Nhabe Regional Football Association (NRFA)’s under 15 and under 17 boys teams have failed to participate in the Lactalis National Football Tournament (LNFT) dubbed ‘Bonnita Youth Cup’ owing to unregistered players and transportation challenges.
Organised by the Botswana Football Association (BFA), the tournament finals were held between the 24th and 26th of September 2022 in Gaborone at Lekidi Football Centre grounds. Eight eligible regions which took part in the tournament were Gaborone, Kweneng, Boteti, Central South, Tswapong, Francistown, Phikwe and Kgatleng.
In an interview with Times Sport, Regional Youth Coordinator, Jakalas Jakalas revealed that Nhabe region missed the tournament because 33 players of the 40 selected for the tournament were not registered with FIFA Connect System (FCS), which is one of the requirements for players to take part.
He stated that out of the 40 players, only 7 from the under 15 boys were registered and approved under FIFA Connect by the region pending BFA’s final approval.
“The players were not eligible to play at the tournament because they were not registered and approved by BFA, even the 7 players that we had, they were not approved by the mother body and still it was not enough for us,” he emphasized.
Jakalas explained that the FCS is done by clubs first and the region does the second part of approval with BFA doing the final approval. He said in their case, the 7 players in question were registered by their respective clubs and was approved by the region but BFA was yet to approve them.
He further said even if the players were all fully registered, the team was still faced with a challenge of transport to Gaborone.
“We learnt our lessons as a region therefore we will engage with the clubs about registering players on time. The region will engage with BFA to facilitate the final stage of approval so that these players do not miss out on such tournaments,” he said.
Efforts to reach BFA Chief Executive Officer Mfolo Mfolo were unsuccessful as his phone rang unanswered. In their previous release, BFA stated that only nine (9) regions that played the boys U15 and U17 leagues were eligible to participate in the competition while the girls were not accommodated as they did not play their leagues.