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.”
Amid the confusion surrounding the date of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, met with three presidential candidates on Thursday morning to discuss a plethora of problems bedevilling the domestic game.
The candidates are Maclean Letshwiti, the current President, Tebogo Sebego, the firm challenger of the BFA throne, together with Ookeditse Malesu who enters the race for the first time in his sporting career. There were other two unnamed officials who are said to be representatives from the sport ministry.
The Sport minister is said to have adopted a hard-nosed approach to register his disappointment and worry that the uncertainty of the upcoming elections have injured the administration of the local game.
Highly placed sources at the Sport ministry say that the minister’s ‘no gloves barred’ approach comes at the behest of the BFA’s constant negative headlines regarding their leadership style as of going into the elections.
It is said that Rakgare was also worried that the current administration is keeping the other two camps in the dark regarding the planning and processes bordering on election issues. This, he said has led to unnecessary speculations and back biting that is not needed to lift the game at a time when it is on its knees.
He was to rattle a few feathers at one incident when he called all the three leaders of the game to put their houses in order. As if that was not enough, the minister called on the three lobby groups to desist from serving personal interests but put focus on developing the game.
Interestingly, sources point out that the minister was livid but urged both Letshwiti and Sebego groups to refrain from tarnishing the good image of the ministry. This, he said in response to wide ranging allegations that he is taking sides as campaigns are ongoing.
The Sebego group accuses him of de campaigning Sebego and having a soft spot for Team Letshwiti while the same Letshwiti group is saying the same thing about the minister as having taking curious interest in Sebego camp.
The minister is alleged to have told the leaders that if they do not change their leadership style of protecting those looting public funds, his ministry would intervene even if it means attracting the wrath of FIFA, which is known for its notorious sanctions when countries do not toe the line. He urges BFA to be accountable at all the times they will cut the annual subventions that goes to them, sources claim.
This is not for the first time that the BFA was lectured on good governance. At one incident in 2015, former Minster of Sport Thapelo Olopeng dressed down the then Tebogo Sebego leadership regarding good governance.
BFA was at the time closely monitored by the ministry. Instead of the usual transactions that normally go through BFA, national team players received their allowances straight from government in the form of cheques. To demonstrate that government has taken a firm stand against BFA, players’ allowances were no longer routed through the association.
Nobody from the said meeting will address this publication enquiry all indicating that the consultation is never meant for public consumption.
If everything goes according to plan, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual general assembly next month through a virtual conference.
There has been much uncertainty as to how and when the congress will be held seeing as how COVID-19 protocols remain stringent on gatherings.
Sources speaking with this publication say the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association has agreed to hold the congress within COVID-19 zones, consequently dispelling all the lingering doubts surrounding the life and soul of the assembly.
As it stands, there are nine COVID -19 zones in Botswana. The association is therefore contemplating to rely within four zones where live streaming will take centre stage for the first time in the history of BFA elections.
The congress was first billed for August 8th but was postponed to August 22nd. However, the second date could not see the light of the day as the country recorded a second rise of coronavirus cases that promptly led to greater Gaborone going into yet another lockdown.
The association has been procrastinating over the virtual congress idea with the election agenda remaining a sticky issue. Many advices came flooding that the association is free to make any decision about the congress but should be very careful not to compromise the integrity of the vote.
Sources indicate to this paper that the association is likely to rely on four COVID-19 zones, namely Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Palapye. The need to plant the meeting on virtual technologies hinges on the fact that the COVID -19 health protocols do not permit people to cross zones to hold meetings.
Information gleaned from various sources is that the association is looking to rely on four zones primarily because of the limited number of personnel under the electoral board. There are five members consisting of this committee and by the look of things; the association will not be allowed to outsource more election overseers at the eleventh hour. Sources argue that the whole cautious exercise is meant to avoid complaints that may arise after elections are held.
The virtual meeting comes after many failed attempts by the association to convince the Kereng Masupu led Task Force to give out a special dispensation. On many occasions, the Task Force refused to allow for the assembly to go on saying “football is not a priority.”
The assembly is expected to be held next month but the exact date still remains a subject of speculation. In the end, Tebogo Sebego will stand again for the second time to unseat Maclean Letshwiti while Ookeditse Malesu is standing for the first time to try and wrestle for BFA power.
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.
The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.
Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.
The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.
The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.
“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.
In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.
He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.
When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.