Friday, May 24, 2024

The battle for Lekidi intensifies

The battle for the control of Botswana football is entering its last week and the climax stage.

Less than a week is left before the incumbent, Dikgang ‘Philip’ Makagalemele, battles it out with the man who was once at the helm, David Fani.

This week, both parties are making final preparations before the country’s 16 regions cast their secret ballots.
Both parties have gone on record as saying they are confident of victory come Saturday, August 08.

Fani’s campaign, led by Makgalemele’s former right hand man, Maokaneng Bontshetse, has also gone on record as saying they are assured of ten of the 16 regions, while six are still undecided. Makgalemele’s camp, on the other hand, says it is assured of eleven and they will be victorious on Saturday.

Makgalemele’s current right hand man, Puma Mathware, has openly said they will be retaining their positions on Saturday to take Botswana football to another level. Already Makgalemele’s team is showing its serious intentions of clinching several deals before the crucial elections.

Recently, they launched a technical sponsorship of more than P2 million for the national team with a clothing label company, All Kasi. And, on Friday, they signed a corporate governance with the President of South African Football Association, Molefhi Oliphant, which is seen to benefit local football a great deal.

There are also rumours that a lot more is on the way. Some people might be arguing that Makgalemele’s camp is doing this because elections are near, but the reality is what they have already done so far is for the benefit of football.

Makgalemele’s team mainly campaigns by stating that football was in shambles during Fani’s era and things have since changed for the better and so why should they be voted out. During Fani’s time in office, there were no sponsorships for the national teams and the association’s medal cabinet was always empty and dry.

Makgalemele’s team also says there was no blue print for professionalising soccer in the country, no resource mobilisations and even the sponsorships were paltry.

Since Makgalemele took over, more sponsorships have come in their numbers, but despite all this Fani’s team is adamant that they would make a huge difference on what is currently available. How they will make it remains unclear.

What puzzles the soccer fraternity the most is that some of the very same people who helped Makgalemele to win the presidency in 2003 are now leading the campaign for Fani. Some of the people campaigning for Fani are seen as people who want to get into football not for the love of the sport but to advance their personal interests. Some of them are seen as taking soccer nowhere once Fani takes over.

Makgalemele, on the other hand, is seen to be surrounded by visionary men who are not only the think tanks behind local football but people who have been with the sport through thick and thin.


Read this week's paper