After being elected the President of the Botswana Football Association a few years ago, Dikgang Philip Makgalemele was more charged and wanted to address areas that were previously overlooked by previous administrators. One such area was the engagement of retired players into the running of football matters in the country.
In 2005, he even called a meeting of the retired players and most of them embraced it with both hands and attended in their numbers.
However, Makgalemele’s efforts dissipated along the way until after he was voted out two years ago.
Now the fort has been taken by a gentleman know as Jim Kelly, a former Extension Gunners and national team player.
Kelly is instrumental in bringing all retired players to contribute something into the development of football in the country. He told Sunday Standard that many yester year players are not in football despite the immense contributions they have made to football in Botswana.
“Retired players are the backbone of the success of football in any country. They can work in many capacities such as technical and even administration. They impart their experience to up and coming players so that they are also better off. As such we see it necessary to have an effective retired players union whereby we will, time after time, share invaluable information. If you look at successful countries retired players are used diligently,” he said. Kelly emphasized that retired players are not doing much as they should and hopes with their mission all will fall into place.
He said not many players have come forward as they would like but they intend to travel the whole country to realize their dream. Kelly added that once they are united as former players, it would also help them to develop their skills through courses administered by the BFA.
“There are always coaching and administrative international courses organised by the BFA. This would definitely help our players because things would be done appropriately. Once the players have courses, they would also keep on going for refresher ones and thus getting engaged in aspects such as development structures of the country. Currently our teams do not have strong youth structures and retired players can lead the way,” he said. On Thursday, several retired players met at Lekidi Football Centre where they brainstormed several issues affecting them. Some of the players included the likes of Wiseman Lesole, Tumie Duiker and Barnes Maplanka. Wiseman was a popular figure in the 80s and even went to the extent of playing for the Zebras.
Duiker, on the other hand, was a darling of Extension Gunners when they were a super hot outfit in the early nineties.
Maplanka, the youngest of them, had to leave football early because of knee problems.