Madinda Ndlovu’s tenure as Orapa United head coach might come to an abrupt end should he fail to defend his case in seven days time.
WeekendSport has it on good authority that the coach was hauled over red coals on Wednesday evening and that the Orapa United Executive Committee gave him exactly 7 days to show why he should continue to lead the team this season and beyond. He has a running two year contract signed early this year in May. Sources close to developments have hinted to WeekendSport that the Exco could not pin on him anything concrete as the award winning coach was crying uncontrollably the entire time of the meeting.
The outspoken coach has recently lost control of his dressing room and back room staff and as a result failed to put out impressive results with the team. The animosity, sources say, was fuelled by the coach‘s decision to pick midfielder and fellow country man, Tendai Nyumasi as the team‘s captain leaving the long serving Thabang Mosige in the lurch.
According to those close to the situation, this has led Ndlovu into a terrain now difficult to maneuver. He begun to fall out of favour 4 games into the new season, and when the team played the 7th game, players were reported to be faking injuries mainly to frustrate their mentor. Although not proudly maintained, United is believed to be readying to get rid of Ndlovu while both Justin Chambeshi and Daniel Nare are secretly sounded as possible replacements. Chambesi, once led both Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs to cup glory. Nare is the former Extension Gunners coach who now spearheads Serowe based Miscellaneous Sporting Club.
It is for the second time his name is heard within Orapa United boardrooms. The first time was during the off season period when he was reportedly earmarked to join the club as its technical director. Nare and Ndlovu could not be reached for comment as both their phones rang without answers at the time of going to print. United media liaison Kabo Williams could only confirm to this publication that Ndlovu was still the club’s head coach. “Ndlovu is still our coach, I do not know anything beyond that, but the truth is, he has not been sacked,” he said.
The possibility of Nare returning to competitive coaching, where he had short fractious spells with premier league clubs would still galvanise the support. The former Extension Gunners team coach has not declared his intention to go further north but the fact that the April/May rumours have returned could mean a grand plan is being hatched. However, while the relationship between Orapa United owners and the coaches is always a key factor, Nare who is reported to be ahead of Chambesi is likely to seek assurances he would be granted complete control on footballing matters, including transfer policy, if he is allowed to drive the team.
But characteristically and as it is always the case with United, Williams downplays reports about Nare is being prepared to take the baton from Ndlovu. While recent results have made Ndlovu’s looming departure inevitable, with United placed 6th in the league and 13 points behind defending Champions Township Rollers, there is intense frustration among the hierarchy and on the part of the players which appears to play a role in the team's downfall.
This week, the 2019/2020 league champions, Jwaneng Galaxy, announced the signing of former Lusaka Dynamos midfielder Mothusi Cooper for a period of six months.
Cooper, a 23-year-old versatile midfielder, terminated his contract with Lusaka Dynamos a few months ago due to unpaid salaries and signing-on fees. Cooper had joined the Zambian giants from Township Rollers.
In an interview with this publication this week, Tankiso Morake, Galaxy Public Relations Officer (PRO), said their head coach, Morena Ramoreboli, recommended the club to bolster their midfield.
“We felt it was necessary for us as Galaxy to increase our depth in the midfield; fortunately, Cooper was available since he has been declared a free agent,” Morake alluded.
“It is an advantage for us as Galaxy to sign a player of Cooper calibre, though we are not saying we don’t have good players. We just wanted to give the coach what he wants and also add more depth to our squad,” he said.
“It will grant coach more quality players since we are playing the CAF Championship group stage, the league games and also the Orange FA Cup.”
According to Morake, the deal favours both the player and his agent, as it will give the 23-year-old the opportunity to attract interest abroad due to participation in the CAF Championship group stages.
When contacted for comment, Bakang Moipone, who is the player’s agent, said: “The intention was never to go for a local move, but the most unfortunate thing is that as much as we had offers from other teams in Zambia, South Africa, and North Africa and also trying to poach something from Europe, it is challenging to find a foreign player slot during the January transfer window.”
