Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Mfolo – a sacrificial lamb of Botswana’s football politics battles

Ahead of his departure from the Botswana Football Association (BFA), the then chief executive officer Mfolo Mfolo may have had what may be akin to an epiphany.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, during the launch of the Bonnita Cup, Mfolo, tongue in cheek, loudly expressed hope his stay at the BFA will be extended.

The remark, which sparked some curious looks among the media at the launch, came barely an hour just after he had made another remark.

Earlier when arriving at the launch venue for the same event, the then BFA CEO had made a remark that ‘the media will miss him when he is gone.’

Barely two weeks after his remarks, Mfolo was suspended after the Botswana boys under 17 national team was disqualified from the COSAFA tournament for failing some MRI tests.

According to a source at the association, while the former CEO may have made the comment subconsciously, he was aware his time at the BFA was up.

The source indicates that Mfolo’s stay at the association was nearly cut short earlier in March.

However, with the impending elective annual General Assembly, he was left to stay after ‘someone whispered that it will be a mistake since there will be no one to give direction going to the elective assembly.’

“Even during the BFA elections here in Gaborone, it was clear that Mfolo had lost rapport with the regime,” the source says.

The source says when journalists asked to seek clarity on the elections’ procedure from Mfolo, one aspiring NEC member blatantly informed them the CEO was clueless and useless.

On what could have led to the former CEO losing his standing within the organisation, the source indicated it was due to his principled stand on elections.

“They say he was useless because he did not want political allegiance. He was aware of the sensitivity of elections more especially if he was to deal with FIFA,” the source says.

On the issue of the failed MRI tests, the source indicates that whereas allegations abound that he was directly responsible, the contrary is true.

“His assertion is that after he received the correspondences, he sent them to the offices of the Technical Director, Competitions Manager and Manager of Football Operations,” the source says.

“As the people directly responsible for national teams, he wanted them to make sure the correspondences were given all the attention but this never came to be,” says the source.

The source’s side of events is however disputed by those within Lekidi, who say he had ‘admitted to the MRI clanger.’ 

“If he was not responsible, he could have suspended or fired those under him who are directly responsible,” the insider says.

The insider says as the person responsible, Mfolo had to take the fall as ‘he had put the association in an embarrassing situation.’ 

On the termination of the CEO’s engagement, the insider says it was a mutual parting of ways between him and the BFA.

“People have to remember that Mfolo was seconded to the association from the government. We therefore cannot fire him as he was not directly employed by the association,” the insider explains.

The insider says they expect the former CEO to go back to the government service while the association hunts for its next CEO.

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