When he arrived in Botswana, Keith Masters said that he would make the debt-ridden BFA profitable. The BFA, he said, is sitting on a gold mine.
It was a statement which many believed that will haunt Masters during his three-year term here.
Even BFA president Tebogo Sebego took the stick for bringing Masters here just because he is an Englishman.
After completing 12 months in the hot BFA seat, Masters has disclosed that he is happy with the progress he has made but was quick to point that there is a lot still to be done.
“I can’t believe that I’ve been here for a year. Time is flying and I’m happy with the way things have gone. I must admit I was a bit na├»ve when I came here but I have realised that there are similarities between England and Botswana that is football. I decided to sit back and learn but it is difficult with the resources here. I’m happy that I’ve managed to stabilise the income and we’re no longer in debt. My priority was to bring things in order and that’s what I’ve tried so far,” said Masters with a smile.
Masters said that when he came to Botswana, he realised that there are facilities like auditorium, boardroom and hostels which could generate income for the BFA but they were not being properly used.
“That is what I meant when I said when I said that we’re sitting on a gold mine. We needed to be self sufficient in order to make money and I believe that we can devise programmes for the clubs to be self sufficient,” he added. Masters said that he wants to leave the BFA as a stable organisation when his term comes to an end.
He is fully aware that he will be slammed in different football forums but that is not his concern.
“I’m here for a relatively short period but I want to make sure that the standards are in a better condition. For the rest of my life I will be grateful to BFA president (Tebogo Sebego) and the NEC for giving me this opportunity. I know I can’t please anyone but that’s the nature of my job,” said Masters.
The BFA chief pointed out that he has set his standards high and even his staff at Lekidi Football Centre are aware of that.
He warned that he is not going to compromise these principles to be nice and let people sleep on the job.
“The manner in which I operate is not going to please everyone in the staff. I’m not here to be popular but to do a job for BFA. I say things the way I say,” he said.
On allegations that he is undermining other members of the national executive committee except for Sebego, Masters scoffed.
He said that according to the BFA constitution he reports to the BFA president but that does not mean he can be disrespectful to other NEC members.
“I’m surprised to hear that and if that’s the perception I don’t know. I’m a respectful person but I draw the line,” he said.
Masters took a swipe at some quarters of the media saying that they never get facts right.
He was once quoted making controversial statement that some publications the only thing they get right is the date.
“There were certain which are said about BFA which were totally incorrect. They did not get our side of story and went on to publish untrue stories. There are certain people who want BFA to fire me. There is a lot of negativity but the journalists should know that I need them and they need me,” he said.
Masters also rubbished allegations that national team coach Peter Butler was appointed because he is his countryman.
He claims that Butler met the requirements and he did not have any influence in the decision.
“It is absolutely trash because we advertised and he met the requirements. He was appointed by Tebogo Sebego, Solly Reikeletseng (sports council chairman) and Ernest Nthobelang (BFA vice president technical,” he said. Earlier in the day Sebego said that they are happy with the work that Masters has put in since his arrival.
“The situation we gave him was not a perfect one because our secretariat was in a mess. We were also in lots of debts but right I talk to you we’re in a surplus something which is new to the association. Our commercial process should be getting in a full swing soon,” said Sebego.