The search is now on for the next Zebras coach after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo confirmed that they have since parted ways with the veteran tactician, Major David Bright.
Bright was reportedly handed a letter to show course why the association should not terminate his contract a week ago. However, both the BFA and Bright remained mum on the issue as speculation grew on the coach’s future at Lekidi. Some of the targets given to the local coach included qualifying for the 2019 Afcon finals and moving the Zebras up 15 places in the World FIFA rankings. When addressing members of the media at a press conference in Gaborone this week, Mfolo said the current regime at the BFA wanted to stop senior national team activities but this was not possible.
“The BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) has done a thorough introspection on the activities of the senior national team and I wish to state that we as the Association would like to thank the senior national team coach for what he has done for the sport.” Quizzed on whether they fully supported the coach, Mfolo said the coach was given adequate time to prepare the national team especially during the designated FIFA week.
“There was no other time to prepare the team because there are league games and other competitions around the country. In some countries the team even converges when they play their games.” The BFA secretariat boss said they had agreed to deliverables with the coach and whenever one felt that it was getting hot, they were free to jump ship. “Even if you are in a situation where you are building the team, results are expected.”
Furthermore, Mfolo explained that the departure of the coach meant that the whole senior national team technical bench was dismantled, adding that some of them may be brought back under a different dispensation. During Bright’s tenure at Zebras there were instances where a player allegedly sneaked alcohol into camp and other questionable behaviour. In response to issues of discipline, Mfolo said it was up to the technical team to instil discipline in the players.
With regards to the future of the national team, Mfolo said, the senior national team coach is an executive position in the Association. “So, it is only proper that we advertise it. In the interim, the Technical Director is expected to consult with the coaches association in order to prepare for the Afcon qualifier game against Angola. “ Meanwhile, Bright could not be reach on his mobile at press time.
Black Peril made a blazing debut in their first game in the eagerly anticipated Orange FA Cup. After beating Mogoditshane Fighters 5-1 at Tlokweng VDC Grounds, the Tlokweng outfit or Mochacho as they are known, have sent a stern and chilling warning to their future opponents in the knockout tournament. In their second-round game, the team is expected to prove their mettle against a premier league team.
“We came prepared because this team had beaten us in the league last week. I was hoping for a brace and a hat trick was a bonus. I plan to be the top goal scorer of the tournament. I came from Notwane where I did not get enough game time, which is the reason I came here,” said Mosha Tlhaolang. The player, who is already in the running for top goal scorer after his performance, made it clear he was not eyeing the big prize.
“This is my second game, I came here to help the team”
For his part Mochacho Assistant Coach, David Mfolwe said, “This game was a grudge match, we played against these guys last weekend in a league game and we told ourselves that we cannot be beaten twice and we also wanted to proceed to the quarter finals. Mosha does have a chance of fighting for the top goal scorer honours after scoring the hat trick.” Mfolwe said the player is currently on loan from Notwane FC where he was not given a chance to play.” If you look at this cup you can score seven goals and win the prize. If he scores two goals in the next game, he will be in the contention.”
Going forward, Mfolwe says they are hoping to face a Premier league team because we are really ready. “We have been training for this tournament for a while. We are currently fourth on the log and only four points behind the log leaders.” For his part, Muchachos headcoach Kaelo ‘Wire’ Kaelo said, “We are enjoying ourselves, and against a bigger team no one will expect us to win but it will be a good thing to pit my boys against a Premier league team.” Kaelo said the atmosphere is great and both Orange and the premier league should be congratulated.
In a post-match interview, Botswana Football Association Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo said the opening FA cup games have been a success, adding that the atmosphere is vibrant and people are relaxed. “For sponsors, there has been commercial value, people are making calls to check the results and the sponsor is gaining mileage,” he said.
“I have just received a call from Mmankgodi, there were 800 tickets printed and I have just been told that they have sold out. We expected the same from Hukuntsi. I did not expect this, every time I go and watch the premier league it’s a sizeable number of people that come to the ground so I am overwhelmed by this.”
