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Why Rollers hired short term coach

Defending champions Township Rollers have sacked uninspiring Czech Republican, Tomas Trucha and instantly replaced him with Frank Nuttall. The arrival of a new gaffer was announced this week but the Scottish agreed to sign a six month contract because Rollers felt  ‘ he is too expensive to purchase.’

WeekendSport moles are adamant that Rollers were desperate to hire a coach who could easily coax a winning combination. Having experienced a bad start under Trucha, Rollers management feared that the club would lose out on major silverware this season.

When approaching Nuttall, Rollers were not sure of his market prize. The team was rather shocked to realize that Nuttall’s value was more than what they anticipated.Sources claim that Nuttall was first given P80 000 offer but he out- rightly rejected it. He however gave Rollers management a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition only to be contacted a week later that he will receive what he wanted. The Scot is believed to be earning around P 150 000 per month and it is why he signed a short deal.

The two agreed to a 6 month contract because Rollers still believe his worth is too high. However, the recruitment panel was convinced that the gaffer had to be adequately satisfied at the negotiating table for him to bring optimal results in the field of play. Rollers want him to win the league and also clinch the Mascom Top 8 Cup. A review is set to be made at the end of the season to determine his future. It is said Rollers want to play champions league football, and by all means possible, Nuttall has the experience to walk them through the champions’ league storm. Nuttall is by far the most experienced foreign coach of the African game to be hired by the Rollers. This discovery now means that finances have, once again, played a critical part in the thinking of Rollers management.

However, observers do not necessarily doubt the ability of Rollers to pay a foreign coach such a huge salary, but cast aspersions over the deliverables set for him. There is a feeling that his salary far exceeds the set targets, which are arguably within easy reach for a coach of his caliber. Rollers ran helter-skelter before settling for Nuttall. The club first contacted former coach Nikola Kavazovic but he rejected them without giving specific reasons. They then knocked at Peter Butler’s door who also refused to join them. Butler who is the former head coach of The Senior National Team, The Zebras, said he is no longer interested in club football. But he could not miss the opportunity to express misgivings and uncertainties about Botswana football.

Butler said the game has taken many steps backwards and no one is interested in coaching in the country. He however referred Rollers to Nuttall who also made his expectations clear. According to Nuttall’s coaching resume, he first started as an apprentice at Celtic in his playing days, released in 1987 and found himself without club. He decided to study Physical Education at Cardiff Metropolitan University and went to Loughborough University to get a Master's degree in Sports Science. At age 24, he made and started in his career by doing coach education for the Welsh FA and working with their Under-14 and Under-15 sides.

In 1998, he became a fitness coach for West Bromwich Albion F.C. However, he could not return as a player, so he decided to pursue a more propitious managing career by getting an ‘A’ License and Pro License. Rangers F.C appointed him as fitness coach in 2004. He was part of their backroom staff when they won the league 2004-05. Later, he was Assistant Manager of Al-Nasr Dubai SC but he was unable to settle in his new job and his family could not come so he left after a period of time. Soon after, he did some scouting for Middlesbrough and joined their backroom staff as fitness coach in 2008. Some years later, he worked in China as a coach for the national team and clubs there. Looking for a club in 2014, he eventually joined Gor Mahia, champions of the Kenyan Premier League and this was the first time for him to serve as head coach. Under his stewardship, he led the K'Ogalo to an unbeaten league title in 2015, an achievement never done before in the competition since 1976. Adding to this, the Scot guided them to KPL Top 8 and Kenyan Super League titles in 2015, besides winning the league in 2014 and 2015. As a result of his efforts, the former Rangers fitness coach was named 2015 SportPesa Coach of the Year.

When he was with Gor Mahia, he rebutted rumors that he was intent on leaving Kenya’s most profitable club in late 2015. However, he had a poor relationship with the Gor Mahia President and the board, the deterioration in the relationship started when the President requested that his (Nuttall) salary be reduced by 50% but could not reconcile him to accept it. Owing to fan pressure, he was again appointed as Manager albeit temporarily but they went five games without a triumph under him at the start of 2016.

