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.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) constitution appears to be under heavy scrutiny as Tebogo Sebego, the president of Notwane Sporting club, questions its authenticity, with strong indications that several clauses were removed and others added without the input of the General Assembly.
Sebego, who vied for the BFA presidency in October 2020, feels Notwane is a bonafide member of BFA and has been participating in the past three BFA assemblies but cannot be part of the mess that the club and others did not create. On 13th September 2021, Notwane forwarded a complaint letter to the football association’s chief executive officer (CEO), challenging how two constitutions were amended.
The club says a constitution dated 25th June 2021 and the other bearing a stamp of 10th December 2020 were amended under fraudulent circumstances and want an explanation on how it transpired. “We have recently received a constitution dated 25th June 2021 stamped by the registrar of societies. The said constitution carries some changes that were never discussed and voted upon at the BFA general assembly.
Of particular interest, we have noted that the following new amendments, Article 33 of the 2016 constitution, is replaced by article 30. The procedure has been reduced, but the principles remain the same. The relevance of this is to restate the constitutional culture and mandatory powers of the General Assembly as the sole body responsible for constitutional amendments,” part of the letter seen by this publication reads.
Article 33 that Sebego complains of reads thus, “The general assembly is responsible for amending the constitution and the standing orders of the general assembly.” Furthermore, Notwane argues that another article (22.1) of the 2021 constitution then wipes off the presence of 16 delegates from the Premier League clubs and eight representatives from the first division together with their voting rights.
The club believes that while the autonomy of the Botswana Football League (BFL) was approved in the 2020 General Assembly, the assembly never discussed, voted or approved the removal of delegates from the General Assembly. The team believes that the amendments are therefore unlawful for lack of authority from the General Assembly. This is the case because it has a significant impact on the landscape of the structure of the General Assembly, Notwane argues.
Moreover, Notwane’s shock is skyrocketing, especially when raising another equally screaming change in the constitution. In the letter state, the club states that article 33.4 of the 2021 constitution introduces a term limit for the president. The club speculates that the amendment seems to be carried from the 2019 version of the constitution, and whatever its genesis, the matter was never before the General Assembly.
“It is only the General Assembly that has powers, through the right constitutional channels to introduce a limitation on the term of the president and further to define the limitation based on the reasons presented to it,” the argument goes on. The old constitution was limited to at most two terms, but it seems the president can now enjoy the third term.
Sebego and Notwane argue that they have raised these articles to demonstrate that the constitution was amended without following due process in an unconstitutional, unlawful and somewhat fraudulent manner. They say this 2021 constitution and that of the 2019 version are, in their view, unlawful documents and should be reversed without delay.
The complaint letter was also copied to the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) desk and the registrar of societies — an organisation that issued a stamp on the constitutions in question. Notwane, in a parting shot, wants to be furnished with minutes that allowed the constitutional changes because, to their understanding, there was none.
It has come to the attention of this publication that Notwane had given the BFA head of secretariat seven days to have replied, but nothing has come out. However, neither party was available for comment as the paper was going to print.
A clash of personal egos, paper trail gone wrong and unfulfilled promises are the primary reasons Botswana international star player, Mothusi’ Mini’ Cooper is still on the fringes despite a vast of football talent at his disposal.
Cooper has suddenly become the centre of controversy after completing a dream move to Lusaka Power Dynamos in Zambia and adorned by many football lovers. His move left his parent club, Township Rollers, divided. Cooper left Rollers last season, but the club he was hoping to re-write his name into folklore has suddenly given him nightmares where he is now stuck on the way forward.
It is reported that the pint-sized midfielder has terminated his two-year contract with the Lusaka club after the club failed to fulfil the terms of the agreement. When cancelling the contract, Cooper was doing so with the hope that he would eventually re-united his old club, Township Rollers.
According to informants, Rollers high-ranking officials refused to accept Cooper back because Power Dynamos is yet to finish the transfer fee paid for the player. It is said that Rollers were reluctant to release the player, but his agent forced matters, consequently fracturing the relationship between the player and Rollers management.
