Botswana Football Association (BFA) should leading by example when it comes to player welfare, argues STAFF WRITER OTHUSITSE TLHOBOGANG.
The issue of unpaid appearance fees for Zebras players that caused a stand-off between players and BFA leadership on Wednesday is of serious concern. The BFA however seems to be failing address this issue as it keeps coming back from time to time. This is a long standing issue which should have been addressed by the new Maclean Letshwiti administration. It is like the BFA administration is not walking the talk. Just last week the BFA president Letshwiti blasted on Botswana Premier League (BPL) teams, saying they were not taking proper care of players. He attributed this to the local clubs not doing well in CAF competitions. It is only fitting that one would have thought that the association will be leading by an example when it comes to the national teams’ player welfare. This, however, is not the case as the Wednesday stand-off has revealed. When addressing BPL affiliates Letshwiti emphasised that players needed to be taken care of so that they can perform to their level best at games. He said if they are not properly taken care of then not much should be expected from them. Letshwiti went on to say the reason why local teams are not doing well in the CAF competitions is that the players are not being well taken care of. “The reasons our teams are not doing well is because we are not looking after the players. Me, you and everybody here, we are only administrators, the actor is the player. That is the person who makes the show and if we do not look after this person what do we expect,” retorted Letshwiti. This is the same question that the BFA leadership should be asking themselves since players went to the COSAFA game with heavy hearts. It has been established that no compromise was reached between BFA and the players after the leadership gave them the ultimatum to either go to the game or stay home. It is reported that the players resolved to go and play the match and not hold Batswana at ransom since they are on national duty. On Tuesday BFA CEO Ookeditse Malesu said the mandate for the team this time is to win the COSAFA cup. At the last edition of the tournament Zebras reached the finals, losing to South Africa. And now they are expected to surpass that. The question now remains whether they will be able to perform to the expectation of the association with the heavy hearts they have.