Former senior national team coaches Veselin Jelušić and Peter James Butler are surprise frontrunners for the Zebras job after the fall of controversial gaffer Major David Bright-WeekendSport has learnt.
Mogomotsi Mpote who has agreed to hold the fort temporarily will have no qualms in departing the seat immediately after a permanent coach has been identified. Mpote is also the national Under-23 coach. It is however not clear if the Orapa United man will gladly accept the assistant coach role when a new coach comes.
Mpote, however, has already answered the call to drill the Zebras against Angola in the last AFCON 2019 qualifier in 22 March – a game of less significance on the side of Zebras but of high consequence on the Angolan side. Botswana are languishing at the bottom of Group I while Angola need a win to secure qualification in this edition to be played in Egypt. The association is said to be willing to engage former players like Diphetogo Selolwane to advise as to whom to appoint, with the likelihood of a role being created for such a figure within the new management set-up.
Selolwane in particular has been travelling with the Zebras especially during Bright’s era. It is now clear as a day that BFA will want a foreigner to rebuild the Zebras, leaving Veselin and Butler as the best qualified candidates. Veselin will be considered when the Association’s three-man selection panel discusses contenders for the post later in the next coming months. With David Bright failing to fulfill any of his deliverables especially during this AFCON qualifier, there is a word that the committee will soon starts assessing credentials of both coaches.
However, one high ranking member of the association warned that people will be shocked when none of these two coaches fail to make the cut. He also indicated that reports that ‘Shakes’ Mashaba of South Africa will lead The Zebras are baseless and have no meaning. During the appointment of Bright, president of the association Mac Lean Letshwiti was understood to favour Bright’s candidacy due to the positive message it would send to emerging local coaches as proof of the BFA’s commitment to making coaching qualifications accessible to a greater number.
However, reports further state that the president now have soft spot for Veselin presumably for his impact he made on The Zebras almost 19 years ago. Butler is another BFA’s ideal candidate, although senior figures are aware of the difficulties they may encounter in attempting to prise him away from Indonesia when his contract expires at the end of the coming season.
Butler, who guided Botswana to the COSAFA finals in 2016 following the team’s mutiny under predecessor Stan Tshosane subsequent months after historic AFCON 2012 campaign, would fit the BFA’s requirement of having a familiarity with African football. Certainly, they are those who are saying Veselin fit the mould of what the BFA would want from the head coach and he will easily accept a new significant involvement at Lekidi Football Centre. He is also highly regarded within CAF, although he may not be the kind of high-profile appointment that was expected.
Although selecting the Serbian man or the British would mean a higher salary than any other foreign coach, the BFA is adamant that finances would never play a part in their thinking. Nobody at the helm of the association is willing to discuss the issue the incoming mentor.
The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of France’s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina
With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.