Patience is not so much of a virtue after all, that is if the on goings in the Botswana Premier League (BPL) is anything to go by. With only one match before the league reaches half way phase, a total of 7 coaches have either left their jobs or were sacked following a string of poor results.
What is ironical about the firing and hiring of coaches is that-all the coaches are just being rotated amongst the same teams! It is not clear whether the coaches leave in chase of better offers or players and complicating matters for them and in turn making it harder for them to stay at their respective teams.
However, there is that unnerving history of mid-season upheaval. Retreat into the recent past, not least when coaches’ relationships with club owners, fractured beyond repair. The classical case is that of Bongani Mafu with Mochudi Centre Chiefs. The coach is now employed by Orapa United, but before finding greener pastures, he complained time and again about unpaid dues.
With Magosi, the sight of the Kgatleng club languishing slightly off the pace did not render the coach’s position increasingly untenable. He simply terminated the contract. However, Keitumetse Paul, Raizer Tsatsilebe and Paul Moyo were dismissed with their team – albeit sides benefiting from the strong and influential backbone established properly by themselves during their first spell in charge.
Paul, popular known as Pio in football circles played a pivotal role in the promotion of Sharps Shooting Stars into the elite league. Information differed regarding his exit move, some saying the club took a decision through a move bordering on disciplinary issues while others say he outright rejected the club’ contract offer.
Paul is now with Notwane Football Club, plying his trade at the lower tier of First Division South. He is allegedly running the Technical Directors’ portfolio. On one hand however, Premier League rookies, Uniao Flamengo Santos are said to be dangling a bigger carrot before him, in hopes to prize him away.
Suffering the same fate as Paul is Tsatsilebe. He enjoyed a roller coaster ride with Black Forest a season ago, but the Motswana mentor was to suffer a second season syndrome with the club. Moyo’s stay with Santos was as short as a hobbit, his experience as a seasoned coach failed to pay dividends.
Up north, Maxwell Moyo might be cursing the day he signed a contract with Tafic Football Club. He has been shown the door while awaiting his work permit. Competition amongst teams is certainly at its lowest largely because players have a hard time in adapting to coaches philosophies as they come and go.
This is not normal, and it appears that Madinda Ndlovu’s sordid sacking at Orapa United is having the same effect on the team’s performance. If United are making a change, it must be time for everyone else to consider their options too. Except that one only has to look at the top of the Premier League to know that is not really the case. Ndlovu, after his fall, returned home to coach Zimbabwean giants FC Highlanders.
Worse still, Jwaneng Galaxy parted ways with their arguably best coach in history, Mike Sithole. He won the Top 8 tournament the first time after taking over as coach, and the Zimbabwean gaffer was about to take the team through the often difficult route of CAF championships. Clubs these days prefer to have coaches who do not stay for longer periods. Everything else revolves around results and whether they come or not, coaches do not have to overstay.
Changing coaches on a regular basis prevents players and fans from getting bored with the same formula every week and there is not the same sense of failure when a coach comes to the end of his contract and moves on to another club. Good coaches tend to move upwards, the not so good ones either stay at their respective teams or ship out, but with a high proportion of clubs making changes each close of season there are plenty of employment opportunities and a healthy circulation of fresh ideas, some have suggested.
When commenting on the matter, Senior National Team Coach David Bright said the problem lies with club management. He is of the view that, “a coach cannot be fired in the middle of the season while he has actually made a plan for the entire season.” He further said players are left confused and this kills the standard of football. On another related matter, Bright admitted that most premier league clubs believe more on foreign coaches who always struggle to understand local players.
Madinda Ndlovu From Orapa United to Highlanders FC
The mega transfer of one Thatayaone Ditlhokwe from Township Rollers to South Africa’s SuperSport United has left Gaborone United (GU) desperate for the ‘purchase benefits’ and the latter has consistently phoned Rollers to pay back their share for supposedly grooming the player.
Ditlhokwe, a former GU defender, was sold to SuperSport at an estimated fee of P 2 million late last year. When the sale was negotiated, and it was agreed that GU will receive at least 15% of the sale, sources say.
This therefore means Rollers has to pay GU P 300 000.
According to reliable sources, Rollers is yet to process GU’s benefits because SuperSport United is taking long to complete the transfer fee. However, Jagdish Shah, the financer of Rollers, is said to be ready to pay GU’s dues as soon as the time is right.
In any case, it is said the two clubs are fighting a boardroom brawl. Regarded as the fiercest cross town rivals, GU was incensed to lose Ditlhokwe to Rollers in the first place. The underlying scuffle, to date, is catalysed by misplaced documents and trust that has grown seriously thin between the two clubs.
It is said that GU cannot find the contract between Rollers and SuperSport so as to officially bill their claim. Sources put it that GU had written twice to Rollers asking them to forward a copy of the said contract.
In the first instance, it is said that Rollers cooperated and did as GU requested. However, GU is said to have lost the contract and went back to Rollers for another copy. Rollers according to sources then refused to budge. There are claims that GU is now stuck in one place.
Rollers media liaison Phemperetlhe Pheto said it is difficult to talk about contracts to third parties. He however implored GU to avail the contract for them to claim their fees without doubts.
