FIFA Puzzles Khama

| June 9, 2015

President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama says he does not understand why FIFA has a problem with government running constituency football tournaments.

He was reacting to charges that Botswana was at loggerheads with FIFA because the latter was against government running constituency football tournaments.

In an exclusive interview at the Office of the President on June 4, the President said he did not understand why FIFA targeted constituency football tournament notwithstanding that it was a government’s social responsibility in youth development.

He said there were other tournaments in schools and those run by MPs during independence and Christmas holidays but nothing was said about them even though they were not under the Botswana Football Association (BFA).

He said the tiff between FIFA and Botswana government was fanned by the BFA after they wanted money for constituency tournaments.

“I forget what the figure was but they had wanted several millions of Pula and we said no because what is happening in this country is that, we as government, we are sponsoring and supporting the BFA to run official leagues,” he said.

The President said since then, the country had been labouring under threats of suspension from FIFA, adding “I don’t know whether we were supposed to pay something so that we shouldn’t be suspended because it is not coming out clear what we are supposed to do and not do.”

However, President Khama said notwithstanding government’s continued support to football, there were many young people out there who were not part of the BFA structures and probably would never get the opportunity. As such, he said the constituency tournaments were another way of keeping such youth engaged.

He said constituency tournaments were not just about football, but a way of uncovering and nurturing talent in different spheres of life. The whole concept, he said, was about targeting young people and engaging them in sporting and cultural activities so that the country could develop other sporting codes as well as culture.

He said in addition it was to keep young people busy and active all over the country. “So it was football, volleyball, netball, traditional dance, poetry, arts and craft. So it is a whole package and not just football,” said President Khama.

He said he was surprised that BFA zeroed in on one element of the constituency tournaments and FIFA targeted football while there were other football activities such as those organsied during independence and Christmas holidays which were not run by the BFA.

President Khama said government would continue with the constituency tournaments because they were very popular and complement BFA programmes since clubs spotted talent in them which was something that had never happened before.

“When teams go around talent spotting, they do go to some finals of these competitions, whether they are held in districts or national finals and recruit players to their clubs. We are complementing each other,” he said.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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