The BTC Premiership is off to a great start albeit teams are still struggling to knit strings of consecutive wins. But the greatest debate, which has now become precarious, is that the league is dominated by foreign coaches as compared to indigenous gaffers.
The problem is more pronounced in the Top 8 tournament (2015/2016 season log) which was launched this week, and kicks off next month. Only three teams in the top 8 are mentored by locals. David Bright remains the only local to out master the foreign gaffers when his star was still bright at Gaborone United.
British born Mark Harrison; Zimbabwean, Mike Sithole; another Zimbabwean, Madinda Ndlovu; and Argentinean, Rudolph Zapata, are in charge of the first four teams in the league. It is not a new trend but the number of local coaches is now at its lowest since the inception of the league in 1978.
In the Top 8 competition, that begins next month, none of the fixtures will pit teams coached by locals against each other.
BDF XI, nicknamed Matebele, appointed former player, Louis Setshwane as coach early this year – a decision that some pundits say relayed a positive message.
“We thought that Setshwane, having studied and helped previous coaches including Beston Chambesi was the right candidate,’’ BDF XI said through a press release.
Police XI has stuck to locals for a while: “Police XI followers have been calling for a local coach. It was a great opportunity for Letlaamoreng to take up the reins. He is bright and has a good insight about our football. He has done well so far after a difficult start, he is settled and can only get better,” said club chairman, Solomon Mantswe at the time Police XI coach, Maitumelo Junior Letlaamoreng was appointed.
A top 8 fixture that would have featured all-local coaches would have been Mochudi Centre Chiefs Versus Jwaneng Galaxy had the duo promoted their assistant coaches to senior positions when the slots became vacant at the end of last season. As it is, on the top 8 bracket, Madinda Ndlovu of Orapa United will once again battle with Russia Chaba of Miscellaneous. Chaba has masterminded his team’s qualification to the prestigious tournament for the first time since its promotion to the elite league.
In recent history, no local coach has won the premiership title, but the Mascom top 8 tournament has been won by a local born coach, Major David Bright with Gaborone United. He was later sacked after failing dismally in the CAF Confederation stages after been booted out by Super Sport United of South Africa.
Matshidiso Kowa, a former football administrator at BFA – also an inductee in the sports hall of fame – says the lack of faith in home-grown coaches has to change if the country’s football is to progress.
“I think we as clubs have to have more belief in our local coaches,” he said.
“Train them well and then have patience when we give them the hard task of coaching their national clubs, because the coach will know the players, the culture and it can be an advantage. It is hard work, though.”
“Coaches like Bright, Stanley Tshosane, Chico Nare can do very well, even if it is tricky at some point,’’ he said.
Next week, Chaba, Letlaamoreng and Setshwane will be battling to replicate Bright’s success in the top 8 cup. However, they also have a high mountain to climb to end a long mediocre record of the elite league. The top 4 sides that have won cups and tournaments have all done so with foreign coaches. GU, the 2009 league Championship under Mike Sithole is yet to manage a notable success under a local coach and have even sacked a local coach to bring in a foreign one. Both Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs have won league titles inter changeably in the last 5 seasons with foreign coaches. Chico Nare formerly with BMC FC once took the side to top 4 finish and deservingly won coach of the season award. It was a glimmer of hope to local coaches.
However, local coaches are still hoping to alter the status quo but more often than not, are seen to be fighting relegation quagmire at the end of every season.
The Botswana national boxing team recently returned from the zone 4 championship held in Mozambique. The team was led by head coach Thebe Setlalekgosi, two assistant coaches, Gibson Rauwe and Pearl Mooketsi. Two referees and judges, Gaseitsewe Ponatshego and Linda Mooketsi.
In the women’s category, Lethabo Modukanele was representing Botswana in the 48 kg division, while Phekie Bele and Sadie Kenosi were competing in the 57 kg and 60 kg categories, respectively. In the men’s category, Kobamelo Molatlhegi was representing the country in the 52 kg division, while Rajab Mahomed was competing in the under 51 kg category.George Molwantwa was competing for under 57 kg category and Treasure Moremi was competing for under 60kg category.
The boxers came home with seven medals, Modukanele came home with a gold medal, Kenosi, Rajab, Molatlhegi all came home with silver medals. While Moremi, Molwantwa and Phekie Bele all came home with bronze medals.
According to Moitshepi Nkabiti, the public relations officer of the Botswana Boxing Association, the team performed well and that they were hoping that Rajab would also bring home a gold medal. However, due to an eye injury, he could not participate in the finals.
He stated that, “though some people might think that how our team performed is not an achievement it is a big achievement to us. Other countries came with 19 boxers while we only came with our seven boxers, and they all came back with medals. That is something that we have to be proud of I really commend them for their performance. Having 5 players making it to the finals is really a blessing and we should not take it for granted.”
