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Zapata: Many words zero results

Gaborone United (GU) coach Rudolph Zapata is a man of many words but zero results in the field of play which has left GU family greatly disappointed as his messianic words at the beginning of the season gave them hope, writes KETUMILE RAMATITI.


By the end of the season The Reds’ trophy cabinet will have only gathered dust despite Zapata promising honours when he arrived last year. The only redemption left to offer would be to put GU within the Top 8 bracket. “I’m working step by step until the end. From then I will be going to do player and coach development in the USA. I think my job is going to be done to put GU in the Top 8. I wish all the GU supporters all the best,” Zapata said after the game against Mochudi Centre Chiefs three weeks ago.


Currently The Reds are on the bottom half of the league table with 29 points, an unfamiliar territory for Moyagoleele at this time of the season. The team might just miss out on the lucrative Mascom Top 8 competition for the first time since its inception in 2012. In the same tournament, Zapata’s side was eliminated in the first stage of the tournament by BDF XI.


A few months after the Argentine coach was unveiled last season he posted on his Twitter account that he would be “playing soccer not football” like others. This remark caused ruckus on the football circles as rivals argued the coach was taking jibes at them. Meanwhile The Reds family was buzzing with excitement as they believed they had found the right man for their team; they even came up with initiatives like ‘Zapata Dance’ to prepare for the prospects of a good life under the South American mentor.


After revealing these words, he again categorically stated in his social media platform, precisely Twitter, when he arrived in Botswana at the beginning of the second stanza of the league that, “I’m back to Botswana to take away both the league and the Top 8.” He went on to promise the GU family during the launch of the P2 million sponsorship from Zac Construction and Mobicel. “We will triple our work to achieve what we want,” he vowed to GU supporters on the stairs of the exquisite Chez Nicola club. As if it wasn’t enough he continued to say, “I’m going to be playing 1-10 system,” this according to the Aires Buenos born gaffer implied that he will play slumber jacket football- attack as a team and defend as a team, but was this possible?


Fast forward to now the coach is singing a different tune, “we are not going to negotiate good football, even if we lose we are not going to play like a small team.”  Furthermore, he is pointing fingers at boardroom wrangles which according to him; ram the technical team ambitions. “But I am leaving soon so some people in GU are going to be happy. Real supporters understand my job. By the way my record in GU is 15-8-7,” he posted on his Twitter account in February at a time when some EXCO members blasted his tactics.


Perhaps Zapata has a point on the boardroom rumbling as sometimes players were not paid in time which led to them displaying lacklustre performance. However, his tactics wherewithal are also the reason why the team is below rookies like Security Systems and Black Forest. “Zapata is a professional but his playing style is putting him under pressure,” former player and coach Fabian Zulu posits. He further added that it will be difficult for GU to secure a top eight bracket considering the competition there.


Among the raft of changes the loud-mouthed coach brought to GU includes his ruthless parting ways with some key players in the team. Ntesang Simanyana, Edwin Olerile, Gaopatwe Seosenyeng, Kgololo Kgogobi and Mandla Mgadla were all shown the door. Some players were accused of indiscipline while others were deemed as surplus to requirements. Later on national team striker Hendrick Moyo left. Talks about his man-management deficiencies were always there, his relationship with Mpho Kgaswane (now with Baroka) had reached the nose dive according to some players talking to this paper.


His tactics has left a lot to be desired, his idea of ‘attacking as a team and defending as a team’ was never a solution nor proved to be directing the team to the right path. The likes of Kabelo Seakanyeng, Karabo Phiri and Obonwe Maome were designated positions they were not familiar with. The trio with their well-known attacking prowess were assigned to do the opposite by Zapata in his 1-10 formation. “It’s his style and it’s very difficult because it is a European style and tough for local players,” Zulu said.


His stay nonetheless has proved that he is passionate about the younger players, Tumisang Orebonye and Thatayaone Ditlhokwe are notable examples under the during the Zapata era. The Argentinian’s contract will elapse at the end of the season and it will be seen whether GU will offer him a new contract.

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Sport

Rakgare addresses BFA presidential candidates

21st September 2020
Minister Tumiso Rakgare

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.

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Sport

Virtual meet for BFA elections

21st September 2020
Malesu

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.
BFA President: Letshwiti
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.

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

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.

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