Mfolo said this was the first time he attended regional football games. “Going forward I think we can improve as far as managing crowds. I stayed about 15 minutes outside while I was trying to get in. All other aspects are at an average level where there is room for improvement.”
• BFA President Letshwiti means business
• P10m for regional development
• BFA to generate P6m by 2020
Worldwide, football is not only a unifying factor, but also a money spinning and profitable venture.
Certainly this is not the current case in Botswana. Although there is an improvement, a microscopic interrogation of strategic pointers indicates that the sport is behind in many respects.
Currently the sport is characterised by poor performances at club and national team levels, heavy debts, qualified accounts, secretariat that lacks vision and drive, conflict of interest amongst some of the national executive members and lack of funds, and resignation of Chief Executive Officers before their term ends. Surely, these and many others serve as a deterrent to local football attracting qualified personnel to occupy strategic positions.
However, like they say with proper planning and strategy, one can overcome any challenge. But, those times seem to be over at Lekidi- the Botswana Football Association headquarters. Having realised that all stakeholders and office bearers have failed football in their first year of office, BFA president and reputable businessman Mclean Letshwiti has taken total control like a captain of a sinking ship.
The latter depicts himself not as a ceremonial head, but a no-nonsense leader out to sweep clean and bring results as well as turnaround the sport of football as evidenced by his NEC’s strategic plan that envisages to generate an additional P6 million in revenue for Botswana Football Association by 2020.
Having realised that his committee has not achieved much despite having a strategic plan in place, Letshwiti bit the bullet and decided that the BFA should not invite a guest speaker at the immediate past congress because in his view, there was nothing that football could share with an outsider.
At the congress, he diverted from the tradition of giving a speech, but rather gave a concise report in the form of a lecture, challenging all and sundry to pull up their socks and serve football or else ship out.
Further, in a move that stands to make BFA creditworthy, Letshwiti took a bold step and called off the presentation of the BFA accounts to congress, citing non-compliance of the accounts with both BFA and FIFA constitutions. In years past, accounts have never complied with FIFA Manuals, but were ratified by the congress so that there is ‘progress.’
This time, new auditors have been engaged to normalise the situation; they are currently auditing all the organs of the BFA including the Botswana Premier League (BPL). Hopefully this will help BFA to receive FIFA funding. The latter insists on receiving audited accounts before they can release the next funding which usually is done in batches.
Reliable sources told this publication that the employment of CEO Ookeditse Malesu who left office yesterday (Thursday August 31st) has been identified as the source of the friction between BFA NEC members.
BG News has it in good authority that although he was interviewed Malesu was rated second best by the interviewing panel. The successful candidate was Mokgethi Magapa, but the financially struggling BFA could not match his package.
Malesu unfortunately became a victim of circumstances owing to lack of support from his supervisors. Of the top three members of the executive, only Letshwiti preferred Malesu to take over as CEO considering the time lost during the absence of a CEO, whilst others wanted the post to be re-advertised.
It is said friction between some of the top BFA executives started during the campaign for NEC positions. The rift between some NEC members and Malesu widened because the latter is not a pushover. He resisted orders and, or challenged instructions that appeared to benefit individuals instead of the game of football.
This led to the inexperienced, but equally effective Malesu finding himself in the deep end such that when he erred, there was no one to correct him. This led to the present committee failing to fully implement its strategy in the first year.
Although he did not mention anything about the existing friction within the NEC, Letshwiti told delegates that it is time for all to work together for football progress and that anybody who opposes football progress must quit.
Road to success
Letshwiti told delegates that BFA business is left behind and it is time to fully implement the Strategy which is based on his campaign for the president. In order to show they mean business, the BFA has decided to put more emphasis on development and as a start this time around 80 percent of the BFA budget for the current financial year will go to the regions.
He said his association has already secured a P3million sponsorship from DC Tours. Each regional structure will be given P50, 000 as mobilisation fee for their administration duties.
He further pledged P10 million for grassroots development at regional level which comes from FIFA funding so that football can be developed from the grassroots for both boys and girls in order to make strong national teams for the future.
