BFA refuse to fly England based starlet

Jun 16, 2017

Bakang Mhaladi

GABORONE – The Botswana Football Association (BFA) refused to pay for England based Southend player, Renei Batlokwa’s flight after the player received his first senior team call-up.

Zebras coach Peter Butler had called-up the 20-year-old attacking midfielder early this month, with a view of getting a closer look on a player who has received a rave of reviews in England.

However, the BFA told the player they could not meet his travel expenses.

“I had explained that I would be in Botswana for holiday and asked for a ticket back. They clearly stated that they would not take care of my expenses,” Batlokwa said this week.

“To say I was disappointed is an understatement. It was my first call up and the whole thing is unorganised. That just made me question the association’s professionalism.”

But despite the treatment, Batlokwa said he would remain available for the Zebras although he is eligible to play for England. In fact he is still weighing up his options.

“I would definitely be happy to be called up in future, provided things are well organised. Until I am reassured, I will be concentrating on my football here,” he said.

Batlokwa moved to England at the age of 10 and has had trials at Arsenal. He has been with Southend from the Under-13s and is looking forward to breaking into the senior team. He has previously played for Essex Thurrock.

Zebras coach, Peter Butler is a former Southend player and was keen on having a look at the player as the national side prepared for their opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mauritania.

The national side went down 1-0 despite creating several scoring opportunities. Butler said the door was still open for Batlokwa and despite the handling of his travel, the coach would not hesitate to pick him in future.

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