Thursday, December 3, 2020

“We have not abandoned Under 17,” Makhwengwe

Acting Technical Director of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) says they have not abandoned the just passed Under 17 and many activities are on the pipeline for the team. Philmon Makhwengwe’s words come at a time people are questioning BFA’s seriousness in developing football in the country especially regarding the youth. Botswana’s national Under 17 qualified for the African championships that were held in Morocco early this year, but the team is almost defunct as nothing has been heard of. Makhwengwe on told Sunday Standard that there is no way they can abandon the team because it is the future of the country. “We do have our own challenges as the BFA and people might think we do not care about youth teams but that’s not the case. The biggest challenge we are facing is that most of youth players go to school and we cannot have them everytime we want unless it is school holidays. But we are trying by all means to work around that,” he said. Makgwengwe also emphasised that the team will soon get into camp to prepare for the this year’s Under 20 COSAFA tournament that will be hosted by Lesotho in December. “The team will soon get into camp in preparations for COSAFA but it will be blended with the previous Under 20 because most of such players qualify to play for COSAFA. Also most of the players of the former Under 20 are already more established in the Premier League” he said. Makgwengwe also said there are also several youth international tournaments which Botswana will be taking part. Youth teams are the grassroots of the senior team and if they are not taken seriously there is no way a senior team can do better. Already the senior national team Zebras’ are out of 2014 qualifications for the World Cup and already fingers are pointed at poor youth structures in the country. Premier League teams that should lead by example are also lagging behind and only a fraction of them have youth teams.

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The Telegraph December 2

Digital edition of The Telegraph, December 2, 2020.