The Botswana Football Association President, Maclean Letshwiti, has encouraged national leagues to run professionally and be business minded.
Letshwiti said this at the opening of a two-day FIFA professional course. The course is attended by premier league team and first division officials.
“Football is changing the world over and it is an industry that needs to be run accordingly to set professional standards,” said Letshwiti.
He highlighted that now is the time for football to be run as a business, not a charitable course.
“We have to get away from this charitable mentality and start running football like business and generate revenue,” he explained.
Letshwiti encouraged club chairpersons attending the course to be serious in running their teams and commit to turn them around.
“You should run your teams like business so that they can be self sustainable. Days of relying on donations are over,” Letshwiti.
The BFA President observed that if properly run, football will change the lives of many.
Endeauvors of the Letshwiti-led administration to professionalise football comes as some welcome development by the Botswana Premier League (BPL).
The league structure has for a while now been trying to gain autonomy from the mother body, but their attempts were rebuffed by the BFA leadership who had been reluctant to grant them their wishes saying they were not ready.
Efforts to turn the BPL around started in 2008 with what is now famous renowned as the Bosele Declaration. The declaration required the teams to be professional and stop the mentality of running as if they are not business. Clubs were required to hire professional staff and have offices where daily operations could be run properly.
He observed that FIFA has engaged in reforms that are intended to turn football around. Letshwiti who is sitting in the CAF Reforms Committee is passionate to see the clubs grow to the next level. He said he was embarrassed to have learnt that one of the local teams had failed to meet the requirements of club licensing.
For clubs to participate in CAF or FIFA competitions teams are expected to have met club licensing requirements.
FIFA development officer Ashford Mamelodi told the attendants that the clubs were more important than the leagues in the professionalisation drive.
“Since clubs make the league, it is important to run the clubs professionally so that things will be easy for the league office to assist them on the daily operations of the league.”
The course was directed by FIFA’s Australian consultant Robbie Middleby, who encouraged the clubs to commit in pursuing professionalism.
Meanwhile, a task force team has been formed to implement and manage the progress of the club licensing requirements. The team is chaired by BFA second vice president Pelotshweu Motlogelwa and it has, among its members, the BFA CEO, BPL CEO, as well as the league management committee chairperson and other professionals.