• Secret meeting held to build a new football challenge • Internal bickering at BFL part of the bigger plan to render football ungovernable

Football While the whole country is preparing for general elections to be held in October, the football fraternity, too, cannot ignore the pull and the heat that comes with the polls. Already, there are accusations flying thick and fast to the effect that a new football regime is plotting to overthrow the dominance built by President of the FA Maclean Letshwiti, together with Nicolas Zakhem, who is chairman of the Botswana Football League, BG Sport has learnt.

In August, as the football calendar staggers to an end, the Botswana Football League (BFL) is expected to elect and usher in a new chairman, together with the board to run the affairs of the 2024-2025 edition. According to the constitution of the league, the elected chairman must be independent and unattached to any club. This will be the first time since its inception that the elite league is led by a chairman who does not wear multiple hats in the football spectrum.

On the other side, the football association will, in October, assemble to elect regime as efforts to transform the domestic game in all quarters’ takes center stage. It is against this backdrop that this publication, on Monday morning, uncovered a plan with a paper documentation detailing who, when and how a strategy is going to be initiated to topple and knock down both Letshwiti and Zakhem out of football power. Interestingly, there is no prize for guessing how, when one put the internal bickerings at Lekidi football center under the microscope.

The grand plan, according to close sources, has been kick-started at the BFL where Zakhem’s position and power has been facing relentlessly challenged in recent times. According to close sources to the developments, the grand plan is to tame the Gaborone United director and once the heist is completed, Letshwiti will remain exposed like never before. With that in mind, the ploy by some shareholders and some NEC members is to throw confusion at the premier league and make it ungovernable while on one hand, initiate under-ground tactics that will usher in a new football government. Until now, a master strategy is upheld that one Aeril Ralebala will challenge incumbent Letshwiti for the plum position of BFA presidency.

Ralebala, according to sources is seen a better placed candidate to unseat the Letshwiti come October elections. The thoughts surrounding the director of Masitaoka FC, Ralebala, who is also a businessman of repute, are seen as a thronged approach to sell a number of BFA issues. On the other hand, it is seen as a perfect opportunity to settle old scores especially against Zakhem who once orchestrated a grand plan to topple him as BFL chairman.

Contacted for a comment, the former BFL Chairman laughed off the claims that he is interested to contest for the BFA presidency and described them as ‘wild’.

“That is a wild accusation, I have never really thought about it; I have too much on my hands, I am still an employee where I am working, so it will be difficult to mix these two things [work and BFA presidency]; you’ll be setting yourself up to fail. It has never really crossed my mind. I am a passionate man about football, I own a development project and I really want to see our development initiatives prosper. I don’t quite understand what could be the stumbling block for us to achieve that but I’m sure it will improve, for now I’m just busy, the next five years am focusing on my other projects, so I honestly have not dreamed of doing something like that [BFA presidency], maybe in my next life I’d consider that,” Ralebala told BG Sport.

“I am aware of what has been happening, I have even the names of everyone involved; they have tried before but I believe they hit a dead end. I am resolute, if they want Maclean, they should go to him directly, when it comes to me, if they want to win the elections they should be nice to me at least. People out there appreciate what I have done for football and what I could do for football; we are doing our best to improve our football and move it in the right direction,” Zakhem responds. BG Sport contacted the BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti to get his reaction on the developments, however he would not be drawn into divulging much into how much he trusts his NEC members and other close associates who are reportedly conjuring a plan to oust him from his current position.

“I can’t deny it [the plot to topple him], it is nothing official though, and until it is official that is when maybe I can pay attention. Everyone thinks they can lead the BFA and it is ok, they can bring on the challenge. We have a proper association, football is really growing in the country despite everything else that has happened, there is growth in many aspects of our game,” Letshwiti said. The purported team list, consisting Ralebala has different names across the premier league and the BFA NEC, close sources maintain that Ralebala will be assisted by one of the current Vice Presidents to Maclean, while one NEC member is penciled in as the third man in command (names withheld).

All the more, the detailed documentation states that, once the king is captured at BFA, suspended Tebogo Sebego will resurface into the picture and be nominated as an independent chairman of the BFL.

Masitaoka chairman, Godfrey Ratlhaga is set to take reigns as the Chief Executive Officer of the league according to the details outlined in the grand plan, Ratlhaga is part of the lot that has been suspended by the association for bringing the name of football into disrepute in recent weeks.