National Under 17 head coach Kagiso Kobedi temporarily lost his cool at a press event on Wednesday before his team left for the 10th Africa U-17 Championship in Morocco. Kobedi had previously vented his frustrations regarding changes made in his technical department claiming that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) had not consulted him when these decisions were made. “Preparations have not been spot on. We have lost the whole month of training,“ the coach told members of the press at Lekidi football centre in Gaborone. Kobedi said the promising development side qualified for the tournament, being the only Southern African team to do so, because of the high morale within the team.
A rather disgruntled Kobedi said things took a turn for the worst when the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) started to meddle in the technical department replacing welfare manager Razor Tsatsilebe with one Ramocha Tsieng. The team, according to Kobedi, lost crucial personnel like the psychologist and the physiotherapist. “This is the first time I see the final list of the technical team after it was changed. I do not know if this is a pull him down syndrome or what. It is nonsense.
If a car is moving properly why fix it?” Kobedi asked. The coach said the technical team was composed of 10 members but has been reduced to only seven members. “The physiologist and the psychiatrist played a major role in the team. I have not even seen the itinerary for the team but we are leaving today,” he said. Kobedi said he tried to consult the BFA president Tebogo Sebego about the crisis. “There are only three of us with coaching experience going into such a big tournament, before the technical team was dismantled we spoke the same language,” he argued. The coach vowed however that his team would fight with everything they had during the tournament despite challenges.
Speaking at the same press conference, the BFA Technical Director Sonnyboy Sethibe said he learnt of the changes in the technical team when decisions had already been taken. “I cannot provide any light on this,” he said. However, Sethibe added that Tsatsilebe who was dropped from the technical team, did well in some preparatory games when Kobedi was not available. He explained that a majority of people in the technical team needed to have coaching experience. The BFA president Tebogo Sebego who arrived late at the press conference did not seem alarmed by the situation. A rather composed Sebego said they had not changed the head coach, assistant coach or goalkeeper coach. “If we make changes in these positions then we will speak to the head coach,” he said. Sebego explained that the NEC had powers to make such changes.
The BFA boss said they had only made changes in the position of welfare manager. “We do not regret this and I am unapologetic about it,” he said. Regarding the position of psychologist and physiotherapist, Sebego said they were still in talks with the Botswana National Sports Council to see if these positions can be filled funds permitting. The African Under 17 Championship starts on 13th April 2013 with Botswana taking on Tunisia in Casablanca. The Diamond Zebras as the Under 17 National team is affectionately known will play Morocco on 16th April and lock horns with Gabon on 19th April.