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Zebras get David to Bright prospects in Major way

In the Bible, David, despite his small physique, defeated the monstrous Goliath. Zebras, one of the under-achieving national teams in Africa, from a country with one of the smallest populations in Africa, now has a David who is expected to Brighten prospects in a Major way.
 

The big question is whether Major Bright will do a Bible David on the Goliaths of African football. Former Zebras players are guarded in their assessment but the scales tip in favour of the former army major’s return to national team coaching. A good number of former senior national football team players are confident that Major David Bright could propel the senior national team, Zebras, to respectable rankings following his appointment as the national team coach for the next three years.

Bright takes over from Briton, Peter James Butler whose loose canon antics did not help his cause as the Zebras’ poor showing in Africa continued albeit a resurgence of public support, especially in the north. The national team legends who always express concern over the propensity to sideline them on national team matters came out of the woods to contribute words of encouragement and praise for Bright and the decision to appoint him.


The charismatic coach, who has also coached in the South African Leagues characteristically took an oath during his unveiling this week. He believes he can deliver on the goals set by Botswana Football Association (BFA) President, MacClean Letshwiti and his team.

The players, Khumo Motlhabane and Seabo Gabanakgosi, agree that ‘Fakude’ has the know-how of evacuating the team from a pit of misery following Peter Butler’s almost failed attempt at redeeming Zebras. However they both give guarded praise poised with caution. While it is a tough call for Bright to entrench a national team DNA, reach COSAFA finals, qualify for CHAN finals, reach AFCON qualifying stage and World Cup group stages, there is an air of optimism from former players that the coach could produce the needed results.

There is almost consensus that with his disciplinarian style and better understanding of local players, Zebras can reach the height set by former Zebras mentor, Stanley Tshosane. Bright is all on the right corner because the BFA President, Letshwiti believes in him and has said he is ready to channel all the necessary resources to the team.

An Ex-national team player who once worked with the former Mogoditshane Fighters coach at the national team posits that, just like wine, Bright matures with age. “He is one coach who grows with time, I worked with him nine years back but if you look at the training methods he uses now – they are contemporary,” he said.

 “The only problem is working with Sthando (Mogwadi), they are both old there was a need for a younger assistant to complement him because football has evolved and they have been away from mainstream football for some time,” further observes Motlhabane. According to the hard-tackling defender popularly known as ‘Shoes’ – Chicco Nare, Pio Paul, and Tumie Duiker could have been the more sensible additions in the technical team. However he is itching for the coach to maintain the core of players that were selected by Butler. “Those players will suit his style of play because they are skillful,” he said.

Bright revealed to journalists that the players categorically told him that they prefer short passes football. On the other hand another former player who wouldn’t want to be named said Bright shouldn’t be too strict on the players. “His man-management tactics will be tested, nowadays players own cars; and are handsomely paid, so if he becomes too imposing they could fail him. His CV is decorated but he has failed at bigger teams (GU & Rollers) so I hope he has improved on that regard because it could backfire.”  

Another former national team captain, Seabo Gabanakgosi says Bright is the right man for the national team. “There have been issues within the team with players going out, with the firm Bright, those will be issues of the past as he will instill discipline that is currently lacking in the team. Again he understands the players and as a Motswana this is a plus for him to bring the results, his man-management style will be pivotal in bringing results,” he concludes.

The newly formed Botswana Coaches Association chaired by Nelson Olebile has also sung praises for the gaffer. “He has vast experience in local football and he is a winner and as an association we are behind him all the way,” he said. Asked to comment on the localization of national team technical benches, Olebile said: “We want football development, so we shouldn’t deny ourselves the opportunity to learn from others; anyone with the right qualifications should take the job. Anyone valuable who can help us entrench the DNA is fine, but remember we are just advisors, BFA makes the final decision,” concluded Olebile, whose association is still awaiting membership approval from the BFA.

FIFA currently ranks Botswana at position 138 out 211 while CAF rankings pits Zebras at position 40 out of 56 countries. Botswana’s FIFA highest ranking was position 53 achieved in 2010 under Stanley Tshosane. The lowest rankings was position 165, recorded in 1999. Butler’s highest ranking was position 91 recorded in 2016. The P85, 000. 00 per month worth Briton, who is now with Platinum Stars in South Africa had 7 wins, 14 loses, and 1 draw under his belt, a somewhat poor record, according to many. Bright is expected to improve on this dismissal record starting this weekend. 