Cancellation of women leagues
Although there are many women’s teams in the country, women have not been given the attention they deserve, and this leads to their poor performance at international level. The women league has been played on bad grounds, at times without match officials. At national level, the women team always loses to opponents by high margins.
Based on this, Letshwiti’s administration took an unpopular decision not to sponsor the women’s league and instead channel the money to grassroots development starting from primary schools in order to increase the number of women participating in football as well as form a string base for future national teams. The next move will be to have women’s league played at regional level between now and 2019, then establish leagues in partnership with other stakeholders such as BOPSSA and BISA.
Just like it is done with the men, the BFA will also establish regional first division women’s leagues between 2018 and 2019 and later establish women’s premier league in 2019-20.
The BFA 2017-2020 Strategy that stands to improve all levels of football was developed by members of the BFA National executive committee (NEC). It was developed through a consultative process which included Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Secretariat, Regional Football Associations, National Leagues, standing committees and all key stakeholders.
It also incorporates inputs from relevant legislation, policy framework and related documents, such as the BFA constitution, Sports, and Recreation Policy, National Excellence Strategy, Ministry of Empowerment, Youth Sports and Culture strategic plan.
The strategy is aligned to the Botswana National Sports Commission 2013-2028 circle spinning from 2017 to2020.
Amongst key factors were to determine the strategy direction, describe, translate, align management to the strategy and manage performance. There were expectations and concerns raised during the development of the strategy.
Amongst the expectations were that the strategy will develop football in Botswana in all its various structures and facets, and that there will be a change in the participants mindset. School football will also be included in the BFA Strategy.
The BFA balanced scorecard as of the end of 2016 paints a gloomy and demoralising picture, while millions of pula have been spent in camping, meals and travel. Also there has not been any good results coming from all nation teams and local clubs that registered to compete in continental competitions.
The BFA score board for the strategy 2013-2016 indicates that its strategic objective was to improve athlete performance, with the strategic goal being to increase performance rating at zonal, continental and world levels.
Key indicators being Olympics games ranking, COSAFA Under 20 men and women, COSAFA senior men and women, CAF Championships, premier league clubs participating, CAF Under 17 boys and girls, U20 boys and girls, AFCON competition. But the results show dismal failure as in almost all the cases our teams exited the competition during the preliminary stage despite the set targets of getting gold or reaching group stages.
The only better performance was reaching the finals of the COSAFA tournament and winning silver by the senior national team. The best performance was registered with Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone 6 where Botswana got a ranking of an improved athlete performance.
Equally disturbing is that BFA failed to achieve its set objective of increased high profile event hosting, sanctioned zonal, continental and world events. BFA failed to increase the number of women participating in sports as evidenced by the key point indicator where the league was regional in Southern parts with two teams dominating. The BFA also failed to come up with national league.
The BFA failed to increase participation of people living with disabilities playing football. Although PASSPBO proposed a friendly match with Zebras U20, the proposal was shot down because there was no team in camp.
Besides the teething problems experienced, the present administration seems focused and ready to accomplish its mission. Under the learning and growth perspective, their aim is to train 20 grassroots coaches per region, train 60 grassroots referees per region, establish specialist coaches at grassroots level, establish 20 youth coaches, conduct administrative staff training, establish youth policy, establish Under 19 reserve league by the end of 2017.
The NEC also intends to consolidate all grassroots development programmes into one. Under the stewardship indicator, the BFA will register an investment arm as well as strengthen governance structures for managing relationships with sponsors.
Letshwiti looks set to achieve the BFA mission statement and provide a well-resourced and effective football delivery system that will improve the football industry and contribute to the economy of Botswana. But, good as it sounds on paper, it begs the question, how will the absence of a CEO affect the implementation of the strategy?
It is now official. The Zebras head coach Peter James Butler has parted ways with the Botswana Football Association (BFA). Speculation has been rife this week that South African Premier League side Platinum Stars will announce Butler as their new head coach at any point from now.
