Of the netball president and football witches

25th July 2016
From me to you


By Joe-Brown Tlhaselo

Dear Sports Minister

Bra Tapza, it's me once again. My fifth letter to you in 12 months now, I must really love you. The crush must fall. I just hope that you are working on that matter of my last letter to you - that one where I warned you and your continental counterparts to find a common working ground with the African Olympic body on the running of the All Africa Games, failing which you all would have to step aside to let ANOCA take over. I still recall how your boys got animated and so loudly came to your defence while you maintained a cool response of a real leader. I do remember telling you then, that your biggest problem is surrounding yourself with self-seeking advisors who unlike you, are not so into the general growth of our sport. Somehow you are just like that young boy from Zola who some four years ago undertook to correct the ills bedeviling our football. I am talking about Tebogo Sebego. You both have shown great potential in the running of our sport, but somehow allowed yourselves to be derailed by elements around you whose interests were not in tandem with yours.

You see, like with that football guy, I have always admired your ways - minus the destructive external advice you chaps get. But I don't want to dwell much on that, except to express my concern that both of you are perhaps too trusting - to a point where you will both find yourselves on the receiving end of unwarranted criticism regarding the way you do things. The real reason I wrote you this time is to make an appeal intended to eventually save our local netball president from the poisonous spells of local witches and wizards. This is a woman entrusted with the hosting of the first world cup to ever hit our shores here in Bechuana. The grapevine has been awash with news that she is unwell, and you cannot allow that to continue unabated. We need her for our world cup Bra Tapza. Yet here she is, subjected to all manner of devilish missiles reportedly launched by enemies of the football president trying to ensure he does not get to win the imminent BFA presidential elections.

As a military man, you know the term used for such a mishap - Collateral Damage. Bra Tapza, the woman actually confirmed fears for her life this past Sunday - publicly! The problem is with her football boyfriend. Now the poor lady has to parry stray bullets meant for the guy by his haters. You see, Tebogo's friends, the ones he once trusted with his life, have turned against him and they want to assassinate his ambitions to lead football for another four years. It is a bitter tussle where some are reported to be consulting wizards and witches whose role in this quest for power is to incapacitate the man and render him irrelevant for the next BFA elections.

Now here is the problem: the two sport administrators share a name - both called Tebogo Sebego. You will recall that before Tebogo became known as Tebogo Sebego, she was Tebogo Lebotse. Now the netball president's identity was usurped when the football boss stole her through Holy matrimony. The beleaguered woman has since made an appeal to the power hungry fellas to specify which Tebogo Sebego they want destroyed whenever they consult with their witchcraft practitioners; because now the evil portions are directed at her instead of the man.

Honourable minister, last year you took time to warn this BFA leadership against internal fights, telling them they would one day kill each other and even scare sponsors away. Big Brother did the same at that weekend's session with the sport administrators at the State House. Please Bra Tapza, go and meet them again and tell them to leave Tebogo alone - whichever one comes first. If they fail to listen to you, at least amplify the lady's appeal to them: advise them that in talking to their medicine men, they should specify that it is the Tebogo Sebego who runs football; the Tebogo Sebego wa Mongwaketsi who grew up in Zola; the lawyer guy whom some bitter losers once accused of living beyond his means.

The instruction to these muti men must be specific; because in their quest to incapacitate the football president, their magic portions - confused as to where to actually go between Tebogo Sebego and Tebogo Sebego - end up targeting the vulnerable girl who has no protection against witchcraft, hence her recent spate of illnesses. As a sports minister, you have a responsibility to see that our netball president does not fall.

Gape, these matters of witchcraft fall under your ministry via the culture front. O kgaleme, thata! And warn this Zola boy against endangering our netball world cup. Having known him from as far back as high school and national service days, I have always known him to be smarter than boys his age. As I have said of him before, his intelligence and foresight have always intrigued me. He has always been an ambitious chap with big dreams. But how he gets himself mixed up with the wrong people beats me. He is a smart guy with brilliant ideas, but I think around him, he needs lieutenants who are not only strong but also those with conviction; men and women capable of putting him back to his place when he shows signs of derailment.

Or maybe it is just the curse that this country has - having great leaders with great minds and ideas, but surrounded by wrong people who would fear telling them whenever they make the wrong choices. Warn him that as he prepares for the election, he should surround himself with genuine people who can unleash the potential in him; people who will not shy away from telling him to his face when he steps out of the way. Sycophants are always the reason great leaders fall. This is what is already happening to him even before he can turn Botswana football into a thriving business like he promised four years ago.

Forget about him being aligned to Duma Boko's party; aid him to serve Botswana sport. I try to look around for anyone who can do better than him, especially among the named contestants. I see none. All of them have failed before - unless you speak to Daniel Tau or even Professor Martin Mokgwathi to lead the sport after Sebego's tenure. If you can't get these two, then advise the footballers to let the pantsula boy lead them for another term, as long as he surrounds himself with true professionals - including yourself Bra Tapza - who will not sabotage his efforts for personal or organisational gain. Such has been the story of his tenure, and now an innocent woman is feeling the brunt. Save our sport Bra Tapza; save our football and save our netball president.

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