Over a salary dispute with the Gor Mahia board, he was officially fired from the club in early 2016. A few days later, he was offered a three-room apartment in Nairobi from the club but declined, saying that they were 'substandard’. After a tumultuous one-month period as assistant coach for Zamalek he was sacked by the club in May 2016 and has expressed regret over his premature dismissal.

Following the end of his contract as assistant coach of Zamalek, Nuttall joined Ghanaian outfit, Accra Hearts of Oak in 2017.He has attended the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations to scout for potential players.

 

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Absence of TD causes BFA damage

28th June 2021
BFA-Dr. Carolin Braun

Botswana Football Association (BFA) is running without a substantive Technical Director since parting ways with South African native, Serame Letsoaka, who jumped ship midway through his contract in 2019.

This glaring revelation has left the Technical Department of the association hamstrung to fully operate by the book hence a plethora of problems protruding on the very nose of it.

This is the reason it took long for the association to take stern action against Zebras gaffer, Adel Amrouche. His departure was sanctioned at the eleventh hour when players’ patience had long wilted, threatening to leave the camp.

Pundits will therefore observe that it is the absence of a Technical Director that has caused all hell to break loose at Lekidi Football Centre.Since the departure of Letsoaka, the TD position has been more or less vacant as it has been manned by unqualified and somewhat incompetent administrators to date.

The TD position requires a CAF A-License qualification as well as a Diploma in Secondary Education as minimum qualifications. Among the specific duties of TD is; training and development of coaches, including design and updating of coaches manuals, facilitating licensing courses, developing a coaches Code of Conduct, arranging for expert and specialist coaches to deliver training clinics, education on rules of the game and creating and maintaining a library of resources including books, videos and articles for coaches to access.

The responsibility also include establishing and delivering a comprehensive and nationwide Grassroots programme at both the community level, in schools, and in the schools through clubs through strategic partnerships within the communities and with various government ministries and agencies.

TD also advices BFA on all matters related to the effective development of football in Botswana and is accountable for the development of a strategy and policy for the performance of football programmes.

Other duties include working with Youth National teams and coaches through development programmes in order to enable BFA to attain its goals within CAF and FIFA, including putting in place clear systems and processes for identifying and developing talented players.

After Letsoaka left, BFA reached out to Wire Kaelo, a Gaborone United legend currently holding the position of assistant coach at Security System FC, but eventually he was not appointed to the post.

Despite rumours to the effect that BFA had agreed terms with Kaelo to this day, the Association has not come out as to what happened to the alleged marriage.

BFA subsequently appointed one Dr Carolin Braun, on secondment from the German Olympic organisation, a move that left the association rooted in abrasive factionalism.

In particular, local coaches and the general football fanatics have always cried foul claiming that Dr Braun is not fit to hold the position of TD especially in a growing football environment like Botswana.

There is growing concern that Dr Braun does not have the pre-requisite credentials to be appointed for this plum post as she has never held any significant position within the football fraternity, not even at amateur level.

“It was a first in the history of Botswana football to see a TD doubling up as assistant coach to the senior national team and there has been no tangible coaching courses since the departure of Serame Letsoaka and this has been attributable to the vacant position of TD,” a source remarked.

BFA is currently failing to communicate CAF’s decision that the ill-fated CAF “B” and “C” courses held during Serame’s last days were not sanctioned and therefore attendants will not be certificated.

Over 50 local coaches participated in the courses and last year, most of those coaching in the Premier League had to be given waivers by the BFA Technical Committee before they could be accredited.

CAF has since indicated that the issue of waivers by national associations will not be entertained, something which might throw local games into disarray.BFA is still failing to come up with a coaching philosophy despite Serame having started groundwork before his departure.

Other countries such as Zambia have since resumed CAF coaching courses whilst in Botswana is still business as usual despite the impending challenges caused by indiscretion and lack of foresight.

Despite BFA having advertised the position of TD and subsequently holding interviews where recommendations were done by the Technical and Development Committee, the BFA NEC has refused to endorse the recommendation for reasons only best known to them.

Yet, there is a lingering fact that the NEC is clueless when it comes to technical matters. There is not even a single individual in the NEC who holds any coaching qualification including the Chairman of the member responsible for technical and development matters, Masego Ntshingane.

