Mochudi Center Chiefs have fired controversial Keitumetse Pio Paul who was appointed as assistant to coach Mike Sithole, WeekendSport was this week tipped off of the clandestine decision.
This publication has learnt that, it is the third week running since the former Extension Gunners mentor parted ways with the defending champions. Paul was appointed assistant coach at the trouble-torn side in November of 2015.
Notwithstanding, speculation was rife at the close of last year that high ranking members at the club, who were Pio sympathizers were crafting a plan to elevate Pio to Sithole’s position. Sithole was at a precarious position last year, owing to pressure amid fears of losing the Top 8 Tourney. Sithole‘s then assistant Jaheed Salal was removed without consultation. Sources at Chiefs say the idea hit the buffers the moment management realized that the young energetic coach had a number of reported fall-outs with some influential players.
Information gleaned from various inside sources indicate that captain Pontsho Moloi, veteran player Michael Mogaladi and newly recruited Jackie Motlhatlego were irked by Paul’s appointment.
To save his job, coach Sithole allegedly had to ensure Paul’s stint at the Kgatleng side was short-lived. The coach reportedly complained bitterly of sabotage. When reached for clarity this week, the head coach flatly refused to comment and directed the enquiry to team media liason Clifford Mogomotsi.
“I cannot say anything; ask Clifford Mogomotsi,’’ he said before cutting the call.
Mogomotsi himself could not deny nor confirm the sacking of Paul only saying, “ I cannot say anything about Pio Paul let alone about what the coach said.’’
Mogomotsi himself, together with Chiefs big tank, Raymond Tsheko allegedly spearheaded Paul’s sacking.
Pio Paul could not comment on the matter saying all questions be answered by Center Chiefs. ‘ I cannot say anything, go and ask those who employed me, they are better placed to speak, much as they did when hiring me.’’
Meanwhile, those close to him however say that the youthful coach is recovering from medical issues that crippled his health a few months back.
Lady luck has eluded the youthful coach since he was fired from the national squad where he was deputizing Briton Butler. After the much publicised fallout with Butler, Paul had another short stint at Extension Gunners where he was bitterly sacked after another of his public stunts.
Paul has always been one to publicly lash out at colleagues or players, as he did at the Lobatse side before they showed him the door. He has also taken to national television his grievances while under BFA payroll as Butler’s second in command.
After a short spell in the sidelines, Mochudi Center Chiefs would cajole him to their camp, but his journey has once more been cut short. In the meantime, sources say Sithole recently confided to some Chiefs’ officials that since Paul’s departure, he is now directing the team to its winning ways.
Center Chiefs is perched on the third spot trailing league leaders Township Rollers by 5 points and just 3 points behind league dark horses, Orapa United.
The Manchester United defender will now focus on his club career having made 93 caps for France, appearing at three world cups and on European championship. The Les Bleus won the World cup in 2018 and Raphael Varane started all but one of France’s matches in Qatar as they finished as runners up to Argentina
With many being of the view that the state of football in Botswana has deteriorated significantly as it is no longer appealing to the business community, this was a good week for the football community. The Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership under the stewardship of MacLean Letshwiti secured sponsorship for a combined value of P19. 3 million for the FA Cup competition and the First Division league – both South and North.