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Key Takeaways From The BFA Presidential Debate

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BONGANI MALUNGA

Botswana Football Association (BFA) presidential hopefuls Tebogo Sebego and Ookeditse Malesu took part in a presidential debate on Sunday afternoon, live on national television station BTV, with both candidates stating why they would be best suited to lead the association. Incumbent president MacLean Letshwiti was unavailable on the day but his competitors took the chance to lay out their ambitions.

With Malesu having an admirable sports administration track record and Sebego having an equally admirable background in sports leadership and a reputable business acumen, both candidates possess the necessary qualities to give Letshwiti a run for his money in the elections and they took advantage of the platform given to them to sway votes in their favour. Gazette Sport picked major takeaway points from the presidential debate.

Sebego Promises BPL Autonomy
During Sebego’s previous tenure the Botswana Premier League unsuccessfully sought autonomy to become an independent body in their day to day operations. Both camps’ failure to reach common ground caused friction and led to a fractured relationship between the BFA and the BPL with the latter feeling the pinch a lot more.

After years of reflection and taking stock of his previous shortcomings, Sebego has promised to give the BPL the autonomy they have forever craved, he stated that he would like to see the BPL and the First Division have more power and freedom in their daily operations, giving them an opportunity to seek deals that would favour them and to govern themselves. An independent league body exists in major leagues around the world and if the Botswana league follows suit it would be seen as a sign of progress.

Malesu Prioritizing AFCON Qualification, Women’s World Cup
Malesu has revealed that he strives to see the Zebras qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to end up to eight years of only sniffing the feeling of participating in the continental showpiece from afar. The presidential hopeful also stated that his grand wish is to also see the senior national women’s team qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the near future. His plan is to see the Botswana national teams excelling on the continental and global stage in due time, in his eyes the success of national teams can be achieved through great foundation set by the association’s guidance and support. “Our belief is that women national team the Mares a low hanging fruit and need to be nurtured, supported, empowered and given all the skills they need to perform better, their coaches and administrators also equipped with the latest methodologies, philosophies and knowledge of today’s game. A thorough needs analysis will be done to ascertain what exactly is needed to take them to greater height,” said Malesu.

Malesu Explains Early BFA Exit
Malesu also took the time to explain, for the first time ever, why he lasted only six months as the Chief Executive Officer of the BFA. He stated that a difference in ideology and principles led to his departure from the position. Although he did not disclose names, he stated that he would have lasted longer if promises had been kept and if he had dealt with people who kept their word. Malesu stated that he decided to step away from the association to ensure that his legacy was not tarnished.

Both Camps Promise to Improve Women’s Football
Both presidential candidates have promised to ensure that women’s football is given the proper attention, recognition and support if they get elected. Malesu and Sebego have the highest number of female candidates in their teams with Kesego Okie and Itsholeng Disang on Sebego’s team while Theresa Hirschfeld and Joy Setshedi are on Malesu’s team. This year’s elections boasts a record number of female candidates with Tsoseletso Magang (Team Letshwiti) and Lobito Ncube (independent candidate) also in contention. Sebego has promised to install a female representative in the National Executive Committee and ensure that every block has a women’s football department officer while Malesu has stated that the inclusion of two female candidates with great logistical and leadership experience proves that he has great plans to prioritize inclusion as well. “We need to start seeing more women coming on board, supporting each other, taking leadership rules in the women football. I would have opted for 3 women in my team, and this simple women pay more attention to detail as opposed to men, women are competent leaders and in some cases can do a better job than men, that women must run their own affairs and create an environment where a girl child, a young women can easily express herself,” stated Malesu.

Sebego Promises A Players Welfare Fund
Sebego has also promised to form a players welfare fund to ensure that players do not have to struggle after retiring from football. He noted how he has noticed how many footballers are often struggling financially after retiring and plans to create a players welfare fund which would see the association get 5% of match day gate takings for the fund to function. The former BFA leader stated that this fund will ensure that players who struggle to make ends meet after football will be assisted.

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