The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has welcomed world football governing body FIFA’s decision to instruct the government of Botswana to hand over the running of the constituency football tournaments to the Botswana Football Association (BFA). In a statement released by UDC Secretary General Gomolemo Motswaledi, the party says it has always maintained that while grass roots football should be promoted, supported and carried out by appropriate institutions like the Botswana National Sports Council and the Botswana Football Association, the Constituency Tournaments as currently crafted, are a populist and campaign strategy by President Ian Khama. Motswaledi likened the constituency tournaments to Khama’s “habit of parading poor people receiving donations from him on national television, especially blankets for his political pleasure”.
He said in the same way that they do not have a problem with giving the gifts and those who receive the gifts, it is the hidden agenda and intention they question. Motswaledi also took a swipe at BDP MP Botsalo Ntuane whom he accused of recently using these tournaments to campaign for the BDP by telling the electorate that they should not vote for opposition parties because they are against the tournaments. “I wish he had the presence of mind that it was FIFA and it’s regulations he had to address himself to in the first place and then visit our views in the next”, Motswaledi implored Ntuane in his statement.
Motswaledi further says as the UDC they have always known that the laws of FIFA are clear on who has to control football. He said it is FIFA through its affiliates such as the BFA that is mandated with football administration. Motswaledi also pointed out that FIFA is clear that football cannot be controlled by politicians. “This conduct, which FIFA essentially accuses Botswana government of in its letter to the BFA, is a classic case of interference and abuse of the people’s game for their political purpose. This typical reckless conduct by the Government of Botswana has now come back to haunt and embarrass this nation. We continue to call upon the Botswana Government to leave football to football administrators at BFA and FIFA. Let it be left as simple as that”, writes Motswaledi in the statement.