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Bright Butler’s standby

With Peter Butler’s sudden but expected fall from grace now being common knowledge, Botswana Football Association (BFA) is said to be preparing to wheedle Major David Bright to lead the squad while waiting to look for a replacement, WeekendSport has gathered.

The local mother body has announced that they have amicably parted ways with the Briton while Oris Radipotsane who has been an assistant to Butler will lead the team to the COSAFA tournament. However, reports suggest that a couple of National Executive Committee(NEC) members have their eyes set on the current Morupule Wanderers head coach David Bright, to help drill a squad that is devoid of international football experience.

WeekendSport has further established that by hook or crook, the MacLean Letshwiti- led regime is more than willing to commit to a local coach, and settle for a foreigner as its technical expert. This comes ahead of a special retreat and monthly meeting in which significant issues of both the head coach and technical expect are expected to be extensively discussed.


It won’t be the first time Bright is approached to coach the national team. In September 2013, under the Tebogo Sebogo leadership, the association put the former Gaborone United mentor on alert when Stanley Tshosane threw tantrums ahead of a crucial AFCON qualifier against neighbours, South Africa.

While the association is steadfast on its insistency that nobody has crossed their mind in supplanting Butler on a permanent basis, this publication is informed that applications will not be opened soon, but attention will be turned to bringing Bright on board. Reports however say Bright is still contracted to Morupule Wanderes, a team playing in the First Division tier- but is seen to be the kind and mould of a coach that the BFA needs, especially following months of hardship to part ways with Butler, who according to reports refused to commit to a new deal.

A key consideration for BFA is a possible public or media backlash when it finally approaches the former Under 23 coach particularly that it is not clear if he has buried the hatchet with the association owing to past hardships, and the fact the former coach, Butler, is furious about the manner in which his case was handled. But in whatever way, the local football body is ready and prepared for hostile response from some quarters. Even if many still admire Tshosane, the BFA appears unmoved in its determination that a local will succeed Butler, and it has to be Bright.

The football regime is said to be willing to approach and agree possible terms with Bright as soon as possible to start assembling and drilling a national squad in a not-so distant future.
However, Bright needs little introduction. His first African experience as a national team coach was with the Under 23 team that surpassed the country’s expectations. He has coached several South African football clubs where he brought in mixed results.

Locally, he has won major trophies with Mogoditshane Fighters and Gaborone United, but is currently struggling with Palapye based outfit Morupule Wanderers. But the report that motivates the BFA is said to be that Bright is looking for a major challenge, and the Zebras job may be his ultimate test. In terms of prize affordability, the association feels Bright is the right man. The outgoing coach was earning close to P80 000 per month.

However some have misgivings about Bright’s bargain because of his current standing commitment with Wanderers. For the association to remain steadfast on him, they have to assure him of a permanent deal, and not a stop- gap. Possibly, this can come at a hefty price.
Certainly, Bright fits the mould of what the BFA would want from the head coach and 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 would be expected.

Although selecting a Motswana coach would mean a lower salary than any other foreign coach, the BFA will fight to defend that finances have not played a part in their thinking should they agree with Bright. BFA declined to discuss the issue saying, “We have released a statement with the effect that Oris Radipotsane will lead the team on interim basis.”

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Rollers make digital strides

11th June 2021
rollers_0121

A recent study shows that Township Rollers is not only popular within the perimeters of Botswana, but has also made significant steps within the digital football platforms in Africa.

Out of the 70 African football clubs ranked on the African football digital benchmark, Township Rollers comes on the 35th position backed by a massive social media following. The club website records more than 399 000 followers and is seen as the most interactive in the local game.

This is consistent with the recent study conducted by FIFA- world football governing body- that Rollers is the only team locally that makes use of its digital platforms.

Notably, it comes out that the gap between Township Rollers and the rest of the 15 Premier League clubs is abysmal, this therefore works against creating a strong BPL brand value.

Rollers is the only club with more than 50 000 followers on Facebook, more than 20 000 followers on Twitter while its Instagram platform stands strong at 27 800 followers.

However, it is found out that much of the BPL brand value is killed by some social Facebook football fan accounts.  They have stood long and have thus attracted more followers than the official accounts. Pages like Killers Pass and Botswana Football have consequently seen more than 100 000 following. Both of the accounts give 24 hour on-going updates of football’s latest news, transfers, results, video and live updates.

FIFA has therefore come to a conclusion that the two social media pages have grown interactive since they incite followers to answer and present their impressions about local football.

It comes into the open that 70 percent of domestic premier league clubs do not have official websites. This according to FIFA, kills the brand and visibility of clubs hence failure to attract lucrative sponsors by the clubs. FIFA also found out that the remaining 30 percent of clubs with websites are lacklustre and found wanting when it comes to their online presence. But in this regard, Rollers is on pole position.

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Sport

GU finally snatches Ditsele

3rd June 2021
Lebogang Ditsele

Hard tackling midfielder, Lebogang Ditsele has completed a move from Botswana Premier League (BPL) champions, Jwaneng Galaxy, to Gaborone United in a reported lucrative two-year deal, WeekendSport can confirm.

