- Letshwiti uses meeting with CAF president to urge business community to assist The Mares
- Dr Patrice Motsepe expresses support for Botswana’s bid to host 2027 AFCON
The women’s national football team, The Mares, requires an estimated P7.2 million to compete in the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON), the president of Botswana Football Association (BFA), Maclean Letshwiti, has said.
Letshwiti said this in the presence of visiting CAF president Patrice Motsepe, who stated his support for Botswana’s plans to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). The Mares will be making their maiden appearance at the biggest women’s football competition on the continent, the AWCON, that is slated for Morocco from 2nd to 23rd July. The local team forms part of 12 teams that will be competing in the tournament that doubles as the African qualifiers to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
That is because the top four teams in Morocco will automatically qualify for the World Cup while two more teams will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs. “This qualification is a historic achievement which we strive to recognise and execute well in preparations and in the competition itself,” Letshwiti said at a BFA Business Meeting with Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, Dr. Motsepe, that was held in Gaborone this week. “To achieve this, we need about P7, 2 million to compete with the best. I wish the business community could see the incentive to play a part in this form of women empowerment.”
The BFA president used the opportunity to urge the local business community to come on board and assist The Mares in its AWCON journey. “Please understand that football is a very capital-intensive enterprise,” he stated. “We need your support now more than ever before. To play at the highest level, you need to comply with the requirements set out by both FIFA and CAF. Compliance in football, like in any business, is key. It brings about accountability and governance to the product. It makes the playing field level.”
On a different note, Letshwiti said working with the BFA National Executive Committee, his focus is to transform local football. “We have already made inroads together with the Botswana Football League to commercialise this product and make it more palatable to both the consumer and the businesspeople, the decision-makers and the owners of the means of production,” he noted. “Let us agree that the government can only do so much. It is for the private sector to hold our hand in our transformation agenda of the beautiful game. It is important to plough back to your communities in the form of corporate social investment.”
CAF president Dr Motsepe also encouraged the local private sector to continue engaging the leadership of football structures in Botswana and see how they can work together to build mutually beneficial relationships. “There is no doubt that Botswana has produced quality players before and can still do that,” he said. “So more investment is needed in school football because its contribution in developing and identifying young talent is important. There is no doubt that there is a lot of talent here. I know because I have players from this country at Mamelodi Sundowns. This country has the capacity and the potential to produce some of the very best players.”
Dr Motsepe welcomed Botswana’s plan to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), stating that it would benefit the country’s football growth and develop infrastructure. “There is absolutely no reason why you should not host the AFCON finals. Bidding for AFCON makes commercial sense,” he said, adding that this year’s AFCON final between Senegal and Egypt was watched by more than 180 countries. Botswana is planning to co-host the 2027 edition of the competition with Namibia.