The unceremonious dismissal of senior national team Assistant Coach Pio Paulthis week has exposed the BFA’s double standards on issues of conduct. It is public knowledge that Peter Butler has furiously attacked BFA over a number of issues he was unhappy with but has escaped unhurt, if anything his concerns were swiftly attended to.
It became crystal clear this week that Butler is the association’s blue eyed boy after BFA gave him the go ahead to use Under-23 players in the ongoing COSAFA Cup, an inferior tournament when compared to the Olympic Qualifiers that Paul was tasked with at Under 23. Paul desperately needed the eight players for yesterday’s (Friday) All Africa Games and Olympic qualifier encounter against Zambia.
Paul who has been impressive since taking over the reign as the Under-23 mentor had registered his complaint with the association regarding the inclusion of Under-23 players to the senior national team, but his plea fell on deaf ears as Butler got his way, with the backing of BFA president Tebogo Sebego.
The 42 year-old former Township Rollers forward Paul, was shown the door on Wednesday, after expressing his displeasure over the selection of players to the national team at the expense of the Under-23 team. The BFA president stated in a statement that the decision was reached based “purely in the interest of protecting the integrity and image of the association.’’
What is startling however is the fact that the senior national team coach Butler is known for his public ranting through his twitter page. Buttler has taken to social media many of his past disgruntlements with the association but the association has never summoned him for a disciplinary hearing, while Paul was given a boot on his first ‘offence’, for committing a similar crime.
President of the association Tebogo Sebego has been accused of fuelling discrimination at Lekidi. Paul’s downfall follows his siding with the Briton mentor. Before making the public remarks, Paul alerted Sebego of the impasse over the players selection, but Sebego issued an instruction which gave Butler lee way to take all the players he needed at the expense of the under 23 team. One of Butler’s deliverables include at least reaching the semi-finals of COSAFA cup.
Paul’s remarks that led to his sacking include expression he made on BTV on Tuesday and on Duma FM on the following day that “people are un-tuning my team ahead of important games after I tuned it.’’
The players who were at the centre of contention are Omaatla Kebaatho, Kabelo Seakanyeng, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Mpho Kgaswane, Lebogang Ditsele, Tapiwa Gadibolae, Onkabetse Makgantai as well as the defender Kaone Van Der Westhuizen. All players have all travelled with the senior team for the COSAFA tournament in South-Africa.
The former BMC coach, Paul, decried that losing the players for a friendly game was unfair since it was at the expense of an important fixture like the All Africa Games qualifiers which is a conduit for qualification of Olympic Games.
Paul’s dismissal comes at a time when he was preparing for a crucial encounter against Zambia for the All Africa Games qualification to be held in Senegal next year. The Olympics will be hosted in Rio the same year. In the absence of the eight players it has been projected that it is end of the road for the promising team.
The Under 23 team started their campaign with Kenya, in which all the eight players featured. Kebaatho, the Sankoyo Bush Bucks goals poacher scored the three of the four goals in an encounter played over two legs.
There is contention from football pundits on whether he desperately needed all the eight players that he snatched from under-23 as some are likely to warm the bench the entire tournament. “The timing for the dismissal was wrong because it was just two days before a match, and it’s even unlikely that all 8 players will all play tomorrow (Sunday),” said Leatile Mmutle, a Duma FM football host.
The dismal of Paul means the association’s grand-plan to ensure cohesion by automatically appointing the under 23 coach assistant of the senior team, has died prematurely. This now leaves Coach Butler also in jeopardy over his mandate that includes reaching COSAFA semi-finals, qualifying for Chan as well as doing well in the 2017 AFCON qualifiers.
Tshosane rejects Butler’s call With the Briton coach under immense pressure to prove himself to his bosses at Lekidi, WeekendSport has uncovered that Butler made desperate attempts to engage former national team coach Stanley Tshosane.
Informants have revealed to this paper that Butler has recently sought advice from the now Mogoditshane Fighters coach on how the team can reach maximum performance. However it is understood that Tshosane has rejected Butler on the account that he should have engaged him earlier following his appointment as the new national team coach.
Amid the confusion surrounding the date of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, met with three presidential candidates on Thursday morning to discuss a plethora of problems bedevilling the domestic game.
