Botswana Football Coaches Association (BFCA) and Football Union Botswana (FUB) have joined in the fray of disappointed football stakeholders lamenting the congested BTC Premiership fixtures.
The elite league powered by BTC kick-started late after a number of administrative stalemates in the boardrooms. The league started five weeks later in September and not in August as per the norm. The teams have decried the congestion which resulted from the league starting late. According to coaches who spoke to this paper, the current scenario will likely compromise the quality of the already deteriorating local game.
National team coach Major David Bright, who is among those concerned about the status quo says he has tried to advise and offer suggestions before. “I have advised them on the congestion of the games. I suggested that since players are just from the pre-season they should play once a week then after they gain momentum that’s when they can kind of congest fixtures because then, the players’ fitness will be up to par and they would be able to deliver under the conditions,” he said.
The national team coach believes that his scouting intentions will be thwarted as the players are not well conditioned- hence he believes he is likely to select unfit players for national duty. Of late Bright has been castigated for selecting ‘old horses’ like Tshepo ‘Talk Talk’ Motlhabankwe, a decision he is unapologetic about.
Orapa United mentor Madinda Ndlovu is also upset by the hectic schedule as it will impact negatively his title ambition this season. “We have too much work this season. But it’s our duty to play football and since it started late we knew it was going to be like this, playing as many games in a very short space of time, but its football.”
Meanwhile, Miscellaneous head coach, Chico Nare did not mince his words when addressing the issue. “I’m not happy, look I travel 800km using the gate takings and by bus for that matter. My players have limited training time and they are fatigued this results in substandard output which will chase supporters away,” he said. Chico argued that the league will still be dominated by teams with a better financial muscle like Township Rollers, Police, BDF, Orapa United, and Jwaneng Galaxy.
While FUB Secretary General Kgosana Masaseng conceded that the congested fixtures would hurt the quality of display he said that it was normal in professional leagues for teams to play congested fixtures “But locally players are working and they don’t have enough time to prepare which will affect the product we want to sell.”
The union also said it was greatly concerned about the state of the fields used for premier league games, as players sustained injuries while playing there, especially the Molepolole and Maun Sports Complexes. “It appears they are not well maintained and in Maun temperatures are too high and when the players fall/slide they blister,” he highlighted.
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.