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Sankoyo coach in shock resignation

Harassed Maun based premier league rookies, Sankoyo Bush Bucks are reeling from internal shock, as head coach, Philani Mabhena ditched them for suspected greener pastures.

The team has been recently surrounded with much controversy, owing to their relegation chronicles. The premier league board had declared them relegated, but the Botswana Football Federation overturned that decision earlier this month.

Mabhena tendered his resignation, effective immediately just when things were starting to normalize at the club. The club management has further revealed fears that the players too could follow the coach, in pursuit of greener pastures.

“Our head coach has made it known to us that he is leaving before the season ended.  Even if we could, we cannot stop him from doing what’s best for him.  We also noticed during the second round of the league that we might lose some of our players when the transfer window opens,” revealed the Club’s Manager Odirile Sibanda in an interview with Weekend Sports.

Bush Bucks management failed to secure a financial sponsor and struggled throughout the league to maintain and manage the club financially. Although Sibanda could not deny reports that Mabhena and his players sometimes would go for a month or two without being paid, he refuted claims that the resignation of the coach was as a result of failed or late payments.


According to Sibanda, the coach seemed “understanding” whenever there were late payments because they would discuss the situation with him.

However, WeekendSport has learnt that there had been a sour working relationship between the head coach and the management of the team in relation to issues of management. In an interview with this publication earlier this year, Mabhena had expressed displeasure regarding the management’s failure to play its role well. He had argued that this automatically affected the morale of his players. The Club Manager had at that time contradicted Mabhena, saying he “despised the team management”.  

Nonetheless, Sibanda said that management had a good working relationship with the coach, though to some degree they did not agree on some management issues. “Mabhena was not behaving like a head coach should. He had the mentality to undermine management decisions despite the fact that we were his employers,” revealed Sibanda.

Media reports have indicated that Mabhena was some time in February given a warning letter regarding his conduct. Failure to solve the disputes between the two saw him (Mabhena) being suspended from his duties two weeks ago.


Following his suspension, Mabhena was then summoned for a disciplinary hearing by the club committee in the course to address tension between the two parties. However at the hearing Mabhena according to Sibanda refused to seat or hear from the committee. Instead he caught them by surprise and produced his resignation letter leaving the committee in wonder.

Efforts to reach Mabhena hit a snag as he is reported to have gone back home to Zimbabwe. Efforts to get a copy of his resignation letter were also futile.

Sibanda could not divulge much information about Mabhena’s reasons for resigning. He however said that Mabhena had disclosed that he was unhappy with the club management.

Mabhena signed into a two year contract with Sankoyo Bush Bucks when they finally made it to the premier league from first division last year. His contract with Ngurungu mandated him to make sure that the new premier league entrants survived relegating back to first division league. His other bonus mandate was to take the team to Top 8, which he failed to achieve.

Sibanda explained that the team was pleased with his technical performance and they had intentions to propose for another one year extension of the contract.

“We are very delighted that he had managed to save us from relegation and with these we thought there was a future with him. We are really saddened by his departure as it was not according to our wish.”  

The club expressed that they were willing to take Mabhena back should he withdraw his decision to resign. Sibanda added that issues of the working relationship could be solved.

Meanwhile the club has confirmed their intention to appoint Assistant Coach Gadimang Tiiso to the head coach position.  Sibanda explained that they are on the process to acquire required qualifications by BFA for Tiiso which has only been a block in his coaching career.

Tiiso is the man who upgraded Bush Bucks from first division to premier league but could not continue with the team as its head coach due to him not having proper qualifications as required by BFA.

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