The ongoing FIFA Club Management workshop at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone looks set to change Botswana football dramatically. The workshop is conducted by highly qualified personnel from FIFA. This comes at least three years after the 2008 Bosele workshop in Selibe Phikwe where clubs made certain commitments that unfortunately are yet to be realised. This time around it is clear that just like in a football field FIFA wants nothing less than full commitment.
The issue of reducing the premier league teams from 16 to 12 was once again a highly debated topic. While the reduction of teams was first agreed in Phikwe it was never effected.
Asked on what could be causing the delay in reducing the league clubs; FIFA Development Officer, and former Botswana Football Association boss, Ashford Mamelodi assured delegates that it would be to their advantage to effect the resolution.
‘’The 12 teams are not designed to cut anybody out. It will mean a more marketable league with less costs. Travel of teams will reduce and they will be able to save money. This will also open doors for other competitions. FIFA is convinced that 16 teams are just too big for Botswana looking at the population as well,’’ Mamelodi said in an interview with Voice Sport.
The FIFA follow-up has been viewed by some as a clear indication that Botswana is among countries thought to be having potential. Mamelodi further explained that FIFA is not going to re-visit all the countries, but only those they view as having made progress.
‘’From the Cresta resolutions football people will have no choice but to change. There will be a new department called Performance where teams will have to seek help through their member associations. FIFA will organise courses for all in the view of helping those who are seriously turning professional,’’ Mamelodi explained.
One other thing that was clear in all the presentations that have been made for the past three days is that FIFA will not shift the goalposts. It is either Botswana football change for the better or the country will have to be left behind.
FIFA is said to be worried by the amount of money they are pouring into the project; they are not going to make dramatic come backs to countries who are not buying into the vision. FIFA need to see the benefits of what they have been doing.
It is entirely upon the clubs to see to it that the right decisions are taken and this time around there will be time frames that countries will set and adhere to.
‘’Big decisions have to be made. Maybe you are fine with the current set-up. The only time we will come back is for progress. FIFA can only plead with you to make changes for the better but the decision lies with you. Botswana needs to jump into the train or they will be left behind. It is now or never and this is not to intimidate anybody. FIFA wants to record success and Botswana can be in model around it. There won’t be a third workshop until the resolutions for the second one have been achieved. FIFA is worried about where they are investing,’’ Mamelodi said.