Friday, October 30, 2020

Women footballers are tired of playing from the touch line

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has unveiled its strategy for women football, but it is already being touted as another ruse ahead of the upcoming elections.

Tired of empty rhetoric and promises, those within women football in Botswana say a lot still needs to be done to grow a game which they believe ‘is neglected.’ 

Top of the development, they opine, should be the development of women coaches and administrators.

For a sport that has so much potential and is sometimes seen as a low hanging fruit towards glory, they believe not much is being done.

All this is despite international football bodies like FIFA and COSAFA calling for empowerment of women coaches and administrators.

The lack of qualified women coaches and administrators has been pointed at as one of the key indicators of a major neglect of women football in Botswana.

According to one insider at Lekidi, even the appointment of a woman as a women’s representative in the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) has not improved things.

The insider, who commented on condition of anonymity noted that as much as the powers that be would make people believe women football is progressing, the truth was that ‘women football has been neglected.’ 

The insider said what worries most is that ‘even the women who have been placed to lead it seem to neglect it too.’ 

“When Maclean Letshwiti took over as BFA President, he made it very clear that he wanted men to focus on men football while women focused on women football,” the insider explained. “This came after COSAFA made an order for women to lead women football.” 

Despite this, the insider said there had been no significant progress for women, both in coaching and administration and this also has to do with unwillingness among women to take the initiative.

“Truth is women are not playing their part as effective as they should and they are too reluctant to take the intiative. We also have to acknowledge that women football is still on development stage along with the women coaches. As such, we are striving not only for results but also growth which they too have to take seriously,” the source said.

He however mentioned that there is no solid development structure that can groom the ladies.  

Another source however points out that everything points to a lack of political will within the local football leadership to make the environment conducive for women to grow.

They point out that over the past decade, not more than four (4) qualified women coaches had come out of Lekidi.

This, they point out, may be the reason why the country’s women national team coaches tend to overstay in their jobs, even if results are not forthcoming.

“Back in 2008, the association held FA woman coaching courses with at least 38 women participating,” the source elucidated.

According to the source, while women showed interest, the patriarchal system running football was not so welcoming, and this demoralized the women.

“Men, who ran football clubs at the time refused to allow woman to participate in football and noted that they would not allow any woman to head any team,” said the source. 

Commenting on the association’s strategy for women football, BFA NEC member and women’s representative Tsoseletso Magang said it seeks to address major concerns about women football.

The strategy seeks to, among others address challenges such as poor administration due to unskilled volunteers, ineffective women committees in the regions, unqualified coaches and shortage of female referees and shortage of facilities, just to mention a few.  

For this year (2020), Magang said they had a target to conduct preliminary and D coaching license courses in the 4 blocks for 5 regions. 

Magang however said the arrival of the covid-19 upset all their plans and as such, a lot of plans will be moved forward to later dates.

She added that new dates and commitments will be made when they are allowed back to resume activities. 

Reached to comment, Mexican Girls Head Coach Oaitse Moeti noted that the new strategy carried so many errors and has some doubtful information.

He said whereas it is written in the strategy that Botswana had four women with C-licence qualifications, there was no truth in it. Moeti said only one lady in Botswana has a C-license. 

“Only one woman, Bonang Otlhagile has a C-license. The highest qualified woman coach is Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang who holds B-license. The other women are not qualified or have failed to complete their coaching licences,” he said. 

Numerous attempts by this publication to get a comment from the BFA women administration office regarding coaches’ courses, management, and the investment of BFA in women administration courses to highlight a few hit a snag. 

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