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Sport

BFA appoints first ever female CEO

1st April 2021
New BFA Boss

Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC) has appointed Goabaone Taylor as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) — replacing Mfolo Mfolo who was sacked last year following Botswana under 17 boys’ team scandal.

The under-17 team was kicked out of the regional COSAFA competition after they failed the Magnetic Resonance Imaging test (MRI) which led to his sacking ultimately.
The new BFA boss has signed three-year contract with BFA and she will resume her new position from April 5th 2021 taking a reign from Thabiso Kebotsamang who has been acting as CEO of the local governing body.

Taylor joins BFA joins with more than 18 years of corporate and commercial professional experience backed by a distinguished track record of identifying the uniqueness of brands, accentuating their appeal, taking them to market, and maximizing their value. Talyor brings a unique set of skills, perspectives, and relationships to lead the BFA into the future.

“Building on what the BFA has already accomplished, under her leadership, the Association hopes to hone its strategic direction, grow, and develop, as well as strengthen its partnerships and build new relationships,” reads press statement from Lekidi.

Taylor has previously served as Country Manager of Econet Media, she also led the commercialization of the Pay-Tv and Free-to-Air content platforms, implementing go-to-market strategy, driving brand awareness, partner and customer acquisition as well as enhancing customer experience.

Prior to Econet Media, she worked in the Wholesale Business arm of BTCL, spearheading business development efforts, managing complex international relationships with strategic business partners within the framework of an international body charged with maintaining practices and standards; a similar arrangement to that which exists in football, with both FIFA and UEFA.

Her previous roles have also required reaching down into grassroots organizations to encourage the development of local capability.  The new BFA female boss holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in marketing from the University of Botswana (UB), including an array of professional courses in the areas of Digital Marketing with the University of Cape Town (UCT), Senior Development Program with USB-Ed and Enterprise Risk Management with Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) among others.

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Sport

AFCON 2021 was always a fallacy

30th March 2021
Zebras

In a country that places sport at the bottom of its priorities, Botswana Senior national team’s dream of qualifying to the 33rd edition of the African prestigious tournament was a misconception right from the beginning.

With Adel Amrouche, recruited and paid a staggering P 250 000 to embody the future of the Zebras squad, his buoyance and pragmatic style of coaching appeared to confuse different ideologies of the game.

Botswana’s elite league has been in chains for over a year now. Players’ fitness, without doubt took a nose dive because majority of them had never kicked the ball in a competitive game. Dangling bigger carrots by the Government of Botswana at a very crucial stage was never going to help the situation.

These stories of a disjointed association and league point rather wearily to the basic obstacle on Botswana’s own path to Cameroon games. A Premier League that refused to restart the games and many published Government Gazette that closed out sport have edged Botswana’s national team concerns to the fringes. Players are not allowed to play at club level but are expected to kick the ball and win on the international stage.

Football for a very long time has been feeding from crumps. There is no clear budget for sport and even 11th hour incentives cannot help turn the corner, only thorough preparations can.

For far too long, Botswana has become a little more than a spectator in an African Cup of Nations qualifying race. The future of this footballing nation now mirrors a tomorrow that may never come. It does not come by fluke…like many aspects of life, even in football, there are no short cuts. There is no easy way to the top. It tells a story that we are jumbling preparations of the game, no wonder we could not juggle the ball better than Zimbabwe.

But all these things come from afar. When Amrouche was employed, like many of his predecessors, he was asked to take the team to AFCON finals, but this never materialized because there is no clear road map. Some of the stories are of course his own doing. The reported fall out he had with some players and members of the technical team meant that he earned himself many enemies.

Many loved his tough nosed approach to disciplinary issues. When he came in he put his foot on the ground and immediately suspended about four players for disobeying his laid down camp rules.

Amrouche is not a man who trusts easily. He fired almost everyone he feels sabotaged him. He ultimately surrounded himself with few faces new to the game. Unfortunately, it turned out that he was doing it too much…running the show all by himself.

