Botswana Football Association (BFA) President, MaClean Letshwiti, was this Friday elected into the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee at the elective congress in Rabat, Morocco.
Letshwiti was contending for one of the 2 slots availed to the COSAFA region in the CAF board. News of his successful election into the top seats of continental football were met with jubilation by some in Botswana, while others felt there was no cause to celebrate.
The elated spoke of how his position as a member of the CAF board would help uplift the profile of Botswana football as he will naturally have pressure to prove that what he can do at continental level, he could do it at home as well. Football analyst in the country Tshepang Mooketsane said the appointment was good news for the country’s football. “As they say, charity begins at home, and the man will have a lot to do because he knows local football administrators will be watching his every move at CAF level, comparing it with what he does at home.
“Besides, being close in office with the likes of CAF President Patrice Motsepe will give him opportunities to seek resource assistance on improving especially the infrastructural devolpment of the game and indeed find a network of people that could help bring sponsors to Botswana football,” he opined.
A top premier league club official on the other hand worried that he could neglect his primary mandate back at home, saying already, there was very little to celebrate about his stint as a Botswana Football Association president as there has been no football in the country for the longest time. The official who opted to remain anonymous said Letshwiti will be with CAF executive committee members whose domestic football is thriving while his remains dormant, and expressed hope that he may also be forced to be seen to be doing something about the situation.
Letshwiti has himself vowed to use his new position at continental level to help raise the bar in the country’s football, admitting that indeed the state of affairs warranted immediate action. He told the media after his victory: “My win is a victory for our country, the continent, and our entire football prospects. Botswana has been playing second fiddle for long, and it’s about time we hold our own against the greatest in the world of sport, particularly football.”
The state of football in Botswana is indeed worrisome, with the league action having halted last year and the winners declared off the pitch based on positions at the time Covid-19 related lockdowns put breaks on football activities.
Since then, there has been no action and clubs are now failing to even pay their players as there is no source of funding. Most clubs relied on gate-takings money for survival, over and above other means of raising funds such as selling club merchandise. Most administrators are not happy with the state of affairs, even made worse by government’s recent announcement that there will be no sport activities except for those in international competitions.