Financial constraints derails Botswana football
By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE – The Lack of funds continues to derail Botswana football’s progress with the national teams particularly hard hit.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Maclean Letshwiti told the association’s annual general meeting in Gaborone, over the weekend, that a lack of finance was compromising the quality of football.
“We failed to meet our targets due to lack of finance,” Letshwiti told the gathering.
It was his first general assembly as president after he ousted Tebogo Sebego in last year’s election.
Letshwiti said when they inherited the association, it was P10million in the red.
Only recently, the women’s Under-20 was withdrawn after the first leg of the World Cup qualifiers, with the BFA saying it was unable to finance a trip to Kenya for the reverse fixture.
The men’s senior team has always complained of delayed allowances’ payments while fixtures, particularly preparatory matches, are far apart.
The women’s league failed to take off due to lack of funds, with the future looking increasingly bleak, despite BFA’s assurances that all is on track.
Other than finance, Letshwiti said the general performance of national teams had plummeted with the Zebras without a win in an official match since June 2016.
He said this might be linked to the declining number of Botswana players in leagues abroad.
The number is down to a trickle with only Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele the visible figure, while others players are in peripheral roles.
“The performance of the national teams has been a shadow of itself ever since the qualification to AFCON 2012. This might be attributed to the calibre of players we have at our disposal. We are no longer exporting players at the rate we used to,” Letshwiti said.
He said it was worrying that Botswana prefers to send its core squad to tournaments such as COSAFA cup while other nation brings their development side.
“This is an indication that in terms of youth development, we still have a lot of work to do,” Letshwiti said.
Despite taking a strong squad to the COSAFA tournament, Botswana has failed to impress, bar reaching the final in Namibia in 2016.
The Zebras have had a disappointing year, starting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers with a 1-0 reversal to Mauritania before South Africa booted them out of the African Nations Championships (CHAN). In the COSAFA Cup, they lost to Zambia in quarter final before South Africa eliminated them from the Plate semi-final.