Monday, December 6, 2021

Playing field wide open for aspiring BFL CEO

The hunt for a substantive chief executive officer (CEO) at the newly autonomous Botswana Football League (BFL) is on. 

Whoever will be appointed the BFL CEO will have to deal with a new business structure which essentially will have to be self-sustainable.

The new CEO will have to hit the ground running as the infantile BFL, as a professional league, continues to struggle to attract sponsors.  

It therefore comes as no surprise that the administrators say the new league structure will need an experienced and steady hand to navigate it.

“At this moment, the idea of autonomy still feels and looks like a pie in the sky,” one premier league club administrator quips.

According to the administrator, this is largely because the current administrators elected to help with transformation of the league do not have adequate experience on issues of football governance and sponsorships.

“Normally when you decide to have a structure like the BFL, you need to have a strategy first. That strategy will guide you on what type of CEO you need to drive the strategy,” he explains.

He says given that the BFL does not have a strategy, it is only wise that they should go for an experienced and steady hand to guide it.

“First of all, whoever comes should be a football administrator with some experience, even if at club level,” says the administrator.

“The new CEO should also have corporate business and governance acumen if he or she is to run the BFL as a company. The CEO should appeal to the sponsors and should have a good qualification in administration,” he says.

Asked who can ascend to the post, the administrator says there are many young and upcoming administrators at club level, but says they are still a work in progress.

“Most of them are 60 percent ready and a lot will need to be done to get them ready to take on the rigours of the BFL given its politics,” he says.

The administrator says at the moment, only former BFL, then Botswana Premier League (BPL) CEO Bennett Mamelodi is the man who can come to BFL and hit the ground running.

“He has proved his mettle already. The last time we had any positive growth in football was when he was heading the league. As a CEO, he wanted a good quality product and wanted all stakeholders to be happy,” he says.

As part of the then BPL board at the time of Mamelodi’s unceremonious departure, the administrator says while Mamelodi had his shortcomings, his positives however outweighed the negatives.

He says it would not hurt the BFL to call Mamelodi to be CEO, but says they should have a good structure around him to complement him.

“Everyone would love to have Bennett back. Unfortunately, in our football, there is nothing like forgive and forget. We keep grudges even when we preach forgiveness,” says the administrator.

The administrator’s view is supported by yet another one who says the premier league ‘lost its last good CEO with Mamelodi.’ 

“We all know that Bennett’s downfall was political. We know that he also had a problem with one or two influential people or financiers who wanted to control the league,” the administrator opines.

The administrator says without an experienced and steady hand to guide it, the BFL’s bid to be self-sustainable may be futile.

Meanwhile, sources at former BPL league sponsors Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTCL) say the company would still be the league’s title sponsor had Mamelodi stayed on.

“In the chaos that followed Mamelodi’s exit from the BPL, BTCL lost approximately 100 000 subscribers,” the source says.

Coupled with the BPL’s failure to honour contractual obligations of the sponsorship, the source says BTCL had no option but to cut ties with the league.

On whether BTCL could consider coming back, the source says if Mamelodi came back, there is a chance that the company would reconsider its stance.

The source says BTCL’s association with football while still entering the mobile phone market had been a catalyst for growth.

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