BOTSWANA Football Association this week hosted a FIFA grassroots expert Yvon Avry who was on a mission to promote the development of youngsters.
The BFA however does not have sufficient time to make a proposal and kick-start the programme as other countries are lining up for the opportunities.
The delegation also met with the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi, as well as his Education and Skills counterpart Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi with a view to get the government to appreciate and commit to working on the programme that is yet to be rolled out.
The BFA President, David Fani pointed out that they were happy with the response from the ministers.
He said BFA would conduct a feasibility study and make a recommendation to FIFA on when to start.
Other stakeholders such as the Botswana Primary Schools Association, who deal with children between the age of six and twelve who will be targeted by FIFA in the programme, also attended the event. FIFA Development Offi cer Ashford Mamelodi explained that the programme was a new initiative designed for both girls and boys to introduce them to football.
“This programme gives the children an opportunity to express themselves and choose the sport they like as they grow. Football in Botswana can turn the corner. We can have children making life out of football in the future. FIFA will launch the project and train the coach educators who will be derived from a pool of any interested party. It doesn’t discriminate, the objective is to reach as many places as possible then sustain the project and have a day dedicated to football education in schools just like the football Fridays in South Africa,” Mamelodi explained of the programme.
FIFA are expected to hit the ground running upon implementing the programme, as its early impression in the local context of early development would be vital for mapping the way forward.
FIFA have also emphasized the importance of early implementation, as they are ready to provide all the necessary equipment from the launch.
“With the right marketing, Botswana can begin to unearth germs as more players will now be available and the game can become more entertaining.
In Africa countries like Namibia and Mauritius have already benefi ted with some in Asia also taking advantage of the high in demand programme,” Mamelodi said.
Yvon Avry the FIFA grass root expert said there was need for continuity at development level. He said it was important to start football as early as their primary education. He said children were a very huge market and if marketed well the programme would be sustainable. “The programme has to be given legitimacy and consistency and there will be no compromise on age,” he said.
When Voice Sport enquired whether the programme would not duplicate the already existing ‘Re BA BONA HA’ Fani said that the similarities were in the sense that both programmes were trying to achieve mass participation of children but the grass roots would look at taking it to yet another level. To ensure that there is no duplication, Fani said they had engaged Botswana National Sports Council to oversee the ‘Reba bona ha’. With the P64 million that was given to BNSC recently, the programme by all accounts appears destined to fit perfectly in the budget with all prospects for success.