MOLEFHI KANNEMEYER OBENNE
In the previous editions, Part 1 and Part 2, we dealt with the first three ‘Whys’ of the five we should ask ourselves in Botswana football.
The ‘Five Whys’ were orchestrated by the late Sakichi Toyoda, who is one of the fathers and pioneers of the Japanese industrial revolution. Sakichi was an industrialist, inventor and founder of Toyota Industries. His method became popular in the 1970s and Toyota still uses it to solve its problems to-date.
The same theory has been advocated for by Michael Loftman, an academic and renowned author of 1o critical psychological concepts for coaches, among books he wrote. Loftman lamented: “The five whys theory suggests that when dealing with a recurring problem, asking the question ‘why’ five times over will ensure you get to the bottom of what is actually happening.”
The ‘First Why’ was: “Why are we always experiencing the defaulter issue in Botswana football? Why have we made the abnormal to be normal?
The ‘Second Why’ was: “Why do we never learn from previous incidents?” What have we learnt from Nato, Sadiki and other issues from the past?
The ‘Third Why’ was: “Why do we never educate people in lessons learnt?” Education builds a culture of accountability for those who acted and transparency for those who were not there to see how it was done.
The ‘Fourth Why’: Why is this season different from others?
The 2021/22 season was very different from the other seasons before. Flash back to March of 2020 when the BFA suspended all football activities due to COVID-19. All the leagues were finished ‘As Is’. Champions were crowned and teams promoted and relegated. There were a lot of back and forth engagements and was information shared.
At the BFA AGM in 2020, it was agreed that the next league would be played from February to November of 2021, departing from the previous arrangement where a season was played across two years and termed 2021/22, for example.
So the new season was 2021. This alone didn’t subscribe to the normal format. So most teams in January transferred, registered their players and ordinarily assumed that the registration is for the whole season, that from January to November 2021.
This was normal under normal circumstances and no one can refute it. However, the leagues didn’t start as anticipated. In mid-2021, an anouncement was made that the league would revert to the default setting, August to May. In July, a new transfer window was opened until end of September 2021. Teams registered players as usual from July 2021.
In the midst of this yet again, the system was also updated to start the new season from August 2021 to May 2022. Unfortunately, during this deployment no-one was notified of what exactly transpired in the system.
After the end of transfer window and in October 2021, as the leagues were due to start across the country, teams had to print team lists. It was at this particular juncture that all the players who were registered from January to early August didn’t appear on the team list. Only those registered from August to September 2021 or later appeared. This meant that the former players were now in the previous season and needed to be rolled over or have their licences renewed for the new season, which started in late August 2021.
In the balance of things, information was not adequately shared to guide the football community about these renewals and or rolling over. This was caused by a lot of uncertainties as to whether football would return or not. So no one actually paid attention to these finer details. Hence most teams had most of their players renewed and some registered after the transfer window.
Understandably so, most teams in the Premier League, the First Division and Regional Leagues we affected and most had defaulters as prescribed by BFA play rules and regulations under Article 6.1.6, which defines a defaulter as a player “who is registered, transferred or loaned outside the transfer window”.