As the date for Botswana Football Association (BFA) election draws closer, STAFF WRITER JOSEPH KGAMANYANE this week zoomed into the presidency race and engaged local football analyst, Jimmy George to hear his views about the fierce contest which will be between the incumbent President, Maclean Letshwiti, his predecessor, Tebogo Sebego and former BFA Chief Executive Officer, Ookeditse Malesu.
What is your comment about the presidency race?
GEORGE: For me it should not be about the people standing for the elections, it should rather be about what the presidency means and that should mean somebody who is willing to change football, engage with different structures and map the way forward, as a country we need to know where we are going football wise. Our presidency should have a mandate relevant to our country.
What are can you say about the BFA presidency itself?
GEORGE: The problem of the BFA presidency is that they wanted to professionalise local football and my believe is that cannot happen in the next coming 10 to 15 years. Because of our economy it will take us long for us to arrive at the professionalism they want. Our economy is very sluggish and the private sector is not willing to invest in football.
It is not even the problem of BFA presidency for them to solve and they should not think that they will run around and find money to professionalise our football overnight, the reality is that they wont.
And who is to blame for that?
GEORGE: Both of our former and current president have been guilty of that, they thought they could change the state of our football only through professionalism, its a noble mistake they both did. They should not strive to change our football overnight but rather strive to leave a lasting legacy to our football.
According to you where should their focus be?
GEORGE: They have neglected the basic which is development. Their focus should be on investing and placing more efforts in developing our players, coaches and referees. Put in place stringent laws which are pulling towards development so that teams can also follow suit. Lets copy what other countries are doing as far as development is concerned.
Can you explain more on that?
GEORGE: Lets take Holland as an example, they have accepted that their leagues cannot attract money like other countries such as Spain and Germany. But the country did not neglect what makes Holland what it is which is development. They focused on making their teams very strong and strengthened their development structures because that is where they excel. Their players and coaches can now compete against the best around the world. Countries elsewhere are already copying this because its becoming very expensive to buy players.
Any achievement that you feel the BFA presidency did?
GEORGE: For me achievement would be when you have affected change but what Letshwiti has done Sebego also did, they haven’t changed anything that was not there before. For me its been business as usual, I think it was only the faces that changed. They came in and left but did not leave any legacy legacy behind, so I do not think they have made any meaningful achievements.
Some regard Malesu as a lightweight in this race, whats your take on that?
GEORGE: But Malesu has been there before as a CEO, Sebego and Letshwiti on the other hand have not taken the bar high where Malesu cannot also take it. So I think he should not be ruled out from the race.
What is your advise to the delegates?
GEORGE: My advise to the delegates is that they should introspect the presidential candidates to understand what is it that they have for our football, what are they bringing this time around which is different from the past because they have been there before but they haven’t changed anything.
Your last words?
GEORGE: Our local football is in dire need of a leader who can change its phase because it has been stagnant for a very long time so we do not need the approach of business as usual.