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BFA bends rules for GU

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively”, and “Rules are meant to be broken”, are two common English phrases on rules that have found gravity at Botswana Football Association (BFA) hence football laws and regulations are on ‘accelerated free fall’.

In a bold move dividing football opinion, Botswana Football Association (BFA) has agreed to loosen screws in a case pitting Gaborone United (GU) against club licensing requirements. Gaborone United, over the past few months, has found it difficult to appoint a lasting coach but have settled for Pontsho Moloi, who according to laid down requirements, does not qualify to be the head coach of an elite club. The association said it gave United’s case an exception because the club is still in a contract dispute with Coach Philemon Makhwengwe.

Moloi holds a B license coaching qualification and therefore enables him to sit in the GU technical dugout only as an assistant coach.  Critics however state that GU is being favoured because its investor, Nikholas Zakhem, is a close confidant of the BFA leadership. The club licensing requirements also stipulate that a team shall be coached by a gaffer holding an A club licensing qualification. The failure by any team may result in point deduction or stern action that may include relegation.

BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo was quoted as saying; “we have given the club an extension until the dispute with a substantive is resolved.” GU is playing a sympathy card more especially after failing to part ways with Makhwengwe. The team is said to have asked for patience and leeway because hiring a new coach at the present moment will betray a business decision.  They say it is unthinkable especially that Makhwengwe is still within their books and receives full payment.

Makhwengwe was hauled before a disciplinary hearing by an independent committee. He was not found guilty after the club itself accused him of failing to protect the good name of the institution. While the local gaffer cannot sack himself, it meant that relations were weakened. It is why the team opted to relegate him to youth coaching until his contract expires in May. “GU is the best friend of the association, it is not surprising that they are allowed to run with unqualified coach, if it was us, it could have been something else,” one club official said.

It is an open secret, however, that GU will no longer want to work with him again after he was called in to replace Nikola Kavazovic. GU, this season alone, has struggled to keep a lasting coach having initially lost veteran gaffer, Madinda Ndlovu who suffered from a stroke and related heart conditions. The club then hired former Rollers coach, Nikola Kavazovic to help fire an upturn. No sooner had he started winning games than pressure began to mount him. He was sacked and Makhwengwe replaced him.

However, GU are said to be in advanced discussions to let Makhwengwe go when the season ends.  But Makhwengwe on the other hand was said to be contemplating taking his job seriously still, with the club yet to issue any official statement regarding his demotion and subsequent sacking.

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