The Reds have finally made their move for their long-time target and the enterprising midfielder is said to be happy to have completed the transfer after a heavy fall out with Galaxy management.

He wants to play football that pays, something which Galaxy cannot offer and the allure of GU was certainly too much for Ditsele to turn a blind eye.

The team as led and directed by construction magnate, Nicholas Zakhem- who is reported to have given ‘CCTV’ a mouth-watering P30 000 per month plus winning bonuses contract in demonstration of their seriousness to win silverware.

Sometime in March, the industrious player gave Galaxy an ultimatum-to either improve his contract benefits or let him go-after a decision was taken to offer the whole team pay cuts amid the devastating effects of the corona virus pandemic.

Galaxy had arrived at a conclusion of giving each player P 3000 until a time football returns to the field with moneyed sponsorships.

“We are proud to have signed him because he will add quality to our squad once football returns. Always a quality player and like him and he is now available, you don’t say there is no football, you tie him down before other clubs beat you to his signature,” said club Director, Nicholas Zakhem.

It is believed that Ditsele has always recognized GU as one of the country’s leading clubs, capable of competing for the grandest prizes. Ditsele was at Gilport Lions before he was snatched up by Galaxy and now GU.  His moves come as no surprise as his dream has always been to play for high paying clubs.

No doubt, Ditsele has enjoyed his years at Galaxy, where he is feted by the supporters, but the lad has always felt that the time is right to move on. Ditsele leaves having a year left on his contract.

It is impossible to dispute the value and service that he has given to the club, with the last season being his best, winning the premiership title.

Once Galaxy has sent him to overseas club at Highlands Park but returned home after a short stint.

However, the fan favourite, who has had an on and off relationship with the national team, The Zebras, was never going to be held by the terms of his contract.

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Sport

No injury problems for Amos

2nd June 2021
Nijel Amos

Despite encountering an injury scare ahead of the IAAF Diamond League circuit this week, Nijel Amos’ Olympic dream is still on track and he remains ever capable to stun the world by replicating his famous feat at the 2012 Olympic Games.

This was confirmed by his coaches and doctors after the Botswana star suffered a minor calf injury that forced him out of the weekend race. The multiple conqueror of 800m races is expected back on the track on June 9th to shake off this injury scare and face the possibilities of winning another Olympic medal. This likelihood only has one month to go!

Amos remains the only Motswana athlete to ever win a medal at the Olympic Games, a rare but magnificent accomplishment that still lingers in the memory of Botswana sport fraternity. At the time, he was only 18 years and strange enough, that silver medal felt like Gold for many.

His anticipated presence at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is on course to renew the long standing rivalry between him and the Kenyan 800m world record holder, David Rudisha. This is the same Kenyan competitor who won Gold when Botswana’s Amos came second in a race that would become the toast of the competitions at the London Olympics.

However, two years later, at 2014 Commonwealth Games, Amos dethroned Rudisha in another breath-taking race that confirmed and sparked the ongoing thrilling competitiveness — filled with pleasure, pain and sporting hatred- between the two.

When Amos was beaten in London, he never cared who won the race but was ecstatic to have finished at the podium, writing his name into Olympic Game folklore.

But in Glasgow, for Rudisha, defeat seemed not to have diminished his hopes. After the finish, when the lacerations were sharpest and the wound deepest, Rudisha was pictured hugging Nijel Amos, and congratulating him for a job well done.

Then, Amos was just 20 years, oozing with confidence. The shy looking Rudisha wrapped a Kenyan flag around his back and went on a lap of honour to celebrate his silver medal.

If there was disappointment Rudisha masked it with the skill of an actor. He smiled and waved as he received a standing ovation. “Amos is a tough competitor and he was very good,” Rudisha once admitted, stating matters of sporting facts that would follow between the two runners. Win. Lose. Win. Lose.

But then, there have been echoes of a swollen Muhammad Ali after his defeat to Joe Frazier, winking at the hundreds of fans who had converged at his hotel, determined to show light on his darkest day. The bruises on that day were to Rudisha’s record, not his face. Like Ali, he promised to be back.

But that night was about Amos. A callow 18-year-old who finished second to Rudisha at London 2012 sharpened his confidence, hardened by beating his idol twice on the Diamond League circuit, grew with each passing year.

However, both athletes began to suffer sporting injuries of their own, they lost the edge they were well-known for and it is why at the 2016 Olympic Games, the bookmakers were upset when they could not meet at the final. It was Amos who faltered in the heats and although Rudisha became the first Kenyan to retain an Olympic title, it was not as scintillating as it was in 2012.

Now with a month to go, Amos is living in prayer, hoping he stays free from injuries. He is looking forward to become the star again. He has won everything at the diamond league and broke every national record, but his eyes are still fixed on the ultimate prize- the Gold medal at the international stage, with or without David Rudisha.

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