“We promise to get back on our feet once we are given the all-clear.”
The president of Botswana Football Association (BFA), Maclean Letshwiti, has called for a united front and respect for the integrity of the Federation and the game.
In an interview with Gazette Sport, Letshwiti said while COVID-19 has unfortunately halted football in communities across the country, the organization has continued to engage key stakeholders to agree guidelines under which football can be played safely.
“The BFA has set out clear structures that stakeholders can access at any time,” he explained. “Botswana football is in need of transformation and we need to be progressive in our approach. All stakeholders need to ensure maximum participation when forums to engage are set up.
“They need to ensure that the right people, including those who will be responsible for implementation, are included from the onset. This will ensure alignment of all on all the transformational projects that the BFA implements. Football is for all and we should therefore want to work together for the good and benefit of the game.
“A lot can still be done, and will be done, to ensure the safe return of fans to stadiums. These engagements are ongoing and we believe a solid plan will soon be committed to by all. We can only ask our fans and the football community at large to know that what we say and how we behave in the media can and will shape the outcome of these engagements.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted economic activity in Botswana and football, as one of the major contributors to the economy of the country, has not been spared. However, we need to understand that the laws of the country need to be observed and complied with.
“To be proactive, Botswana Football Association had brought its medical experts to develop guidelines to aligned football with the protocols of the country as well as of FIFA and CAF to ensure the safe return of football. We have seen clubs, especially those in the Premier League, being the ones to stress test these guidelines and able to return to training in a safe manner.
“We believe that as we look to kick off the league, these guidelines will continue to be a guiding instrument for clubs to ensure the safety of their players and officials. People’s lives have been affected, some with precarious work situations which will drastically affect households and their families. But the love of the game prevails and I can only call for respect and constructive engagement for the betterment of football in our country. It will be a while before we get back to normal though, but let’s work together in the meantime.”
“We make a humble request to fans to be patient. Continue to wear masks, sanitize and social-distance at all times. Please keep your families safe. Together we can move into the new normal. Football is still very much alive, and we promise to get back on our feet once we are given the all-clear.”