Chiefs, Sithole at cross roads
Mochudi Centre Chiefs; Coach Mike Sithole
Mochudi Centre Chiefs and their award winning Coach Mike Sithole are reportedly stalling discussions involving contract extension. The contract does not expire until end of February and reports are contrasting regarding his stay at the defending champions’ side.
There is likelihood that the two parties might sign a new deal when the current campaign second round resumes, but others suggest that he might be let go.
Both parties are still tight lipped regarding the contract extension but it is said that there is a good opportunity for discussions, should the Zimbabwean mentor bring the Mascom top 8 title to Magosi for the first time.
The Zimbabwean born gaffer signed a two-year deal upon returning to the club for a second spell in June 2013 and, with Chiefs well-placed in the Mascom top semi final and still battling to defend the league this season, there is enough appetite to extend his stay beyond 2016. A one-year package is reportedly lined up for Sithole, with discussions on the cards once the second round begins.
Chiefs finished the 2014-15 seasons as champions after winning premier league title, but are now eight points behind log leaders and rivals Township Rollers with 15 more games to play.
It is said the door is still open for either party to voice their wishes but differences witnessed at board level are likely to stagger the negotiations. The most influential men leading the club, who also sit in the board, are also reported to be two poles apart regarding the way the team should be run, and this is likely to destabilise the camp.
There is possibility that Chiefs, currently third in the Premier League may not be able to defend the title and their top 8 triumph hangs in the balance , these have been mooted as potential obstacles to Sithole’ s contract extension. While that would have serious and or little implications for the club's attempts to balance the books where finances is sometimes an issue, sources close to the negotiations have suggested Sithole would actually not be discouraged from calling the shots during negotiations phase should the side fail to defend their league title and also not win the prestigious top 8 trophy.
Yet, having said to have let sleeping dogs lie, other obstacles still need to be cleared if his desire to return to a club where people appreciate change and let patience lead the way as he once stated after Gaborone United gave him the boot some few seasons ago. But principal among his concerns is the amount of power he would be permitted to wield at the stubborn Magosi side.
Mike Sithole remains one of the foreign coaches to have won the championship with different sides. His sterling performance is still remembered with Gaborone United. He was the lead coach when Township Rollers lifted their first Mascom top 8 cup.
Reached for more details, Chiefs’ Media Relations Officer, Clifford Mogomotsi said, “the future of Sithole is on the hands of the board and a clear decision will be taken when we meet next week.”
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The senior national team, the Zebras, is currently in Equatorial Guinea to for an African Cup of Nations Qualifiers tie. Before they departed, the team’s coach, Mogomotsi Mpote, had his troops train in Morocco. This was through the agreement between the two countries.
The agreement between the BFA and the Fédération Moroccan Football Association states that the two nations will work together to organize friendly matches between their respective national teams. It also allows the establishment of football camps for the youth categories (U-15, U-17, and U-20), this includes women’s national teams.
The national team has played over 180 minutes in its two qualifying matches against Tunisia and Libya. Currently, the Zebras, Lesotho and Liberia are the only teams that haven’t scored yet in the competition (this is correct by press time on Friday).
Before the match against Equatorial Guinea match, the local boys who were once known as the whipping boys of Africa in the early 2000s, were languishing at the bottom of the log standings in group J. They lost their first match away to Libya on June 1, 2022. However, they managed to salvage a point against Tunisia last year.
Before the team left for Equatorial Guinea, coach Mpote urged his players to focus on keeping their hopes of making a return trip to the AFCON finals alive after an 11 year absence since the maiden appearance in 2012. He noted that they would not allow their opponents to score and would ensure that they would get a draw.
Despite the various changes that have occurred in the two countries’ football landscape, the two teams have only met once before. In 2010, the local boys defeated the Equatorial Guinea team in a friendly match, which ended in an emphatic win for the visitors. Since then, the two sides have realised different fortunes in FIFA rankings, with Equatorial Guinea ranked 51 places above the Zebras.
Meanwhile, in their last six games, Guinea has only managed to win one of them. They drew with Rwanda and Togo in September 2022 friendlies. They have found the back of the net just twice in their six games. On the other hand, the Zebras, won one match against Zambia and lost four on their way to finishing at the bottom of the group with four points. At the conclusion of their previous AFCON campaign, the local boys traveled to Zambia and secured a draw.
Despite the recent results of the Guinean team, which have only managed to draw with Rwanda and Togo in their last six matches, coach Mpote is still confident that his team will perform well against the hosts.
According to the head coach, the local boys have the necessary skills and resources to perform well against any country. He noted that the team’s coaches have been studying abroad to gain a deeper understanding of the various aspects of football.
“Tactically they should also be ready. We need your (Botswana fans) usual support, when we come back from Equatorial Guinea, we will go to Francistown, and we will need you. You are our 12th player, and you are very important to us.”
OBED ITANI CHILUME STADIUM CERTIFIED
This week, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Tuelo Serufho revealed that the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium will host the return leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the local boys and Equatorial Guinea. The venue had initially failed an inspection test conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). However, following the completion of the necessary works, the stadium was allowed to host the match.
According to BNSC Chief, Tuelo Serufho, the various requirements that the stadium must meet included having a designated parking area for the media and spectators, as well as having signage that will guide the spectators. He also noted that the venue now has a world-class media area.
Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society
Township Rollers, one of the country’s most decorated football clubs with 15 premier league titles, is finding itself in a precarious situation as its long-term chief financier, Jagdish Shah, threatens to dump them if the society does not bow down to his demand of forfeiting their 20 percent interest in the company.
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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon
Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.
He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.
The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.