When campaigning for Botswana Football Association (BFA) presidency, Maclean Letshwiti put grassroots soccer development as his number one priority once elected. In line with that and seemingly living to his promises, this week the BFA announced the appointment of Block Technical Coordinators for all the four BFA blocks to spearhead development. These are Ricardo Marape (North Block), Kenneth Mogae (East Block), Boniface Lekaba (South Block) and Director Muzula (West Block). BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said the four coordinators will be tasked to promote, facilitate and manage youth programmes in the country. Mpatane said these include grassroots development for both boys and girls in the Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 age groups. The coordinators are said to have been appointed on a three-year contract basis. “The appointment of the four technical coordinators is aimed at creating the association’s DNA for youth and coach development at the regions. It is also a way of the association to empower the regions so that they also can be contributors to the development of football in a systematic way,” he said. Mpatane said the four block technical coordinators will be working towards ensuring that youth development runs smoothly at the regions.
In the past some in the footballing fraternity complained that BFA services were only centralised at Lekidi. Mpatane said the association is now moving towards decentralising some of the services to the regions. This was Letshwiti’s long term plan, having declared in his manifesto the need to establish regional centres to facilitate regional activities in a more coherent manner. According to him, this would help take some of the association’s activities to the regions. Letshwiti had also promised to introduce technical regional football development officers or coordinators to all BFA blocks/regions, saying this will help decentralise the association’s activities to involve the regions in the development of football. Letshwiti wanted to increase focus on regional football to ensure production of quality players, saying that was crucial in taking local football to another level. “BFA National Executive Committee should only be involved with development of regulatory frameworks that enable an environment for effective implementation of programmes,” said Letshwiti. To pave way for the envisaged plan of capacitating the regions, Mpatane revealed that some of them have already secured offices. He singled out the Francistown and the Kweneng regions, saying others are also in a process of getting their own offices.
Some football pundits have welcomed the move, saying it will go a long way in improving football development in the country. The development might have come four months later than promised but it has been received with both hands. Letshwiti had promised to do that two months after his election. Letshwiti has been in the office for six months now and it looks like slowly the man is delivering on his promises. In December 2016, the BFA introduced the much envisaged youth league as a way of focusing on grassroots football development in country. The appointment of the four Block Technical Coordinators also comes as a complement BFA’s developmental strategy. In addition to the block coordinators the association hired Odirile Matlhaku as BFA Technical Officer to add to more experience to the technical department.