based lower division side City Polar, who are also going professional, the KRFA initiative was a realization of a dream that seemed destined not to be realized.
In his closing remarks during the KRFA division 2 league transformation workshop, an elated Letshwiti said ‘seeing his dream take root was pleasing.’
Even more pleasing for the BFA president was that this was an initiative of the KRFA division 2 league, not the BFA.
To show his appreciation for what the KRFA is doing, Letshwiti called on office holders at the association secretariat to do all that is possible to help the region achieve its ambitions.
Earlier when explaining the purpose of the workshop, the KRFA division 2 chairperson said it was to give teams basic fundamentals of professionalization.
Mafutha indicated that as of now, five teams in the KRFA division 2 had transformed into business entities and he expects more to follow.
The KRFA division 2 league chairman said their intention in undertaking the route to transform to business entities was due to the struggles they face in the lower structures.
“For us in the lower divisions, turning our teams into business entities is of paramount importance. Unlike teams at the national division and premier league, our teams in the lower structures have to shoulder all financial responsibilities. We do not have the luxury of prize monies and monthly grants. We pay for everything including referees’ fees, transport and every other necessity from our pockets, hence we need to make our teams business entities,” Mafutha explained.
he said by undertaking the process, they hope to make their teams ‘attractive to investors and potential partners’ so that they can ‘invest their monies on them.’
“For that to happen, our teams need to take football as a business. They need to develop and nurture young and upcoming talent which they can always sell to generate income,” Mafutha explained.
The KRFA chairman said as the KRFA division 2 teams, they expect to face a lot of challenges, failures and criticism while in the process of professionalising.
He however said this should not deter them but should rather make them even more resolute and determined to succeed.