Had Goabaone Taylor still been the Botswana Football Association (BFA) chief executive officer (CEO), the past week would have marked her first year in charge.
As things are with the CEO post at the association, the history making Taylor, who was the first woman to hold the post was out of the revolving Lekidi doors as soon as she entered.
Despite her unceremonial departure, she claims she has no regrets for ever stepping in the football world as she viewed the association as almost a greenfield. “I had made a conscious decision when I applied for the job. I was ready for the challenge when I accepted the offer,” she says.
Interestingly, when she ascended the BFA’s top secretariat post, Taylor got an unsolicited warning from her immediate predecessor and now successor Mfolo Mfolo. Talking through his Facebook timeline, he warned her to ‘sleep with one eye wide open.’
Taylor however says she did not take the advice to heart. “It baffles me why in the first he said that. It was not necessary in my own view. People just want to think football is the only entity or organisation with politics but politics is everywhere, even le morero wa Setswana has some politics,” she explains.
Like Mfolo and others who came before her, she believes there are those within the BFA leadership who do not know their roles within the board.
“What is rather regretful are individuals who take up board positions with no clear plan of how they intend to make an impact in the strategic direction of football and seek out those opportunities in their daily activities,” she utters.
The immediate past BFA CEO says her unceremonious departure from Lekidi ‘was partly because of the jittery by a board that had not taken time out to plan and document its strategy and create a “one vision.” A board which she says ‘had not made a conscious decision to trust its executive management.’
If there is one regret for Taylor, it seems, is the fact that she will never get to achieve what she had set to achieve for local football, an industry she viewed as a greenfield.
When she arrived at Lekidi, she says she found a half century old organisation with outdated policies, no organisational structure, no job profiles for employees and with policies and procedures not aligned to those of affiliate bodies. She hoped to drag this organisation into a new era. She says she had wanted to see big outcomes made in Botswana football.
In terms on the association’s financial status, she noted that the financial management was but a dream, with a budget made up of numbers and no alignment to activities and projects.
“With the right team of executive managers, I was certain that all these would be put into place over the duration of my three-year term. It was an ambitious dream, but it is one I was looking forward to seeing through, even if it meant I achieve at least 75% of that,” she said.
Now as she reflects on what could have been, Taylor has some nuggets of wisdom for local football. She says ‘football needs to be transformed.’ She says ‘circulating the same people will never take us far.’
“We need to move away from this idea of only football people should take football executive positions. They need to have a backing of some formal exposure in administration and strategy, otherwise Botswana football will remain in the state and ranking it is in.”
“It is regrettable the calibre of people the football board attracts. I wonder if this is the same in other countries. But even if it is, people need to be ready to accept professional help. Botswana has lost a lot of knowledgeable professionals in the name of football politics which in my view is just people refusing to make the right decisions for the game,” she reflects.
Whatever outcome, Taylor believes she ran a good race. She believes she was on the right track but was let down by an apparent lack of corporate governance within BFA.