The Botswana Football Association (BFA) vice president technical, Ernest Nthobelang, who declared his interest in standing for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections for Mahalapye East parliamentary seat later this year, is said to be considering to step down from his position at the Football Headquarters.
According to reliable sources, Nthobelang has hinted to his close allies that focusing on politics now might be the best option.
“He has given his all to football in recent times but his interest is somewhere else. The people in his constituency need him. Though the party has not officially opened for campaigning, he needs to do some ground work just like he did when he landed the BFA post,” said a source close to the developments.
When contacted for comment, Nthobelang dismissed the allegations that he is considering to leave the post he was elected into in July last year.
“I still have a lot to offer to football and there is no way I’m going to step down before my term ends. As much as I have forwarded my name to BDP for consideration, I believe that I’m capable of handling that which goes with football and politics. It’s not that I’m fulltime at BFA, I’m only needed for meetings which hardly go beyond two hours,” said Nthobelang.
The former Township Rollers coach added that he believes that his colleagues at BFA will not have a problem with him running for the parliamentary office.
BFA president, Tebogo Sebego, said that Nthobelang has not informed them about his political ambitions but said that there is nothing wrong with him running for a political office.
“He has not told us mainly because their party campaigns have not been opened yet. The issue (of participating in politics) was discussed before but there was no decision taken as to whether it is right or not. As you may be aware, there are other members of BFA who have participated in politics before. It is something we’ll have to revisit in the near future and make a decision,” said Sebego.
Sources at Lekidi (BFA headquarters) have revealed that some members of NEC are not happy with the input of Nthobelang ever since he declared his interest in BDP primaries. “He’s always out of Gaborone even when he is needed to do some tasks at BFA. The president has not addressed the matter with him but he is aware of other members’ concerns. I think stepping down would be an ideal thing so that he can focus fully on politics,” said a source.
Nthobelang will face a tough test against incumbent MP Botlogile Tshireletso, Maphashalala councilor Neo Magowe, Taupye councilor Edward Maganana, Joseph Orebotse and Lazarus Lekgoanyana. The latter contested the primaries and lost to Tshireletso five years ago.
“There is no doubt he (Nthobelang) is a capable man. There is need for change,” said a source. It is said that it is in places like Mookane where he originates, Dovedale, Pallaroad, Dibete and Makwate where he enjoys a huge support.