CAF COMPETITIONS IMPERATIVENESS TO BOTSWANA FOOTBALL

In the wake of CAF Competitions over the weekend, we look at the importance of these club competitions, especially how they have an impact on our local football as to whether it has a positive effect, or the teams are just spending money with no benefits.

Township Rollers once put the nation on the map in 2018 under the tutelage of Nikola Kavazovic making history as the first team from Botswana to qualify for the CAF Champions’ League group stages; they played against giants like Al Ahly and ES Tunis.

CAF COMPETITIONS HELP RECRUIT QUALITY FOREIGN PLAYERS TO BOTSWANA

This success put the team and the country at the top of our African football. Every international player as far as Senegal, Uganda, Nigeria, and Cameroon started to have an interest in coming to play in Botswana because of this.

CAF COMPETITION BREEDS THE SPIRIT OF COMPETITION AMONG LOCAL TEAMS

This success by Rollers has put pressure on other local football clubs to try and emulate or surpass their success, Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United are at the forefront to break Popa’s record.

In this year’s competition, it is Galaxy who were successful to proceed to the next round and we will be adamant that they will overcome the stubborn Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, after the Ostriches failed to proceed after an aggregate loss to Rwanda side, AS Kigali.

CAF competition between Botswana and South Africa
South African defender Bongani Khumalo vying for the ball with Botswana striker Jerome Ramatlhakwane during the qualifiers. PC: KICK OFF.

CAF COMETITITIONS HELP SELL LOCAL PLAYERS ACROSS BOARDERS

Playing in CAF competitions is very important for a country. Players get exposed to international standards, hostilities and get a chance to impress scouts or agents to have a better chance to play abroad. Mothusi Cooper and Segolame Boy from Township Rollers are still some of the most wanted players in Zambia and South Africa respectively because of their good showing in CAF Champions League.

NATIONAL TEAM TENDS TO BENEFIT FROM PLAYERS ABROAD

This ultimately grows our national team performance and participation in their aim to qualify for AFCON for the second time ever in history.

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT BECOMES THE CASE

The development of infrastructure and team administration in line with CAF licensing is one important aspect to look at. Club licensing requires a team to promote and improve the quality and the level of all football aspects in Africa, the parallel development and ensure the necessary compliance in terms of financial, sporting, legal and administrative requirements.

This goes to show that teams need to have an operational office, a qualified marketing department, and a permanent and certified stadium.

Furthermore, this will help curb the growing concern of teams failing to comply over finances and contract disputes with players, Gaborone United, Mochudi Center Chiefs have been at it with CAF and FIFA over unpaid players and coaches. The structure will ensure that the team has a treasurer who will help the team to live within its means.

HISTORY OF HOW THE COMPETITION HELPED THE NATIONAL TEAM

Let’s jog back to 2012 when The Zebras national team had its maiden appearance at the 2012 AFCON finals, the feat did not come as a way of a fluke, it was an issue of preparation and dedication from the clubs and BFA. If we remember well, Gaborone United (GU) in 2010 pulled a surprising act after defeating and knocking out Orlando Pirates of South Africa from CAF competition.

The GU squad comprised of Noah Maposa, Musa Ohilwe, and Ofentse Nato who is well remembered for his tackle with a Ghanaian player which punched the ball the AFCON 2012 finals.

With this pool of players being exposed to this level of play, it sets them in an advantageous position to know well and understand other countries’ tactical discipline and adaptation. The Zebras are in an aim to qualify for the 2021 AFCON final.

They are pitted with Algeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, these countries are well established in continental football more especially Algeria who are the current champions. So far our players are matching these teams because of the exposure our players garnered, some are even now playing in Morocco.

BY:Tirelo Mosielele

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