The slight improved fortunes of Botswana football might be a thing of the past if Botswana teams keep avoiding participating in African Club competitions.
This is according to one of local football analysts, Fobby Radipotsane. Radipotsane said countries that are doing well in Africa have their clubs taking part in the competition almost every year.
His remarks come at a time when Botswana might not have representatives in the African Champions League and the Confederations Cup this year.
The would-be representatives, Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, cited lack of adequate resources for their non participation.
Surprisingly, many clubs around the African continent from terribly poor countries always take part and do well.
A typical example is neighbouring Zimbabwe that had the worst economic crisis in the world.
Radipotsane emphasised that, naturally, players like to be seen playing top flight football and, as such, the stepping stone to that is the African competitions where a lot is learned.
He also stressed that Club African competitions easily market players. Radipotsane gave the example of neighbouring South Africa.
He said in the mid nineties when South Africa was a force to reckon with, South African clubs were participating regularly.
“In 1995, Orlando Pirates won the African Champions League and the following year, South Africa won the Africa Cup of Nations. From there South African clubs, especially the powerful ones, stopped participating saying it was financially taxing. Now look what is happening to South African football, it is plummeting and it will only improve once they start taking CAF competitions seriously. This should then be a lesson to Botswana,” he said. Radipotsane added that the reason for lack of resources is not convincing enough and local teams do no plan things well in advance.
“Last year, GU participated in CAF competitions and showed that if we can take them seriously we can go places. Teams like Rollers and Chiefs should really not give any flimsy excuses because they are sitting on gold mines. They have large followings that always fill stadiums to capacity and there should not be a reason for teams not to participate,” he said.
Had the two teams taken part in the competitions that start towards the end of January, it was going to be of great benefit to Botswana because many scouts would follow the teams around. Already all eyes are on Botswana following their impressive performance in the AFCON 2012 qualifiers.