Saturday, September 23, 2023

Time for football to heal

On the eve of the 2021 league season kick off on Friday, Gaborone United (GU) hosted its kit launch. The launch was graced by among others, Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Dumezweni Mthimkhulu, Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Maclean Letshwiti, BFA Chief Executive Officer Goabaone Taylor and her Botswana Football League (BFL) counterpart Solomon Ramochotlhwane, just to mention but a few.

As expected, after almost two years of no football, the air at the event was expectant. There was a palpable sense of excitement. Above all there was a visible sense of relief for all present, more especially the BFA leadership, that football was finally back.

For the first time following a few weeks of upheavals and elbow jabbing, there was some relevance of peace. Even the BFA president Letshwiti could after a long while, afford to give his famous chuckle and even take a little dig at GU financier Nicholas Zackhem, a man who had been a thorn in his flesh for a while. This was Letshwiti in his element.

And this was the power and beauty of football as we know it. Enmities and differences put aside. The same could be observed within the GU sporting club as well. For the first time in a very long time, the club has recalled some of its past administrators who had at one point contributed to its success. And the positive effect here was also visible.

After more than six years, GU is finally showing resemblance of what it used to be. Some immediate past GU pariahs, the men who are known to not be on the good standing with Zackhem are back, recalled to help the team by the man himself.

The likes of Herbert Letsebe, a known past opponent of Zackhem is now back as the Marketing Manager. Others who graced the event from these pariahs were former administrators like Kagiso Rantswaneng, Dr Kennedy Ramojela as well as known supporters’ mobiliser Oduetse Mafatelo. Elsewhere, there was a sighting of known GU elder Dr Fedellis Nkomazana, who along with Tymon Katlholo had been some of the fiercest opponents of Zackhem.

“Football is not about having no differences. It is about putting them aside and working together for the good of the game,” Letsebe intimated during an interview on the sidelines.

Speaking to this publication, the GU Marketing Manager said for football in the country to grow, there was a need for divergent ideas to be accepted and differences need not to be turned into enmity.

“Successful companies and individuals know how to work with people they do not like or agree with if they know those people can bring value. This should be the same with football. We have to all work together even if we do not like each other or have difference of opinions,” he explained.


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