Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Shock as Nthobelang is appointed COO

In another shocking move, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has appointed an executive committee member, Ernest Nthobelang, as an interim Chief Operation Officer (COO). He will be running the affairs at Lekidi Football Centre for the next three months. His appointment follows that of Tariq Babitseng who is serving as acting Chief Executive Officer.

The appointment of Nthobelang, who also serves as the association’s Vice President Technical, has left many people in football circles speechless. While Sebego made it clear from the beginning that he will change the set-up at BFA, it is his appointments that are making many people start to lose faith in his leadership. That is at least for now.

“We had so much faith in him when he came on board. But he has taken some shocking decisions, which I doubt have won him many friends. While we understood his decision to put Babitseng in that position, I don’t know how he is going to convince us about Nthobelang,” said a football administrator who did not want to be named.

He further pointed out that while the National Executive Committee (NEC) members are football volunteers, the appointment of both Babitseng and Nthobelang means that they are paid every month.
“It is a bit awkward. While I understand that it is a temporary measure, I want to believe that Sebego could have looked elsewhere, not his committee members,” added the administrator.

When contacted for comment on Friday morning, Sebego was adamant that Nthobelang’s appointment is a move in the right direction while they are still waiting for the British-born CEO to arrive in the country.

“People have to understand that NEC has made these appointments in the best interest of football. Nthobelang is there on temporary basis and as soon as the new CEO arrives, he will be stepping down. In corporate governance, board members can act on a position and I don’t see anything strange with our decision,” said Sebego.

He pointed out that the reason Botswana football has not progressed over the years is because there was no Operations Officer. He said in every set-up, there is need to have someone who will oversee the operations on a daily basis.

“Looking at our resources, it was not advisable to look for someone from the outside. Nthobelang would be paid a responsibility allowance which wouldn’t take us out of budget. We also needed someone who will not compromise our vision,” he added.

Sebego slammed reports that some of the NEC members were not happy about Nthobelang’s appointment. He said they took the decision collectively as the executive committee.

“If there is anyone who was not happy about the move, he/she could have raised it at the meeting. People must also understand that these men (Nthobelang and Babitseng) are sacrificing their businesses to serve football,” the BFA boss said.

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The Telegraph October 28

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 28, 2020.