The BFA confirmed via a press statement this week, that they have parted ways with the coach following a consultative meeting. “Peter joined the Association in 2014 and has served this country to the best of his abilities in the capacity of head coach of the Zebras.
“We are grateful to Peter for his service and time, we wish him well in future endeavours,” the BFA press statement reads. “Oris Boyo Radipotsane will step up from his role as assistant coach to head coach in the interim. He will lead the Zebras to the COSAFA senior challenge scheduled from June 25 to July 9th.”
During his tenure at the helm of Zebras for the past three years, the British coach and former West Ham United player has not achieved much. In essence many local football pundits would agree that Butler is more suited to development than managing a senior national team. Despite failing to qualify for any top tier competitions including Africa Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup, Butler has proved to be an outstanding talent scout.
Bold, brash and confrontational, the Englishman has also proved to be a hard worker having scoured the length and breadth of the country searching for new talent in his sponsored VW Amarok. Perhaps his relentless emphasis on unearthing new talent and developing future national team players was Butler’s downfall as Zebras coach.
The local football community - both knowledgeable and casual - watched Butler with a close eye. His national team selection had become stuff of legends as supporters waited with bated breath to see which fresh face Butler would introduce next to the Zebras’ fold. However, Butler’s shrewd and rather risky experiments never paid dividends and made him a polarising figure among supporters.
The Zebras last game, an Afcon 2019 qualifier against Mauritania, might have been a watershed moment between Butler, the BFA and supporters after his 1-0 loss at Francistown Sports Complex. After the loss Butler’s experimental antics of mixing the new and old weighed too heavy on depressed Zebras supporters who are thirsty for a win even if it means applying quick fixes.
With Butler having abandoned the cash-strapped BFA, options for a replacement are limited. There is however, assistant coach Boyo ‘Oris’ Radipotsane, former coach Stanley Tshosane and potential dark horse Daniel ‘Chico’ Nare. Jwaneng Galaxy’s Mike ‘Dubula’ Sithole and Orapa United’s Madinda Ndlovu can also be thrown into the mix. After taking over from Tshosane the Englishman has constituted an ever-changing squad failing to maintain a consistent first team.
When he arrived at Zebras Butler introduced his famous 3-5-2 formations Moreetsi Mosimanyana, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Thato Kebue, Tebogo Sosome, Thabang Mosige, Lesenya Ramoroka, Otlantshekela Mooketsi, Obonye Moswate and Boitumelo Mafoko have all been in the mix at the back. This meant that Butler could not produce a consistent and formidable defensive structure.
However in a system where the midfield is swamped and a three-man defence is set up, there is obviously no room for error from any of the three defenders. This meant three resilient defenders to understand each other and culminating in a neat and rather clean game. However Butler’s tactics often failed to uphold an unswerving backline as he resorted to rotating defenders with each game.
Moreover the calculating tactician has botched his tactics in the middle of the park. Likewise, consistency is no closer to Butler not with results only but also with selecting his starting lineup. Bonolo Phuduhudu and Thato Ogopotse once played Butler’s right-hand harvests in the midfield.
Nonetheless the Englishman rotated his axis once more, delegating the midfield role to the safeguarding duo of Ofentse Nato and Lebogang Ditsele, something which the fans enormously criticised citing that both Nato and Ditsele are exceedingly identical with their play and shouldn’t be fielded together.
As if this was not enough, Butler also handpicked Lesego Galenamotlhale and Arnold Mampori to engage in a midfield skirmish frequently. This sporadic midfield has contributed nothing, it has rather prompted attacking confusion in the past three years, something which the coach can’t pinpoint to this date.
At Zebras, Butler never possessed a perilous war chest, with his attacking force having scored more than three goals back in 2015 against a toothless Eritrea side at the famous Francistown Sports Complex.
Although he always relies on Mogakolodi Ngele, Segolame Boy, Onkabetse Makgantai, Omatla Kebatho and Joel Mogorosi to lead his front line, he is yet to discover the right candidate to play the leading role of a target man in his three years and six months stay with the team.
