Township Rollers Serbian coach Nikola Kavazovic has emerged as one of the most controversial and polarising figures in domestic football. The man, who has less than a year in Botswana, has already divided opinion across the local football landscape.
Clearly, Kavazovic is not afraid of controversy or confrontation, whether it’s against rival teams, his own players or the media. Kavazovic’s latest action has seen him divide Popa fans when he announced the suspension of popular goalkeeper Mwampule Masule. During a press conference following a CAF Champions league fixture against Egyptian club Al Ahly, Kavazovic dropped an unexpected bombshell and announced that he has taken measure against the bulky goalkeeper.
Kavazovic declared that he had cut Masule’s salary in half after the player went absent without leave. Furthermore, the Serbian continues to make inflammatory statements towards the media. This past weekend, Kavazovic spewed vile statements when addressing a press conference. The press conference saw Kavazovic’s confrontational nature overshadowing the game when he charged at ocal journalists accusing them of spreading lies about issues surrounding his team.
“I can never get used to questions from Botswana. What was your question?” Kavazovic said with a mischievous chuckle when he responded to questions surrounding the Masule debacle. While channelling his inner Jose Mourinho, the coach accused the media of peddling lies surrounding the issue, “I am glad you asked that question because there will be a lot of speculation about that. I know there will be a lot of speculation on that” Kavazovic went on to explain that he has since suspended the goal keeper and charged him 50 percent of his salary.
“He left the team a month ago and travelled to South Africa in an effort to find a team that he will join without permission,” Kavazovic charged. “Before you write any lies about my relationship with Lemponye Tshireletso…. let’s make it clear between Tshireletso and Masule’s.
Masule is a player under contract who left the team without permission. We were forced to chase him in South Africa because we did not have a goal keeper for the game in Alexandria, Egypt.” On the other hand, Kavazovic argued that Tshireletso, who recently went for trials in South Africa was a free agent and he had the team’s blessings. Commenting on the matter this week, the Vice President at the Botswana Football Coaches Association (BFACA), Enos Mmesi said Kavazovic’s rather severe disciplinary actions against Masule were acceptable.
Some coaches are given such powers. “As a coach, I can cut a player’s salary. This is because the coach is a key member of the team management.” Mmesi said so far, they do not have a problem with how the Serbian coach goes about his work. Previously, Kavazovic was recently involved in public spats with his assistant Mogomotsi Teenage Mpote who has since moved on to Orapa United. Kavazovic has previously made inflammatory statement against rival teams and accused the media of peddling lies about him on several occasions.l