The new online player registration system dubbed FIFA CONNECT will facilitate a secure, smooth and organised registration of all football players in Botswana, says Botswana Football Association (BFA) Club Licencing,IT and Registration Officer Olebile Pilara.
Addressing Hukuntsi Regional Football Association (HRFA) club officials in Hukuntsi on Monday, he said the new online player registration will further enable online records keeping and helps in generating statistical evidence related to player registration. With the new digital system, he said there will be increased in international and national transfers of players and curbing of age-related fraud and protection of minors in football fraternity.
Pilara said the new system will soon discontinue the use of player registration book commonly known as blue book at the end of 2019/2020. Therefore, he encouraged the second division clubs to speedily adopt the new system as it already used by clubs in the first division and elite leagues.
‘’Unlike the manual registration, with this system will only give each player what we call a licence before the close of window period. That’s why we are moving around all regions orientating clubs about this system’’ he said.
He said the use of player registration books has many shortcomings and usually create unnecessary conflicts between clubs and dragged the name of BFA in dirty mud. He said local clubs always fight over players who had registered with more than two teams due to the loopholes in the manual registration. With online registration, he said the record of the player will be documented and they will be no scenarios of double registration of one player by two teams because the system will alert the user.
The Regional Chairperson of HRFA, Olson Mantle said the long-term benefits of using FIFA CONNECT is that the information recorded on the players will not be easily lost to clubs and to associations. Though the new system requires a little computer literacy skill, he said the system is user friendly and effective as compared to manually system which is currently used in second division leagues.
For his part, the BFA Regional Coordinator for Southern Region Setete Phutego said many clubs have embraced the new system however they are worried about one of the requirements being player’s medical report. He said though in the medical report is expensive considering the registration quota of thirty players, clubs should be aware that it is an international standard for each player to undergo medical assessment before playing for any club.
He said local clubs can group themselves and approach one private medical doctor and negotiate a discount for medical reports. Alternatively, he said clubs can seek help from political representatives. He said political representatives can lure hospital management in government hospitals to allocate certain days for clubs to bring their players for free medical assessment.