Better the devil I know than the angel I don't

26th July 2016
From me to you
Column

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By Joe-Brown Tlhaselo -


Dear Maclean

Good day tlhe Rre Letshwiti. It is my hope that this brief finds you in good health. It's been a while, and if it was not for that former Gaborone United spokesperson, The Brown One, I wouldn't have known you still have interest in our ailing football. I hear he says you want to challenge for the position of BFA President. I am surprised that you too have opted to try your luck at running the affairs of the beautiful game. Gosh, I wonder why they call it that - the beautiful game. Because anywhere in the world, from as high as FIFA in Zurich to as low as the obscure constituency tournaments in Lekgolobotlo, there is nothing beautiful about football. It's a sport riddled with witchcraft to say the least, the only sport where players kick and maul one another; the same sport where players also beat up referees and sometimes even their own coaches. From the fanciful arenas of European football to the dusty patches of land we use for our league matches, people fight for money, power and control.

Even worse, many sell their souls to the highest bidder where chaos and corruption are the operative terms. It goes further - fans there beat up each other and administrators are always out to outsmart each other in the ugliest of manners. Just why they call it the beautiful game beats me. And yet this is the dog-eat-dog world I hear you want to join? Welcome to hell big boss - here you will sweat blood and tears, where the waiting hounds will feed on you as you watch. Yes, it is such sick world where if you don't have a backbone, you will be eaten alive. Many will be aligning themselves with you now, not because they believe you are good for football, but because they have their own scores to settle. And of course their own interests to serve. The very same guys laughing with you right now, will in no time be laughing at you. Therefore, be careful what you do, say and share with them now, for they will use it against you when the time is ripe for them to spit you. Ask Fani and Sebego. Football people in Botswana are dirty. They are mean. They can go to any lengths to destroy you.

Keith Masters learnt the hard way, the poor Brit had to scurry out of the country with his tail tugged between his legs in shame, because those who brought him in soon wanted nothing to do with him after he had served their interests. The same thing that happened to Fani and Sebego. They chucked Fani out for Sebego. Now it is Sebego they don't want, and don't ever think they love you. Among the many things, they just want someone to control and push their agenda, because they are not sellable themselves. For now I don't know who they are, but I know the pattern. I just hope you have thought your move well. I must say however, that you are already off to a bad start - because I hear you do not want to speak directly to the media. Instead you have created some buffer zone between yourself and the distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the press, with The Brown One reportedly fronting for you. I do not understand how you want them pressmen to know enough about you and your intent if you are going to deal with them from arm's length. Is it not a sign that you will also expect them to speak to you through middlemen once you are BFA President? Is not a sign that you would even expect your constituents to speak to you through another person? Come on Big Guy, be brave and face them now while there is still little you are answerable to. It will somehow help you gauge the mood on the ground, and perhaps guide you to better strategies than to employ another man to speak for you. What if he is your rival's fan? Remember he speaks for you because you pay him to do so, it is a business transaction, and like you, he is a businessman. Your rival might pay him more, and you will be doomed. So come out and speak for yourself.

The Brown One's role can be relegated to just alerting the press hounds of your whereabouts, not to respond to questions and even to get angry on your behalf. What if he misrepresents your views and tomorrow you turn around to say it wasn't you? And what will The Brown One be doing in the meantime? Will he also be going to the regions to speak on your behalf there too? If you are to win the hearts and minds at the regions, you will have to go there in person. Talk to them in person. I tell you, those ones don't play games. You mess them up you lose. They want to see you. They want to feel you. They want to determine if you will be accessible. They want to warm up to the idea of you being the face of football in the next couple of months. As it is now, they will be seeing and hearing The Brown One on television and on radio - and some of them will conclude he is the Letshwiti incarnate. By the time you make your appearance, it might be too late. You cannot begin by confusing the electorate chamza. Ooh, I have seen he has actually written what looks like a newspaper article about your campaign.

It sounds nothing like a journalistic piece, more like a public relations pamphlet that you should rather be paying the newspapers to publish as an advertorial. I tell you, it is more of a poem, and you know poems never follow the norms and expectations of balanced reporting. It's just about you this, you that and no offer of the medicine you are bringing to our ailing football. Right now the press hounds have questions to ask you but they are told The Brown One will respond instead. Mister, this is Botswana, and Batswana can be mean. They already think you are snubbing them, that you see them to be beneath your audience; and that you take them for granted by not even coming up with an election manifesto. But I am also interested in that manifesto chamza, after which we can start talking business. For now I can't discuss your candidacy, but I yearn to do just that. Just to weigh up my options and decide whether to go with the angel so beautifully painted for me by Kabelo Brown, or to endure another four years with the devil I already know and understand.




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