Orapa United head coach, Madinda Ndlovu is eager to hear from his former team, Township Rollers about the possibility of returning to the Mma Masire based side, reports suggest. The Zimbabwean national, would find it hard to resist another serious offer to become Township Rollers mentor for the second time.
However, the team’s management is taking their time and have rather chosen to procrastinate about making Ndlovu head coach again. Other reports suggest that Ndlovu has already met with Rollers’ chief financier, Jagdish Shah some two weeks ago. The details of the meeting have been kept under wraps, but sources have told this publication that Shah and Ndlovu are in good books and the tycoon prefers him (Ndlovu) to lead the team.
Meanwhile, Mark Harrison is still Rollers head coach, and management has yet to finalise the decision of whether to replace Harrison with Ndlovu. The former has so far failed to coax a winning formula for the team. Though it is said a number of individuals claiming to represent the Shah led club have enquired about Ndlovu to poll his interest in the position, all enquiries have been deflected.
Ndlovu on the other hand is believed to be waiting for senior members of the Rollers hierarchy to make serious contact. Those close to him say the Zimbabwean has resolved to say nothing publicly until he knows Rollers' intentions. He would, however, be disappointed if there is no approach, with reports further saying the Orapa life is not interesting to him.
Having won league titles with two big clubs in the country, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers, and a top 8 cup with Orapa United, Ndlovu’s stock, without doubt, has risen. He has signed a contract extension with United, but reports say, if need be, Rollers’ purse can buy him out of his contract. While at Rollers, Ndlovu, just like Harrison, attained A license coaching certificate.
According to reports, Ndlovu believes he could extract the best from Rollers squad, regularly labelled country-class; despite rarely delivering performances to match this for most of this season. He has also worked with few players at both Orapa United and Rollers and is said to be confident that his preparatory methods and tactical intelligence would have an immediate impact.
Though he has labelled coaching as 'a thankless job', Madinda regards a new challenge with former club as an exceptional case, sources claim. “It's special because it is one of his former teams,' said one of his closest confidants.
“Normally you have to return to one of your former clubs when you are older, but with this Rollers side, there is a different motivation, different players. It is a special club with a special culture of football. He would welcome the chance to speak to Rollers about this job,” the friend further revealed. The Rollers squad is one of the most expensive in this country. Although a large chunk of the blame is thrown on the side of the coach, issues of bonuses and player favouritism are evidently putting the club on the back foot.
Ndlovu has twice won the premier league title with Mochudi Centre Chiefs. He left the club under a cloud, crossing to rivals Township Rollers. At the first time of asking in 2013-14 at Rollers, Ndlovu remarkably won the league with them. As things stand, his team Orapa United tops the league standings as they are seeking to mount a serious challenge for more silverware. He is expected to steward them in the CAF competitions, and should he move back to Rollers, a similar assignment awaits him.
Orapa United is said to be worried about the recent speculation but have chosen to keep quite unless prompted to speak. The same move is adopted by Rollers. But Madinda when contacted downplayed every report that links him to Rollers. ‘‘I know nothing about Rollers interest in me, actually i am happy with Orapa United,’’ he said.
The intention to bring back Ndlovu will mean Harrison’s nomadic life in coaching continues.
Harrison was the goalkeeper coach of Everton before becoming coach and assistant manager of Barrow, and later player-manager of Stafford Rangers and then the reserve coach and assistant manager of Oxford United in the Championship league. Interestingly, he gained his UEFA A license at the young age of 33. He later had a spell as coach of the Bangladesh national football team
Harrison then went on to manage Fortune in the South African NFD and later Hurriya in the Maldives. He was employed to assist Mpumalanga Black Aces in the South African Premier Soccer League in 2011. He was promoted to head coach position for the remainder of the 2010–11 season, but parted with the club at the end of the campaign. He went on to coach African Warriors in the National First Division
Harrison took up the job as head coach of Bay Stars, in South Africa's third tier, the SAFA Second Division in the 2012-13 season. However, he left during the season to join Chippa United. He was appointed head coach of Chippa United in April 2013 but despite never losing a game, was unable to prevent the team from being relegated at the end of the 2012–13 season.
He resigned from his position after four games in the 2013–14 season and became head coach of Golden Arrows on 7 October 2013. In January 2015 he was appointed head coach of Zimbabwean club, CAPS United. Harrison resigned on 16 June 2015, the same day he was announced as the head coach of Township Rollers.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) is running without a substantive Technical Director since parting ways with South African native, Serame Letsoaka, who jumped ship midway through his contract in 2019.
This glaring revelation has left the Technical Department of the association hamstrung to fully operate by the book hence a plethora of problems protruding on the very nose of it.
This is the reason it took long for the association to take stern action against Zebras gaffer, Adel Amrouche. His departure was sanctioned at the eleventh hour when players’ patience had long wilted, threatening to leave the camp.
Pundits will therefore observe that it is the absence of a Technical Director that has caused all hell to break loose at Lekidi Football Centre.Since the departure of Letsoaka, the TD position has been more or less vacant as it has been manned by unqualified and somewhat incompetent administrators to date.
The TD position requires a CAF A-License qualification as well as a Diploma in Secondary Education as minimum qualifications. Among the specific duties of TD is; training and development of coaches, including design and updating of coaches manuals, facilitating licensing courses, developing a coaches Code of Conduct, arranging for expert and specialist coaches to deliver training clinics, education on rules of the game and creating and maintaining a library of resources including books, videos and articles for coaches to access.