When asked about the position of the TD, Ntshingane said the association is well aware of the matter and will son fill the post. “Yes, it is true the association has not appointed a TD after Letsoaka’s departure, but we are working around the clock to hire capable people,” he said.

However, local coaches believe that it’s a travesty of justice to expect non-technical people to make meaningful contributions on technical matters to the extent that they can veto recommendations from a committee of renowned technical experts.

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CAF blocks unqualified coaches

28th June 2021
CAF Champions League

It is not business as usual in the operations manual of African football. Ever since the ascendency of Dr. Patrice Motsepe to the CAF plum post, the African football governing body is ringing changes to satisfy the demands and governance standards of the modern game.

However, it appears that what is coming out from the high offices of the game is a bitter pill to swallow for local clubs, some of which are touted to be the best in the land.

Connectedly, CAF has issued a circular to the effect that only coaches holding the CAF “A” education license will be permitted to sit on the technical dugout during the upcoming inter club competitions. This communication has been sent to all 54 CAF member associations in May 2021.

However, it seems local clubs have not been appraised on this development even though both Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United have shown desire to represent the country in the CAF competitions.

It comes to the fore now that the two clubs can successfully represent the country if they engage coaches with the pre-requisite qualifications which is now an insurmountable task due to the COVID-19 impact on club finances.

Both clubs have hired coaches who attended the ill-fated BFA conducted CAF “B” and “A” coaching courses which were held in Lobatse almost two years ago.

To date the coaches await the completion of the courses and certificates while CAF has made it clear that the courses were not sanctioned as they were held during the era that coaching licenses were suspended, a situation that BFA was well aware of and has since accepted the consequences.

The BFA is still at sixes and sevens on how to break the issue to the affected coaches as it is likely to cause a huge public embarrassment and backlash from the coaching fraternity.

“We all know about the problem, BFA is promising to come to the bottom of the matter as we continue to engage them,” says Botswana Football Coaches Association (BFCA) interim President, Daniel Nare.

CAF has also made it clear that this time there will be no waiver for coaches without the pre-requisite qualification because the Confederation has been too lenient in the past. During the last CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup, both Galaxy and Orapa United coaches were given a reprieve by CAF Technical Department as they did not even have the CAF “B” license.

When approached for clarity, the Spokesperson for Galaxy, Tankiso Morake said they are playing a waiting game when it comes to CAF issues especially that BFA is yet to reply to their letter. “Honestly, there is nothing concrete I can share because no one is certain about anything. We are waiting to be replied by the association so that we can finalize everything,” he said.

While United was not available for comment, it is clear that both clubs will need to hire coaches with the needed qualifications otherwise playing in this year’s edition of African football mirrors a tomorrow that may never come.

 

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Sport

Rollers make digital strides

11th June 2021
rollers_0121

A recent study shows that Township Rollers is not only popular within the perimeters of Botswana, but has also made significant steps within the digital football platforms in Africa.

Out of the 70 African football clubs ranked on the African football digital benchmark, Township Rollers comes on the 35th position backed by a massive social media following. The club website records more than 399 000 followers and is seen as the most interactive in the local game.

This is consistent with the recent study conducted by FIFA- world football governing body- that Rollers is the only team locally that makes use of its digital platforms.

Notably, it comes out that the gap between Township Rollers and the rest of the 15 Premier League clubs is abysmal, this therefore works against creating a strong BPL brand value.

Rollers is the only club with more than 50 000 followers on Facebook, more than 20 000 followers on Twitter while its Instagram platform stands strong at 27 800 followers.

However, it is found out that much of the BPL brand value is killed by some social Facebook football fan accounts.  They have stood long and have thus attracted more followers than the official accounts. Pages like Killers Pass and Botswana Football have consequently seen more than 100 000 following. Both of the accounts give 24 hour on-going updates of football’s latest news, transfers, results, video and live updates.

FIFA has therefore come to a conclusion that the two social media pages have grown interactive since they incite followers to answer and present their impressions about local football.

It comes into the open that 70 percent of domestic premier league clubs do not have official websites. This according to FIFA, kills the brand and visibility of clubs hence failure to attract lucrative sponsors by the clubs. FIFA also found out that the remaining 30 percent of clubs with websites are lacklustre and found wanting when it comes to their online presence. But in this regard, Rollers is on pole position.

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