Wednesday 12 August 2020, 09:57

Change afoot in Botswana

  • The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has used FIFA Forward support to implement sustainable and holistic development projects

  • Over USD 2 million has been invested in the creation of new leagues, an artificial-turf pitch, regional workshops for football administrators and coaching courses

  • The BFA has placed special emphasis on the growth of women’s football and hired a dedicated Women’s Football Manager

In a new series focused on global football development, we look at the implementation of the FIFA Forward Programme in various FIFA member associations. Our goal is to highlight the programme’s enormous potential and the impact it has on the development of football in wide-ranging regions around the world. In the spotlight today: Botswana.

Developing football in a holistic and sustainable manner – that was the aim of the Botswana Football Association (BFA). The foundation stone was laid in 2016 with the adoption of a football strategy that systematically promoted grassroots and youth football at regional level and focused on the growth of women’s football. With the support of FIFA Forward, the BFA has had the opportunity to bring its strategy to life and roll out projects to nurture more talent, professionalise football administration and boost the women’s game.

Let’s have a closer look.


Botswana is located in Southern Africa, bordering Namibia to the west, Zambia to the north, Zimbabwe to the east and South Africa to the south. The country, 80 per cent of which consists of grassland and desert-like steppe, has 2.2 million inhabitants and its capital city is Gaborone.

The Botswana Football Association: quick facts

Affiliated since1978
Biggest achievementQualifying for the 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations

State of play

With 17 regions divided into four blocks and extensive distances between them, logistics is a major challenge for the BFA. In order to promote the development of boys and girls in all corners of the country, sufficient football facilities, accommodation and catering possibilities are required in all regions.

Women’s football has long been underrepresented at both BFA and regional level and has seen little development investment. There is a big gap in the skills and qualifications of female coaches across the country compared to their male counterparts.

FIFA Forward support

Player pathways and improved playing conditions

New leagues, more competition and a bigger talent pool: the organisation of three grassroots festivals and the introduction of national U-15 and U-17 leagues with a total of 40 participating teams have both improved the level of play and enabled coaching and refereeing initiatives.

Young footballers are being given a wonderful chance to showcase their talent and make crucial progress as players through these national youth leagues. In the future, the U-15 and U-17 competitions will be held on a regional basis to allow even more talent to make the transition from grassroots football all the way up to the elite level.

The construction of an artificial-turf pitch at the BFA’s technical centre in Gaborone enables the country's national teams to train regularly in the best possible conditions. The pitch is used by the men’s and women’s “A” and youth teams, hosts the senior women’s league every week and is a focal point for grassroots training and coaching/refereeing courses several times per week.

Overview of FIFA Forward-funded projects:

ProjectInvestment (in USD)
Artificial-turf pitch installation at Lekidi Technical Centre390,966
Employment of BFA technical staff in 201892,475
Employment of BFA senior national-team head coach & Women’s Football General Manager123,432
Grassroots and youth football development project for boys and girls750,000
Grassroots, youth and women’s football development project246,000
Time for Change initiative221,610
FIFA Forward in Botswana

Women’s football on the rise

By appointing Tsholofelo Sethoko as its Women’s Football Manager, the BFA underlined the importance of women’s football and its development across the country. Sethoko worked with FIFA’s Women’s Football Division to develop a women’s football strategy that includes increased coaching opportunities and development programmes for young women in the country, which is already paying dividends.

Women’s football in Botswana is becoming more and more popular. Likewise, the country have made it through to the second stage of the African qualifying competition for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup™ for the first time in their history. They also reached the semi-finals of last year’s inaugural COSAFA Women’s Under-17 Championship.

Maclean Letshwiti, BFA President “FIFA Forward enabled us to start dreaming that Botswana can also take its rightful place in the world of football.”

Success story

A very special project is Time for Change, which takes on the challenges of the country's vastness and finds a way to decentralise football development, as the 17 regions are the main drivers of the BFA development agenda.

The approach

The skills of regional football administrators have been improved through workshops focusing on good governance, administration, strategic planning and football management. Over 300 administrators have been trained to date, and even more workshops are planned this year.

The workshops enable networking between participants and create improved working relationships between the regional associations, the BFA, external interest groups and associated members, in particular the Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association and the Botswana Integrated Sports Association.

The benefits

The regions have been strengthened and become more self-sufficient. The regional associations are now able to develop strategic plans and secure sponsors, and are therefore less financially dependent on the BFA. In return, the BFA has gained a better understanding of the challenges in the different regions and is able to respond to the development needs of each region.

FIFA Forward provides 360-degree, tailor-made support for football development in each of FIFA’s member associations and the six confederations and is based on three principles: more investment, more impact and more oversight. The aim is to improve the way football across the globe is developed and supported so that football can reach its potential in every single country, and so that everyone who wants to take part can do so without barriers.

FIFA Forward in Botswana