The candidates are Maclean Letshwiti, the current President, Tebogo Sebego, the firm challenger of the BFA throne, together with Ookeditse Malesu who enters the race for the first time in his sporting career. There were other two unnamed officials who are said to be representatives from the sport ministry.
The Sport minister is said to have adopted a hard-nosed approach to register his disappointment and worry that the uncertainty of the upcoming elections have injured the administration of the local game.
Highly placed sources at the Sport ministry say that the minister’s ‘no gloves barred’ approach comes at the behest of the BFA’s constant negative headlines regarding their leadership style as of going into the elections.
It is said that Rakgare was also worried that the current administration is keeping the other two camps in the dark regarding the planning and processes bordering on election issues. This, he said has led to unnecessary speculations and back biting that is not needed to lift the game at a time when it is on its knees.
He was to rattle a few feathers at one incident when he called all the three leaders of the game to put their houses in order. As if that was not enough, the minister called on the three lobby groups to desist from serving personal interests but put focus on developing the game.
Interestingly, sources point out that the minister was livid but urged both Letshwiti and Sebego groups to refrain from tarnishing the good image of the ministry. This, he said in response to wide ranging allegations that he is taking sides as campaigns are ongoing.
The Sebego group accuses him of de campaigning Sebego and having a soft spot for Team Letshwiti while the same Letshwiti group is saying the same thing about the minister as having taking curious interest in Sebego camp.
The minister is alleged to have told the leaders that if they do not change their leadership style of protecting those looting public funds, his ministry would intervene even if it means attracting the wrath of FIFA, which is known for its notorious sanctions when countries do not toe the line. He urges BFA to be accountable at all the times they will cut the annual subventions that goes to them, sources claim.
This is not for the first time that the BFA was lectured on good governance. At one incident in 2015, former Minster of Sport Thapelo Olopeng dressed down the then Tebogo Sebego leadership regarding good governance.
BFA was at the time closely monitored by the ministry. Instead of the usual transactions that normally go through BFA, national team players received their allowances straight from government in the form of cheques. To demonstrate that government has taken a firm stand against BFA, players’ allowances were no longer routed through the association.
Nobody from the said meeting will address this publication enquiry all indicating that the consultation is never meant for public consumption.
If everything goes according to plan, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual general assembly next month through a virtual conference.
There has been much uncertainty as to how and when the congress will be held seeing as how COVID-19 protocols remain stringent on gatherings.
Sources speaking with this publication say the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association has agreed to hold the congress within COVID-19 zones, consequently dispelling all the lingering doubts surrounding the life and soul of the assembly.
As it stands, there are nine COVID -19 zones in Botswana. The association is therefore contemplating to rely within four zones where live streaming will take centre stage for the first time in the history of BFA elections.
The congress was first billed for August 8th but was postponed to August 22nd. However, the second date could not see the light of the day as the country recorded a second rise of coronavirus cases that promptly led to greater Gaborone going into yet another lockdown.
The association has been procrastinating over the virtual congress idea with the election agenda remaining a sticky issue. Many advices came flooding that the association is free to make any decision about the congress but should be very careful not to compromise the integrity of the vote.
Sources indicate to this paper that the association is likely to rely on four COVID-19 zones, namely Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Palapye. The need to plant the meeting on virtual technologies hinges on the fact that the COVID -19 health protocols do not permit people to cross zones to hold meetings.
Information gleaned from various sources is that the association is looking to rely on four zones primarily because of the limited number of personnel under the electoral board. There are five members consisting of this committee and by the look of things; the association will not be allowed to outsource more election overseers at the eleventh hour. Sources argue that the whole cautious exercise is meant to avoid complaints that may arise after elections are held.
The virtual meeting comes after many failed attempts by the association to convince the Kereng Masupu led Task Force to give out a special dispensation. On many occasions, the Task Force refused to allow for the assembly to go on saying “football is not a priority.”
The assembly is expected to be held next month but the exact date still remains a subject of speculation. In the end, Tebogo Sebego will stand again for the second time to unseat Maclean Letshwiti while Ookeditse Malesu is standing for the first time to try and wrestle for BFA power.
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.