Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, Patrice Motsepe has urged the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to involve the private sector more in the development of football.
Motsepe was in the country on Monday, where he met the Minister of Sport, Gender, Youth and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare and football officials.
In his address to BFA representatives at Lekidi Centre, Motsepe said African football has lagged behind due to the economic environment. He said where there is partnership with the private sector there is good progress. Motsepe said there is a lot of talent in Botswana but there is need for good investment.
“We must not doubt ourselves. The talent you produce her can compete with the best in the world. But you derive benefits based on the investment you make,” Motsepe said.
“Days of talking about the potential of Botswana football are over. You have to have confidence and believe. I have the talent from this country in South Africa,” he added.
Motsepe said football should tap into companies that can also benefit from their association with the game.
“You need to get more resources and move from amateur to a professional set up. You have a minister of sport who is passionate. I leave here proud and confident,” he said.
Motsepe said success will not come overnight but the investments are worth the wait.
He said the women’s team, the Mares had made to the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations finals as a testimony of Botswana’s talent. Motsepe said Botswana’s plan to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations finals is a good development.
He said this would accelerate football growth and develop infrastructure. Botswana is keen to co-host the finals with Namibia, with the finer details being stitched together.
“There is absolutely no reason why Botswana cannot host the AFCON finals and be watched by more than 180 countries around the world. Bidding for the AFCON makes commercial sense. That will make me proud,” he said.
He also emphasised on the need to invest in schools football which he said presented the foundation for growth. BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti told Motsepe that local football was on a path to turn professional. However, he said most sides still lag behind. Former Botswana Football League (BFL) chairperson, Aryl Ralebala said football in Botswana remains unenviable.
“Our population is too small to attract funding from the private sector. Football as a sport is not sustainable commercially. We also have poor facilities,” he said. But Motepe said the issue of population should not discourage football officials. Instead, he said they should use Botswana’s stead economy to build relationships and football.
“The economy is a good starting point which you can use to build football,” he said.
BFL chairperson, Nicholas Zakhem said companies are reluctant to invest in football, which is an obstacle to the growth of the game.