His prize tag was justifiable enough to qualify the team to the African show piece but little did he know that he had many enemies who prayed day and night that he does not make it.

Statistically, his coaching resume in the country does not inspire confidence. He played a total of 8 games. He won 1 game and lost 5, the other two games ended in a stalemate. This is from a man who smiles all the way to the bank to withdraw P250 000 every month.

With Amrouche, Botswana was expected to take some pride from Cape Verde of 2010 and Madagascar of 2019; they can’t just leave with crossed arms, and so followers thought this was going to be a one-on-one match.

But as fate finally proved it, Botswana is not organized in doing their things, no wonder their success, both in the region and the continent is not highly merited. A coach given blank administration duties slowly became a rolling stone.

He is allowed to recruit players and negotiate contracts for them with oversea clubs. While some see it as a good gesture, to others is a direct conflict of interest. It means players would not be picked on merit, but in line of favouritism.  This explains why Tshepo Maikano, the Zebras trusted right back, was benched because he had a fallout with the coach mid-way through the preparations. He was replaced with Gape Gaogane who was being trialled in the position.

This is the reason players like Kobamelo Kebaikanye played the entire game simply because he is in good books with the coach.

Without doubt, and by his own admission, Amrouche has failed. He has sabotaged the country and he too has been sabotaged.

Striker Teenage Orebonye and midfielder Kabelo Seakanyeng could have played the Zimbabwe affair, but it turns out that some within the federation sit until the last hour to process their visas, consequently spoiling Amrouche’s plans.

These are the two players Amrouche personally ensured that they play in oversea games but he now knows that AFCON 2021 failure cannot be accepted.

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Sport

FUB spells reasons on football return

30th March 2021
Letsholo

There is a critical amount of public debate unfolding on when and how the football industry should return to play amid the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.

The discussions are spearheaded by the Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB), who in a short period of time, have earned an abrasive response from the local football body, Botswana Football Association (BFA).

FUB whose primary mandate is to stand for the welfare of players in the country, are not satisfied with the state of football affairs in the country. The body has thus far sent a 16 page document to BFA, spelling out reasons why football has to return with immediate effect.

“The primary reason to return to play is economic; entertainment comes as an afterthought at this situation. Football pays players,” the document reads.

The union is steadfast on its insistency that players and members of technical staff are no longer coping without the game. It is their hope that all involved stakeholders must come together and iron out differences for the betterment of the game.

“In recent past, we engaged in several discussions with our members and the overwhelming feedback from these conversations is that players are not only concerned about their own health and safety but predominantly about their family members,” FUB argues.

The union further contends that football must return because players are slowly losing interest in the game.

According to their survey, there is an overwhelming feeling that many players would not return to the game if it takes too long to lift restrictions.

“The game is already down on its knees, some players are contemplating on quitting and by the time we return they will be no clubs to form competitive leagues, the sooner we come back to the game the better,” the union states.

The union continues to exert pressure on the association to put all modalities in place for safe return. There is a massive concern about the readiness of clubs even when circumstances are too much to overcome.

The union is worried about the readiness of the club’s medical staff to protect players and avail necessary tools in the context of COVID-19.

FUB further notes that there are problems on both sides of football. Played or halted. The union had previously conducted a survey and the results are not pleasing.

The number of professional footballers reporting anxiety and depression symptoms has risen sharply upon football career retirement, a survey by FIFPRO and Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) has found.

Notably, the percentage of professional footballers reporting symptoms of depression has doubled. Until today, FUB conducted an extensive research on their affiliated player associations and surveyed more than 1 500 professional footballers both retired and who are still active.

It was found out that 95% of players hold BGCSE qualification, 12% have gone up to tertiary level while the remaining have only Junior Certificate as their academic achievement. This fed to the long standing doubt why players fail to make it from playing football.

This study is in consistent with the other one conducted recently after corona virus forced football to shut down where players started to fret about their future.

Twenty-two percent of female players and 13 percent of men players reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of depression. Eighteen percent of the women and 16 percent of the men reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of generalized anxiety. (In most scientific research, a higher number of women than men report symptoms of depression and anxiety.)

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