BFA looks at La Liga and Real Madrid for youth development
Botswana Football Association (BFA) President, MacLean Letshwiti says FIFA’s decision to increase the number of teams at the 2026 World Cup to 48 challenges the country to step up its development for the benefit of the Zebras.
In an exclusive interview with Voice Sport at the Thapama Hotel last Saturday, the BFA head stressed that development was the key to potentially capitalising on FIFA’s recent World Cup resolution.
Letshwiti, who was in Francistown to watch the Mascom Top 8 semi-final first leg clash and meet BFA officials, said, “What it means is that we have to be serious about development. If we do that then there is a chance we can participate in the World Cup. We have to be serious about youth development.”
During his campaign for office, Letshwiti promised to do all in his power to set up a productive development programme to revive the country’s footballing fortunes at both club and national level.
It appears he remains intent on staying true to his word, as he went on to say, “We are not going to get to World Cups without a robust development strategy.
“The time frame in which FIFA will implement the change gives us time to put our development programme in place so that we may produce a better Zebras.”
Warming to his theme, the BFA president noted that for the youth development initiative to succeed, his association required the assistance of other sectors.
“We have FIFA who are responsible for football development worldwide. Then we have CAF whose duty is to help accelerate the rate of development in Africa.
The government also has an input but we need support from the private sector and the general public,” he told Voice Sport.
Letshwiti explained that the initiative would be a joint effort between the association and teachers, which besides producing better footballers will also shape the children’s characters for the better.
“The BFA will provide technical support to the school. We will train teachers to be coaches, referees and administrators because they will be driving the programme which will be student based. I must add that since all children involved will be monitored, those who are not in school will be reached through the out of school programme.”
He hastened to point out that the programme would also teach the children life skills.
“We want to produce well rounded people who will be able to handle life’s challenges,” he explained passionately.
Letshwiti went on to say that establishing national youth teams will expose players to much needed international experience from an early age.
“For any athlete to develop they need regular competition. We want to have shadow national teams from under-13 to under-19. Through these teams the players will compete regularly.”
He went on to add that the BFA development programme will also benefit from the agreements they have with international partners, including La Liga, the Spanish Premier league and Real Madrid Football Club.
Through the arrangement, kids who excel could be sent abroad to join these clubs development programmes.
Letshwiti concluded the interview by assuring parents the youth committee was working on a regulatory framework for the development programme.
“Parents should get in contact with the BFA so that we can do a background check on anybody who wants to take their children for football development,” he finished happily.