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Mpote for Zebras job

Mpote

Former Senior National Team interim coach, Teenage Mpote is set to return to the national team fold on full-time basis, as The Zebras starts preparations for AFCON 2023 preliminary qualifications.

The Zebras hot seat has remained vacant for over a year now since the fall of controversial Serbian-born coach, Adel Amrouche. Insiders reveal that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) top brass is preparing to make a move on Mpote. Mpote is currently the coach of top flight football side, Orapa United who are reportedly restless amid the ongoing speculation.

WeekendSport has further established that, either by hook or crook, the Mac Lean Letshwiti- led is committed to giving a local the nod as successor to Amrouche. 

This will be for the second time Mpote is approached to help govern a situation that threatens to turn sour. In 2017, the association employed him on temporary basis but impressed after leading The Zebras to the finals of COSAFA Cup.

While the association is steadfast on its insistency that nobody has been considered as replacement for Amrouche on a permanent basis, can exclusively reveal that the BFA will not call for expression of interest for the vacancy, with Mpote favoured to be handed the job. 

Mpote, who is currently contracted to Orapa United is seen as the kind and mould of a coach that the BFA needs, especially following months of no action for the senior team. The squad will certainly be rusty and will need a local coach to make it function. 

A key consideration at the BFA is a possible public or media backlash when it finally approaches the former Township Rollers coach particularly that it is not clear if he has buried the hatchet with the association owing to past hardships, and the fact the former coach, Amrouche, is furious about the manner in which his case was handled. 

But in whatever way, the local football body is ready and prepared for hostile response from some quarters.  In the last edition of the COSAFA Cup, BFA partnered Chico Nare with Rasta Kgwengwenyane and results were somehow satisfying.

While many still admire Stanley Tshosane, the BFA appears unmoved in bid to give the job to Mpote. Tshosane, who led Zebras to its maiden participation in AFCON in 2012, has not coached any team after being fired by BFA in 2013.  

The football regime is said to be willing to approach and agree possible terms with Mpote as soon as possible to start assembling and drilling a national squad. Locally, Mpote does not need introduction.  He has won major trophies with Rollers and Orapa United. Mpote’s success during his stint in his first spell has earned with backers who believe that he deserves the opportunity. 

In terms of prize affordability, the association feels Mpote is the right man. The outgoing coach was earning close to P250 000 per month. However, some have misgivings about Mpote’s bargain because of his current standing commitment with United. For the association to remain steadfast on him, they have to assure him of a permanent deal, and not as a stop- gap. 

Certainly, Mpote fits the mould of what the BFA would want from the head coach and will easily accept another significant involvement at Lekidi Football Centre. He is also highly regarded as one of the best local bred coach, although he may not be the kind of high-profile appointment that would be expected. Although selecting a Motswana would mean a lower salary than any other foreign coach, the BFA will battle to defend that finances have not played a part in their consideration for Mpote. 

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