The responsibility also include establishing and delivering a comprehensive and nationwide Grassroots programme at both the community level, in schools, and in the schools through clubs through strategic partnerships within the communities and with various government ministries and agencies.
TD also advices BFA on all matters related to the effective development of football in Botswana and is accountable for the development of a strategy and policy for the performance of football programmes.
Other duties include working with Youth National teams and coaches through development programmes in order to enable BFA to attain its goals within CAF and FIFA, including putting in place clear systems and processes for identifying and developing talented players.
After Letsoaka left, BFA reached out to Wire Kaelo, a Gaborone United legend currently holding the position of assistant coach at Security System FC, but eventually he was not appointed to the post.
Despite rumours to the effect that BFA had agreed terms with Kaelo to this day, the Association has not come out as to what happened to the alleged marriage.
BFA subsequently appointed one Dr Carolin Braun, on secondment from the German Olympic organisation, a move that left the association rooted in abrasive factionalism.
In particular, local coaches and the general football fanatics have always cried foul claiming that Dr Braun is not fit to hold the position of TD especially in a growing football environment like Botswana.
There is growing concern that Dr Braun does not have the pre-requisite credentials to be appointed for this plum post as she has never held any significant position within the football fraternity, not even at amateur level.
“It was a first in the history of Botswana football to see a TD doubling up as assistant coach to the senior national team and there has been no tangible coaching courses since the departure of Serame Letsoaka and this has been attributable to the vacant position of TD,” a source remarked.
BFA is currently failing to communicate CAF’s decision that the ill-fated CAF “B” and “C” courses held during Serame’s last days were not sanctioned and therefore attendants will not be certificated.
Over 50 local coaches participated in the courses and last year, most of those coaching in the Premier League had to be given waivers by the BFA Technical Committee before they could be accredited.
CAF has since indicated that the issue of waivers by national associations will not be entertained, something which might throw local games into disarray.BFA is still failing to come up with a coaching philosophy despite Serame having started groundwork before his departure.
Other countries such as Zambia have since resumed CAF coaching courses whilst in Botswana is still business as usual despite the impending challenges caused by indiscretion and lack of foresight.
Despite BFA having advertised the position of TD and subsequently holding interviews where recommendations were done by the Technical and Development Committee, the BFA NEC has refused to endorse the recommendation for reasons only best known to them.
Yet, there is a lingering fact that the NEC is clueless when it comes to technical matters. There is not even a single individual in the NEC who holds any coaching qualification including the Chairman of the member responsible for technical and development matters, Masego Ntshingane.
When asked about the position of the TD, Ntshingane said the association is well aware of the matter and will son fill the post. “Yes, it is true the association has not appointed a TD after Letsoaka’s departure, but we are working around the clock to hire capable people,” he said.
However, local coaches believe that it’s a travesty of justice to expect non-technical people to make meaningful contributions on technical matters to the extent that they can veto recommendations from a committee of renowned technical experts.
It is not business as usual in the operations manual of African football. Ever since the ascendency of Dr. Patrice Motsepe to the CAF plum post, the African football governing body is ringing changes to satisfy the demands and governance standards of the modern game.
However, it appears that what is coming out from the high offices of the game is a bitter pill to swallow for local clubs, some of which are touted to be the best in the land.
Connectedly, CAF has issued a circular to the effect that only coaches holding the CAF “A” education license will be permitted to sit on the technical dugout during the upcoming inter club competitions. This communication has been sent to all 54 CAF member associations in May 2021.
However, it seems local clubs have not been appraised on this development even though both Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United have shown desire to represent the country in the CAF competitions.
It comes to the fore now that the two clubs can successfully represent the country if they engage coaches with the pre-requisite qualifications which is now an insurmountable task due to the COVID-19 impact on club finances.
Both clubs have hired coaches who attended the ill-fated BFA conducted CAF “B” and “A” coaching courses which were held in Lobatse almost two years ago.
To date the coaches await the completion of the courses and certificates while CAF has made it clear that the courses were not sanctioned as they were held during the era that coaching licenses were suspended, a situation that BFA was well aware of and has since accepted the consequences.
The BFA is still at sixes and sevens on how to break the issue to the affected coaches as it is likely to cause a huge public embarrassment and backlash from the coaching fraternity.
“We all know about the problem, BFA is promising to come to the bottom of the matter as we continue to engage them,” says Botswana Football Coaches Association (BFCA) interim President, Daniel Nare.
CAF has also made it clear that this time there will be no waiver for coaches without the pre-requisite qualification because the Confederation has been too lenient in the past. During the last CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup, both Galaxy and Orapa United coaches were given a reprieve by CAF Technical Department as they did not even have the CAF “B” license.
When approached for clarity, the Spokesperson for Galaxy, Tankiso Morake said they are playing a waiting game when it comes to CAF issues especially that BFA is yet to reply to their letter. “Honestly, there is nothing concrete I can share because no one is certain about anything. We are waiting to be replied by the association so that we can finalize everything,” he said.
While United was not available for comment, it is clear that both clubs will need to hire coaches with the needed qualifications otherwise playing in this year’s edition of African football mirrors a tomorrow that may never come.
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.