“I am disturbed to talk about contracts of players to media but bear in mind that we cannot act when GU is failing to submit what they have as a proof,” he said.
When Rollers tried to sign Argentinean born gaffer, Rudolph Zapata, three seasons ago, GU fought tooth and nail to block him from joining the ranks of their number one enemy. They delayed to release his work permits accusing him and Rollers of sinister motives.
To this date, GU is livid that Rollers nearly paralyzed their camp when they recruited striker Tumisang Orebonye, defender Jackson Lesole and the very same Ditlhokwe, to offer them lucrative contracts.
Just a year ago, the fight between the two clubs almost took a nasty turn. It started when GU wrote to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) questioning the coaching credentials of Rollers former coach, Frank Nuttall, together with his assistants, Leutwetse Tshireletso and Zachariah Mudzazi. Then, GU was seen to be shifting posts when consistently asked to rectify the situation involving their coach, Pontsho Moloi. It was found out that Moloi was not fit to coach in the elite level according to the requirements of club licensing.
But as things stand, GU will count on the words of Shah, whom many football administrators label as a ‘man of integrity.’
Ditlhokwe signed a three year deal with SuperSport last year. The 22-year-old helped Rollers to lift the Botswana Premier League trophy in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a national team call up.
The Botswana international played an important role for his side in the 2019 COSAFA Cup in South Africa as captain, Ditlhokwe also helped Zebras finish 2nd in the tournament losing to Zambia in the final.
The Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development has agreed to refurbish the dilapidated Molepolole Sports Complex.
The development consequently means premier league teams and local clubs will not be able to utilise the facility in the upcoming season.
The stadium with a carrying capacity of 6 600, was earmarked by premier league rookies Masitaoka as home-ground.
The ministry has further revealed that the stadium will need a budget of about 5 million Pula to relay the turf and renovate a water drainage system that has worn out. The contractors are expected to commence work in the not so distant future.
The pitch surface is artificial and was first installed in 2008 at FIFA’s request and the presidency of Philp Makgalemele. In 2010, it was chosen as one of two host stadiums for the COSAFA Under-20 Challenge.
“We have funds to refurbish the Molepolole Stadium for two main projects; the relaying of turf and renovation of water reticulation system. The stadium will therefore be out of bounds when contracted companies begin their works,” the Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) confirmed.
The Ministry of sport is further expected to file a communication with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development notifying them to start a monitoring exercise when the renovations begin.
The reconstruction of this stadium and others is however feared to coincide with the long intention of the government to improve sport infrastructure throughout the country.
Earlier this year, the sport ministry has also requested a budget of about P 33 million to renovate and improve the VIP lounge of Francistown Sport Complex, now known as Obed Chilume stadium.
The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, said the government continues to improve sporting infrastructure as part of the grassroots sport development programme. He said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) two years ago.
This financial year, P50 million was allocated for the construction of 10 community sport facilities or mini stadia, around the country.
“These will be basic sport facilities for youth recreation, and will consist of boundary wall, an artificial turf, soccer pitch and changing rooms with ablution facilities,” he said.
The facilities are earmarked for Tonota, Mmadinare, Bobonong, Tutume, Kasane, Goodhope, Kanye, Rakops, Tsabong and Moshupa.
Enterprising midfielder, Dirang Moloi, is in talks with premier league rookies Masitaoka Football Club about possibilities of joining as a free agent, having last played for troubled Extension Gunners last season.
Moloi, touted as the best midfielder of his generation, is said to be ready to hang his boots but not before playing for Masitaoka, the promising outfit whose administration is now the envy of other premier teams, especially the older ones.
However, it appears that there is a stumbling block as Moloi is requesting for conditions that are beyond the club’s reach. Moloi, with a substantial premier league experience, where player wages are not always guaranteed, wants to partner with the club through his side businesses to make profit.
Sources say Moloi does not desperately yearn for a monthly salary, but wants some benefits as the club makes money through other means.
Operating as a football company, Masitaoka has plenty of sponsors and it is why Moloi wants a share of the profits for each replica jersey the team sells. He also wants the club to partner with his security company to further rake in profits rather than waiting on a meagre salary that is not certain especially during turbulent periods of corona virus. This, according to sources may weigh heavily on Masitaoka’s situation that consequently will collapse the talks.
All the while, it is said Moloi will no longer be a first-choice selection but Neslon Olebile, the team’s head coach, hopes that his personality and experience will serve to inspire the rest of the attacking options, most notably the younger players.
Masitaoka have always sought to have leaders in their squad, players who have won big games and can bolster the collective belief. Their hunger to sign Galabgwe Moyana in the next season is rooted in part, by what he could bring away from the field.
Moloi, some reports say may join partly on probation and eventually sign to play as the season goes on, but not to inspire, as he once declared he is about to quit Botswana football.
The club sources however say that there is no option built into the deal for him to join them with non- football conditions.
Masitaoka are however desperate for Moloi’s services and will want him to bring calmness and stability to a side that has begun to dream big. The Molepolole base outfit is eyeing a spot in the finals of Orange FA Cup. Once football resumes, the club will play against Calendar Stars in the quarter finals.
Moloi has won a handful of trophies and medals during his salad days at Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.