It will be a long time before the Mochudi Centre Chiefs football club and national team coach Peter James Butler smoke the peace pipe. Efforts to mend the two parties’ broken relationship continue to hit the brick wall as they carry on sabotaging each other, but at the expense of national duty.
The conflict between the two emanated from the utterances by the Briton earlier this year when he remarked that Township Rollers’ Segolame “Smah’ Boy was the deserving player of the season, and not Chiefs midfielder Lesego “Lesh” Galenamotlhale. The remarks did not go down well with Chiefs officials who in protest decided not to release any of their players to the national team camp since it was clear that Butler had undermined their team.
Chiefs, to date vow not to release any of their players for national duty as they hold that the 46 year old Butler has never called any of their players to camp, even if they performed exceptionally. Chiefs’ management understood that by his action, and snubbing their players, the coach had something against the defending champions.
The Botswana Football Association, upon noticing the stand-off, devised a strategy to mediate the two parties in a closed door meeting. However, the meeting has since proved futile as the two sides are still fighting bitterly with egos at the thick of things.
WeekendSport has it on good authority that the two parties met sometime last month where they engaged each other verbally but no formal writing was done as a way to forgive and forget. However, Chiefs’ officials have made it clear that they want a formal written apology from either Butler or his employers, BFA if they are to bury the hatchet.
According to one of the Chiefs representatives at the meeting, Clifford Mogomotsi they have informed the board members of their team about the outcomes of the meeting. “We managed to meet and we have brought the upshot of the meeting before our board and they are still evaluating it,” the Chiefs PRO said.
“For now we won’t release any of our players for the national team because like I said, the board is still deliberating on the outcomes of the meeting so we are only awaiting their appraisal.”
With the Butler-Chiefs debacle playing on, some maybe compelled to wonder if Lemponye “FC” Tshireletso was really injured when he was called to the camp or it was just a gimmick from Chiefs pending their resolution. Mogomotsi declined to comment on the issue. BFA CEO Kitso Kemoen said, “as far as I know the issue has been put to bed as the coach called three players unfortunately they were injured so I am not aware of any issue of sabotage from any party.”
The three players that were called to the camp were Galenamotlhale, Tshireletso as well as the striker Kekaetswe “Mara” Moloi.
Football lovers have derived from the Galabgwe Moyana situation that Butler might have had scores to settle with Chiefs. Moyana, who now plays for Township Rollers, was called to camp after playing for less than 270 minutes at his new home. While at Centre Chiefs last season, Butler overlooked him despite the left-footed winger enjoying regular game time.
“This is not the right thing; firstly it divides the nation, denies the players opportunity to play for the national team and puts the current team under pressure as the players don’t know what the coach might say about them in the future. So the situation must be rectified,” advised RB1 sports presenter Tiro “The Legend” Lepotokisi. “We need experienced players like Tshireletso and Moloi who have been with the Under 23 squad, so both parties must dialogue for the better of our country.”
Another sports journalist Thabo “The brand” Osekeng said “Chiefs is right to demand an apology and they should defend their players. Both parties should swallow their pride because the nation is at stake.”
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.
Township Rollers is anticipated to spent around P 50 000 to expatriate their foreign based players amid ravaging corona virus threats. The club, in collaboration with the Football Union of Botswana (FUB) tested Francis Afriyie, Fabian Assagou Guy and Kamogelo Matsabu before they can head to their native countries.
The trio are awaiting the results which are all expected to come out negative, following which they will immediately board planes to their various destinations. Afriyie was a Rollers striker from Ghana.
Matsabu, regarded the darling of the club is heading back to South Africa while Guy signed by the club but has never impressed, will board a plane back to Ivory Coast.It is likely that both Matsabu and Guy will return as they are still contracted to Rollers. However, Afriyie will not return after failing Rollers litmus test.
The striker failed to break into the starting 11 of head coach Frank Nuttall for the season and it appeared that frustration got to him. And when it finally knocked him down, the striker in a rough and unexpected remonstration stormed out of the bench while a Rollers game was on.
The former Gho Maria striker penned a two year deal in January and it is rumoured that his contract was heavily incentivized, catapulting him to being one of the highest paid players at Rollers.His end of season departure will now put a serious question mark over Rollers’ recruitment policy.
He becomes the fourth foreign striker to fail the club examinations and released while on contract. Before him was, Mthokosize Msomi from South Africa, Terrence Mandawa from Tanzania and Fabian Mbowa from Ivory Coast. Msomi and Mandawa’s release were sanctioned by former coach Nikola Kavazovic. Mbowa is loaned to Police XI to create space and playing opportunity for the now departing Afriyie.
Releasing Afriyie will now mean that the club’s striking woes continue. Rollers management complained at times last season at the lack of productivity from their strikers but they hoped that striker Tumisang Orebonye and other targeted signings, aided perhaps by Edwin Moalosi who remains on the books, could fire an upturn.
However, it was never meant to be as they finished the season second behind league winners, Jwaneng Galaxy.
Black Leopards head coach, Joel Masutha, is reported to have orchestrated a move that could see mid fielder-cum-striker, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele, being dropped by Leopards.
WeekendSport has learnt that the coach summoned the Zebras former captain to a one-on-one meeting a month ago to relay the bad news. It is reported that Masutha told the player that he is surplus to requirement and therefore he will not be selected for any game unless he opts to leave.
Reports further state that Tsotso was not encouraged to fight for his position but instead was told that there are better players to be tasked with scoring responsibilities and helping the club to dodge the dreaded relegation axe.Ngele therefore is waiting for his contract to expire before plotting his next move. He is said to be torn between playing for one more year in South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.
The Rollers decision will once again hinge on his private business which he would love to monitor closely. He owns a sports clothing label where he already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold. He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm.
He played in crucial matches and his stunning free kick against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.It is said Ngele’s future at Thohoyandou- a location where Black Leopards is based- encountered problems of many kinds. His future is believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.
The player is also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury. Ngele had signed a two year deal, but as things stand, the left footed midfielder is heading out as his contract staggers to an end. He is believed to be earning close to R80 000 after tax deductions.
The lifestyle and living conditions at Thohoyandou are also seen as factors that further complicate Ngele’s situation hence the sudden collapse of concentration in football.Ngele is said to be represented by Tim Sukazi who still hopes that the player’s breakthrough career is worth fighting for.
When signed by high spending Mamelodi Sundowns almost 5 years ago, he was represented by Mike Makaab, also a renowned football agent in South Africa.It is growing precarious for Ngele who was chained for longer spells at Sundowns.
But when a move to Leopards was announced, there was a high expectation that the player was nearing his revolutionary season.