According to Nkabiti, Botswana was ranked fourth in the zone 4 championship, which was held in Mozambique. Other countries that participated in the tournament included South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini, and Seychelles. They all had a total of 19 boxers. Lesotho also had eight boxers.
The first Mascom Charity Cup spectacular has come and gone. The football event played at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium saw four football clubs playing one-day tourney with various charity centres being beneficiaries of the gate takings.
While the attendance was not at the expected level, it is said that the sponsor has made a killing with close to P500 000 made from voting lines. Football followers were asked to vote for teams of their choice, and top four clubs were eligible to play. A single sms voting line cost P 1.50.
Gaborone United became the most voted team with 62 984 votes followed by Security Systems with 51 027. On the third spot was BDF XI with 48 596 votes while Orapa United came forth with 44 401. Shockingly, Township Rollers did not make it after gathering a total of 30 637 votes, with BR Highlanders ahead of them having seen 44 204 votes to their name.
It is said, however that, the initiative live to expectation as clubs together with the sponsor have managed to assist charities of their choices. Mascom is believed to be happy for identifying beneficiaries and getting value for their money.
The mobile network company is still the longest standing partners of local football, having first tasted waters in 2005. The company now powers the Top 8 competition and said to have renewed the dame sponsorship at a value not exceeding 18 million. The Mascom Charity Cup was not the first to be hosted by a mobile network company.
In 2018, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) hosted a similar event in which followers had to vote. The four participating teams were Mochudi Center Chiefs, Gaborone United, Orapa United and Township Rollers. GU were the eventual winners.
It is however not clear if the tournament will continue in the next football calendar, but what goes down into the history books is that Teenage Mpote and Orapa United were the first to win it. In previous years, there have been an off season tournament whose aim was meant for charity purposes. The tourney was called Kabelano Charity Cup and was usually played by four big teams (Rollers, Notwane, GU and Chiefs) without taking the voting routes. It was last hosted in 2015 and had Barclays as the sponsors.
Yet another thrilling showdown is expected between the country’s hottest strikers, Thabang Sesinyi of Jwaneng Galaxy and Thataoyaone Kgamanyane of Gaborone United, as the duo are eyeing for the 2021/2022 Golden boot.
With only four Botswana Premier League (BPL) games left, the race for the honours is rolling towards a thrilling climax, but for two individuals there is a race for an accolade of their own taking place that could easily go down to the final minutes of the season. Leading the pack with 19 goals is Jwaneng Galaxy talisman, Sesinyi who is one goal apart from Kgamanyane who has netted 18 goals thus far.
Both players have their eye on the golden boot, hoping that their respective teams have fixtures to put them in with a realistic chance of catching up, or leaving the other behind. The Money Machine is currently at the summit of the BPL log with 61 points while the mining giant, Galaxy are trailing on the third place with 49 points, having played 24 games thus far.
Both teams (GU and Galaxy) are expected to face each other towards the end of the season, as the initial fixture was postponed due to Galaxy’s involvement in CAF championship group stages. With 19 goals chalked up for the season so far, Sesinyi is just one goal away from Kgamanyane who led the race for the better part of the campaign. Sesinyi who is on freakish scoring form has scored four goals in his last two games; a hat trick against Prisons XI and a goal against Sua Flamingoes in the midweek fixture.
But there is no doubt that Sesinyi is no longer playing to carry his team, Galaxy, as realistically there is a slim chance for them to clinch the 2021/2022 season, but he is eyeing the Golden Boot Award when the league falls off.
Kgamanyane has begun the season in tremendous form; scoring every time he is given a chance, while Sesinyi, on the other hand, reached the peak of his form in the second round of the season; scoring both in the domestic league and also on the CAF Champions’ league group stage. He featured on team of the week on February.
Furthermore, the Money Machine attacker showed some growth as his conversion rate has been on a rising graph in the games he has so far played. Although Kgamanyane’s goal scoring prowess has been there for everyone to see, the player has been hampered by injuries. It promises to be a fascinating battle between the duo.
Meanwhile, BPL this week announced that they will hold the 2021/2022 awards. The league has since added seven new categories to take the total number of categories to 16. Among some new categories are the Defender of the Season and Midfielder of the Season awards. There are also two more awards for the administrators, as the league has included Team Manager of the Season and the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Season awards.
The best performing players in this campaign will be included in the Premier League Best XI. Nevertheless, match day officials have also been recognised with the introduction of two more categories in the young Referee of the Season and the Female Referee of the Season. Furthermore, BFL CEO Solomon Ramochotlhwane indicated that the awards will be held on the 25 June 2022, just after the 2021-2022 season comes to an end.