Cooper was earning close to P 25 000 per month, but that lasted for a while. As things stand, the player was training with BDF XI to retain fitness level, but his future is yet to be thoroughly established. Rollers are believed to be reluctant to negotiate terms with him again, and that alone cast aspersions on the way forward. Had the player left on good terms, he would have been readily accepted back, sources claim.
From what this publication gathered, Rollers is still livid at how Cooper left the club, but what is more of a serious matter is the fractured relationship between the club and player agent. It is said that Rollers had failed to pay the agent his dues when Cooper was sold to Lusaka Power Dynamos.
While others within the Rollers executive committee believe this matter could be quickly resolved, the club is still awaiting paper documents filed at FIFA seeking Lusaka Power Dynamos to complete payment of the player. It is not yet clear how much is owed to Township Rollers, but what is apparent is that Dynamos has disappointed.
Cooper was on the wanted list of Orapa United, but the transfer window closed before anything tangible could be discussed. Phemperetle Pheto, the spokesperson of Rollers, refused to shared details regarding Cooper matter. However, their chief executive officer Bennett Mamelodi indicated through the club’s online magazine that the case is before FIFA statutes and will be discussed soon.
After more than 550 days without competitive football game in the country, information gleaned from various sources indicates that the Botswana Football League (BFL) is expected to start the 2021/2022 football season not early or late October.
The resumption of the 2021/2020 season comes after a year and few months since March 2020. Local football was halted during the second round of 2019/2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ban on competitive sport aimed to keep the spread of the coronavirus disease under control. The pandemic had already forced the BFA executive committee to declare the 2020/2021 season null and void in March, citing that the resumption would have caused a fixture pile-up in a limited space of time.
In a brief interview with this publication, the newly appointed BFL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Solomon Ramochotlhwane, said the preparations are ongoing for the football season. “We are engaging all the relevant stakeholders such as the referees’ committee, teams, even Botswana Football Association (BFA)”.
Ramochotlhwane also revealed that all teams would be expected to test for COVID-19 every fortnight once the league has started. He further indicated that they have since written a letter through the mother body, BFA proposing the vaccination of all the players and technical team members. The Government vaccination rollout plan targets people aged 30 to 44, and BPL wants all players to be included in this age group.
However, Ramochotlhwane noted that they are currently waiting for a response from the health authorities concerning the vaccination of players and the technical teams. Moreover, Ramochotlhwane indicated that they would use certified stadiums that meet the Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards. BFL, an organ established to run the elite league independently from the Botswana Football Association (BFA), is currently negotiating with former headline sponsors, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).
Impeccable sources report that the two parties are considering a reunion to lift football from its knees. Information gleaned from various sources indicates that each party has amenability and willingness to re-engage, but there is nothing concrete to talk about at this stage. When commenting on the prospects of BTC coming on board to be headline sponsors, BPL CEO said sponsors need assurances that activities will go according to plan and would not risk committing their money into uncertainties.
Ramochotlhwane would not confirm any names but instead mentioned that they have a plan as BPL in place. It is reported that the new BFL board of directors is quickly drawn to the side of local network giants who also have changed faces in their administrative and marketing wings. BFL is oozing with confidence after reports emerged that BTC’s profits have risen to P 832M. Meanwhile, it is reported that BFA National Executive Committee recently agreed to extend a P 5 million loan to the BFL to commence the 2021-22 football season.
The reported P5 million loan deal follows numerous attempts to secure sponsorship by the newly established BFL body but to no avail. The amount is meant to augment other sponsorship finances sourced thus far. As things stand, the BPL board is believed to have secured a P 6 million broadcast deal with Botswana Television (BTV) and have also closed files with Absa Bank on a reported P3 million deal. The 5 million BFA loan is an expected add-on to the overall P9 million already in the account of the BFL. The move, therefore, means that the 2021-22 football season will be powered at a value of P 14 million.