The senior national team head coach Stanley Tshosane is a man under tremendous pressure this weekend. Or maybe not! His superiors at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) have demanded in writing that he reaches the finals of the African Nations Championships (CHAN) or face the axe. Now he begins that quest to ultimately reach those finals this Saturday when his side faces newly-crowned COSAFA Cup champions, Chipolopolo of Zambia.
Not an easy task against a highly motivated side that has just emerged victorious from a tournament where they beat strong regional sides, Zimbabwe and South Africa. But Tshosane remains unfazed. He is confident that he has a strong side of players capable of taming the highly-rated Zambians. In fact, the former army man is not bothered by the targets that demand that he reaches the finals of the competition that begins this Saturday – because he has refused to officially recognize them.
FAST REWIND: In April this year, the BFA CEO Keith Masters handed Tshosane a letter dated 16 April 2013. In this letter, the BFA set Tshosane three new targets that were not originally in his contract. At the time, The Zebras were left with three World Cup qualifier matches against Ethiopia, CAR and South Africa. The letter demanded that of the three games, Tshosane should at the least win one game and draw the other. The second target for the coach was to at the least, reach the COSAFA Cup semi finals in Zambia. And then the last target that says Zebras must reach the finals of CHAN.
It was spelt out to the coach that failure to meet the three targets would be used to determine his future as the national team coach, and he was asked to sign the letter to accept the new targets. This, the coach questioned, and wondered why the new targets were imposed on him when they were not in the original contract he signed. The BFA could not be bothered with Tshosane’s queries, and they told him to state his misgivings in seven days. Within that period, the coach wrote his own letter to the BFA where he said he fully accepted the new set targets – provided the BFA met a number of undisclosed conditions.
BG Sport has gathered that such conditions basically demanded that the coach be organized some international friendly matches and an intensive training camp, as well as an atmosphere where players will be kept happy by way of timely giving them their allowances. When the BFA refused to sign and accept the conditions he set them, he too refused to sign theirs. In fact, the BFA cried that the conditions he set them were not achievable as they do not have enough money. To date, Tshosane has not signed the targets set for him, although the BFA has said whether he signs them or not, they will use them to determine his future.
BG Sport informers reveal one more thing: the BFA Legal Advisor Onkagetse Pusoetsile is not happy with the way the BFA leadership has gone about this matter. The impeccable sources say he did not even know about these new targets until he read about them in the media. He has described the whole thing as irresponsible, they say. “Maybe he will confront them about the matter at this Wednesday night’s meeting where they are planning to discuss the coach’s future. It will be interesting to know how things might change should his input bring to light some others things,” one of the insiders said. The BFA executive committee was scheduled to meet on Wednesday night, where the issue of Tshosane would inevitably be discussed. The intention of the meeting, the sources say, is to resolve that the coach be fired. “Maybe they have raised the near P2 million they would have to pay should they fire him.
Afterall this is the only reason Tshosane is still the coach. He still has two years on his contract, but the new leadership has never wanted to work with him from day one of their assumption of office – just like they didn’t want all the other top officers who have since been forced to resign.”
In fact, Tshosane at some point was also begged to resign, it has been revealed. He was promised a payout of three months, which he did not accept. Sources say he was begged by both the BFA President Tebogo Sebego and one time Acting CEO Tariq Babitseng. “He said he could only accept their request if they agreed to pay out all that is due to him. They could not agree, which is why he is still here.”
So, as Tshosane prepares to go into the CHAN encounter this Saturday, he knows all too well that he could be dumped by his employers at any time. In his frankness, he told BG Sport in an interview that he was fully focused on beating Zambia. “Yes I know I’m expected to be derailed by my contract issues, but I’m still an employee of the BFA as the head coach of the Zebras. My mandate is to guide the team to victory and for me that is all that matters. I don’t want to focus on the negatives when I have the weekend task ahead of me,” he said. He however confirmed that he has been set new targets that he has refused to sign, but refused to dwell on details.
“Let me promise that the team will do well on Saturday in Molepolole. We have been preparing well and I believe the boys will give a good account of themselves,” he said. Pressed further to say if he was not bothered by the prospect of being fired after the Wednesday meeting, Tshosane said, “It is within the rights of my employer to part ways with me, as long as all contractual obligations are met. So I am not bothered. My focus is on the weekend game at the moment.”
Although Sebego does not refute setting new targets for the coach, he maintains that Tshosane remains the Zebras coach and that they will not be pressured into firing him.