BFA, BNSC discuss safe return of football

In a week during which sports minister Tumiso Rakgare has been seized with the idea of a safe return of sports, the BFA was asking the BNSC to approach the minster about a safe return of football, pointing to a confluence of enthusiasm upon a healthy return on all sides

BFA, BNSC discuss safe return of football
(Pic:Monirul Bhuiyan/PRESS PHOTO)

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) and the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) recently met to discuss how to court government to the idea of a safe return of football under COVID-19 conditions, this publication can reveal.

Styled the “Return to Play Plan,” the aim is to end the absence of football - now in its 13th month - as people know it without disrupting the government’s programme to combat the deadly COVID-19 virus that has claimed over 700 lives to-date in Botswana.  

The BFA wants football activities to return, hence recently making a presentation to the BNSC about how this may be done that included a demonstration of how training may be conducted in a phased approach in accordance to the BFA’s Return to Play Guidelines.

“This plan also covers how testing will be conducted during training sessions and on match days to ensure the safety of all,” the BFA said in a statement. “The BFA also presented their case to show that football revenue across the value chain in Botswana sits at about P55 million employing approximately 3,000 people directly and 9,000 indirectly.”

According to the statement, the BFA showed BNSC the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Botswana’s football economy, especially its toll on the physical fitness and mental health of players. “We highlighted that if football continues to be inactive, the situation will continue to deteriorate with far worse repercussions that will have a great impact on the mental health of the players in the long term,” the BFA said.

“We further stressed how the return to football will greatly contribute to the resuscitation of complementary industries within the football value chain, among them the media, equipment, infrastructure, accounting services, medical and all other ancillary support services.”

The BFA is hoping that its submission was accepted by the BNSC for onward presentation to the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development (MYSC) for approval. Indications are that sports minister Tumiso Rakgare will be well disposed to the idea because he told the media this week that efforts for a safe return of sports are being make around the clock.

Rakgare said relevant authorities in Botswana have been working with various international bodies to assist with developing guidelines and procedures for a safe return of sports. “It is in our interest to resume sports but it has to be safe,” he emphasised. “It is critical that when we decide to open for resumption of sports, all stakeholders know and understand their responsibilities in ensuring that all the activities are safe and do not undermine our good work so far in combating COVID-19.”