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MEET THE SUPER SIX SENDING SHOCKWAVES THROUGH FOOTBALL

Although there is uncertainty over when exactly the Botswana Football Association’s (BFA) Elective General Assembly will take place – it was scheduled for this weekend only to be canceled on Monday – one detail is certain: girl power has reached a new high in the male-dominated world of football administration.

When the footballing body eventually goes for leadership elections, a record six women will contest for positions on the BFA’s National Executive Committee.

The trailblazing six are: Lobito Patience Ncube, Theresa Tiny Hirschfeld, Joy Setshedi, Itsholetseng Disang, Kesego Okie and Tsoseletso Magang.
These female hopefuls believe they have what it takes to lift the beautiful game to the next level.

Four of the ladies: Magang, Ncube, Setshedi and Disang are vying for the position of Female Additional Member – a role currently held by former volleyball player, Magang.

Okie and Hirschfeld, meanwhile, will battle it out against seven men for the three Ordinary Member places up for grabs.

Voice Sport’s Portia Mlilo caught up with the ‘super six’ looking to bring a women’s touch to a male-dominated field.

Itsholeng Disang

A former football player and current National Women’s Football Committee Chairperson.

“I am an advocate of safe sport for all, especially for the girl child. I will work closely with all key stakeholders including parents, to ensure we collectively put together initiatives that will ensure the safety of their children; consultation is key!

Itsholeng Disang

My commitment areas are as follows: to formulate and implement a policy that manages and regulates women’s football matters on and off the field; to develop and disseminate an advocacy plan with a clear pathway for a girl child to participate in football; for each region to have fully functional grassroots programmes, youth competitions and senior leagues; to develop a clear balanced and competitive competition structure format for women’s football clubs to showcase their talent and skills which in turn will increase exposure of women’s football.

The women’s football strategy developed will be reviewed, approved and cascaded to the relevant recipients.”

Tsoseletso Magang

Magang is the current Female Additional Member, a position she held for two years. She is also the former Botswana National Sports Commission Vice Chairperson.

Tsoseletso Magang

“Due to lack of finances in the past years, women football development has been a challenge. Given that we have been able to transform the BFA’s financial position for the better, the association now has an opportunity to explore the possibility of investing financial and human capital more in women football.

Women football is growing rapidly and its achievements attained under difficult conditions shows that investing in it promises some return on investment.

Our priorities are: coaching and capacity building, grassroots and player development, increase the number of female football leaders and changing perceptions about women football.”

Joy Setshedi

Passionate about sport development and owns the Joy Foundation Academy, which seeks to develop and nurture young footballers.

Joy Setshedi

“My dream is to see women football fully functional. That is: to have its own offices and a full time staff; manage their own finances; establish women league across the country; consider allowing women football not to pay for affiliation for two years; to have women’s football matches being played as curtain raises on every game including at regional level; women referees to be paid; to have more women qualified in coaching and refereeing.

What I would like to have achieved while in the Office includes: qualified for the World Cup; host a Continental Cup in Botswana; to have at least 20 teams in Women Super League across the regions; have a sponsor for women football; establish grassroots football program for the girl child across all the regions; partner with Coaches Association to develop the technical part of women football; to have more international friendly games and tournaments for women national teams; to have at least 50 girls studying aboard through football at reputable Academies.”

Lobito Patience Ncube

A marketing specialist who has previously worked with Gaborone United as a Consultancy Marketing Officer.

Lobito Patience Ncube

“My Declaration and contribution to the BFA structure include among other things: revaluate, establish, implement and enforce national standards for working conditions and participation in women football to meet those as set out globally; foster a common vision that will seek to unite national strategies and implement regulatory interventions to achieve growth and mass participation of women and girl-child into football, by investing in research programmes across all levels to investigate and inform on innovative solutions to the challenges we face; develop inclusive workforce plan to support more girl-child and women in administering, volunteering coaching, training, refereeing in the women football, by creating toolkits for clubs and schools to ensure a safe environment for participants and image grooming at all levels as well as providing appropriate support for people working with players.”

Kesego Okie

Currently employed as the External Communications Manager for De Beers Group, she has also worked as a Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President.

Kesego Okie

“The BFA desperately requires re-branding. I will contribute immensely to transforming the image of the Association. With a revamped image and reputation, we will see the nation rally again behind the Zebras and our women’s team and attending all games like before. Sponsors will also be enticed to come on board and support our teams. This is long overdue!

My contribution to the BFA will include among other things: develop and oversee the implementation of a brand, communications and stakeholder engagement strategy; rebrand the Association as a regional benchmark; facilitate the training of the BFA leadership on effective communication skills and media handling; lobby for increased participation of women in football, as well as equal remuneration of female players and referees; advocating for recognition of local football legends, past and present.”

Theresa Tiny Hirschfeld

She has been involved with sport for the past 16 years from development to senior teams.

She works in a school where she is the coordinator of U15/17 and U19 girls’ football teams. Hirschfeld has been Head of Delegation for the men’s National Team and U23 boys’ team and has also Managed the Senior Women’s side.

Theresa Tiny Hirschfeld

“My aspirations during office tenure are: to ensure offices are opened and equipped to support Women’s Football agenda; work closely with administrators of Constituency League and bring it under BFA management; train referees, administrators, coaches and athletes in the regions – from First Division to the Premier League; ensure that we start the development of athletes from regions at grassroot level; make sure that the Zebras Supporters Committee is resuscitated and branches are revived; empower regions to be autonomous and be able to organise events without the interference of secretariat.”

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