Furthermore, Moipone revealed that the clubs which were interested in his services did not have the foreign slot available to register the versatile midfielder.
“We concluded by saying the player cannot wait until June without having a club; hence we opted for a local move for six months knowing that we will be able to get a club during the winter transfer window,” the player agent noted.
“We received several offers from local teams such as Rollers, Gaborone United, Orapa United and Galaxy, and it was him (Cooper) who chose Galaxy since they have qualified for the CAF Championship group stage as he believes it will give him international exposure and also create more options for him for an oversea move.”
Moipone highlighted that the move to Galaxy was not monetary. The ultimate reason was for the player to gain match fitness while anticipating moving abroad in June to further his professional career.
Meanwhile, it is reported that the former senior national team head coach Adel Amrouche is had secured a lucrative deal for troubled Zebras star Cooper.
The player, recently on Lusaka Dynamos books, is anticipated to move abroad once the 2021/2021 season ends.
The club’s name remains unknown, but sources speculate that the player will land in a team based in Belgium.
Cooper will be the third player whose overseas move is masterminded by Amrouche after secured deals for Kabelo Seakanayeng and Tumisang Orebonye to Olympique Khouribga, a club based in Morocco.
Despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 scourge to the chess fraternity calendar of events, the First Capital Bank Festive Chess Showdown tournament returns this year with improved prizes.
The tournament, which started in 2019 with a sponsorship of P22 000, will proceed with this year’s an increased backing from P42 000 to P50 000. The adjustment prompted the organizers to increase the prizes across sections. Scheduled to take place in Francistown from the 11th-13thof December, the tournament has seen a steadfast growth in sponsorship and attracting high profile players during the two years.
According to the event organizer Thapelo Molefe, the total sponsorship amounts to P49 945, a gesture that allowed them to increase prizes by 14%. The prestige section, which generally attracts highly rated players, has a top prize of P4200, an increase from P3600, while the open section got a P1000 increase to P3000. The ladies section now attracts a prize of P2000 from the previous P1800. However, the Under 18 and development section awards remain unchanged at P1500 and P300.
“The deal is solid and beneficial to both parties so that it won’t stop anytime soon. We have a telepathic understanding with the bank; they have social responsibility at the core of their business. There isn’t much of a difference except the increase in prize monies. Foreign internationals have always graced our events in numbers, and we look forward to having them again in our third installment of this magnificent undertaking,” said Molefe.
The last edition was won by Gaasite Sebetlela and WCM Refilwe Gabatshwarwe in the open and ladies section, respectively, while Monnatsheko Keletshabile emerged the champion in the prestige section.
Morale inside Gaborone United camp is high with the team oozing with confidence and licking their lips to lift the Orange FA trophy, as the team has been assured to share the P700k first prize amongst themselves should they win.
The promise was made by the club Chief financier Nicholas Zachem earlier this year as part of motivating the team following a long spell of football thirst and hunger. The players and the technical team are looking at the big carrot that has been dangled before them and have never looked back.
GU has been marauding other teams, going down for the first time 1-2 against BDF X1. The Innocent Morapedi and Pontsho Moloi mentored side is currently on 2nd position on the league log with 15 points after six games, only a point separate them with log leaders Township Rollers.
The Reds are also in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and are facing stubborn Jwaneng Galaxy in what could be a litmus test for them. Their in-form forward Thatayaone Kgamanyane is expected to lead the attack to eliminate Galaxy and face either Township Rollers or Masitaoka in the finals.
The high flying club has managed five clean sheets this season, with their goalkeeper Goitseone Phoko even voted player of the month. “It’s a great feeling to have been chosen as player of the month. The award will motivate me to perform to my level best in every game. As much as this award is mine, I would like to thank my teammates who have contributed immensely in ensuring that I keep those clean sheets,” said Phoko after pocketing P1000 cash for his toil.
GU Brand and Marketing Manager, Herbert Letsebe said the club decided to introduce monthly awards to motivate players. “This is a build up to our end of the season awards where will crown player of the season and other individual awards,” he said.