With that being said, Butler has been a good scout during his tenure, discovering prolific defenders like Lesenya Ramoroka, Thato Kebue, and Keolopile Molemi. He also discovered elegant midfielders like Arnold Mampori, Joseph Joseph and Lethogonolo Senwelo accommodating them into the national team set up.
A FIFA official this week urged the Botswana Football Association (BFA) to continue knocking on FIFA’s doors if they need assistance with their projects. Speaking in Gaborone this week, Botswana’s FIFA development officer Ashford Mamelodi said he would like to see BFA benefiting from the world governing body projects.
“At FIFA if you do not knock at our door, we assume you do not need help. BFA should come knocking then we can help”, Mamelodi said. The veteran football administrator spoke to the fact that Botswana is not benefiting much from FIFA projects, more especially that the governing body`s regional office is based here in Botswana.
Nevertheless, Mamelodi praised the Independent electoral board for organising transparent and fair elections during the BFA’s Annual General Assembly (AGA). In other matters, the FIFA official who is also a former BFA Executive Secretary advised the new BFA executive committee to revisit the thorny Constituency league matter swiftly.
The matter has long been a grey area in local football as the BFA and Botswana government fought for over the issue for over a decade. The long running issue saw a FIFA delegation visiting Gaborone to address the matter before former BFA president Tebogo Sebego gave a presentation at FIFA congress in 2014. Back then reports were that the two parties had agreed in principle about the league. Since then very little or nothing has been said on the matter.
Township Rollers have withdrawn their case from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following a meeting with the new Botswana Football Association (BFA) president Maclean Letshwiti.
The withdrawal of the case was made after considering numerous factors including the fact that Rollers have since been crown as the 2015/16 beMOBILE premiership champions following their recent play off match against Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Rollers managed to beat Chiefs 5-1 at the Molepolole Sports complex.
A press release from the BFA stated that the association will engage with FIFA to establish the status of Ofentse Nato at the time he was declared as a defaulter by the National Disciplinary Committee. “The withdrawal of the case from CAS should not be construed in any way to mean a concession on the part of Township Rollers that Nato was indeed a defaulter at the time he was declared such, hence the need for the establishment of a true situation from FIFA,” the statement reads.
Moreover, the BFA further explained that the meeting of Rollers and the BFA president was part of an effort to restore peace and stability to Botswana Football, which has been experiencing turbulence. Moreover, the new BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) is scheduled for this Saturday where it is expected to agree on a short-term agenda.
The Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi has returned to Lekidi after his controversial suspension was lifted this week.
His return to the BPL secretariat signals the end of a court case that pitted him against his erstwhile superiors - the recently dissolved BPL board, which was chaired by Rapula Okaile. The BPL board was recently dissolved for undermining and defying instructions from Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC). This week, BFA president Tebogo Sebego confirmed that Mamelodi’s suspension has been lifted. “Mamelodi is back in office and there is a backlog of issues that he has to urgently deal with like club licensing, disbursement of last season’s club prize monies,” said Sebego who has long supported the BPL CEO’s return.
One of the issues Mamelodi is expected to deal with is drawing fixtures of next season’s games. Earlier this week, sources close to the BFA revealed that Sebego and the association’s CEO Kitso Kemoeng met with the league sponsors, beMOBILE on Tuesday to iron out pending issues in a bid to pave way for next season.
Mamelodi’s return to office coincides with the elective BFA Annual General Assembly (AGA) scheduled for August 13th. The AGA is also expected to have a bearing on whether Mamelodi stays at Lekidi or not. It will also decide whether the BPL should be run by a board of club chairmen or a management committee made up of independent professionals.
Should the AGA pass the motion that calls for the league affairs being run by a management committee, this will mean the end of a legal tussle between Mamelodi and the dissolved BPL board which will be dealt with once and for all.
The BPL board previously incensed the BFA NEC after they refused to lift Mamelodi’s suspension following allegations of maladministration. After Mamelodi dragged the BPL board to court, the BFA refused to give the semi autonomous body power of attorney to challenge the former.
Meanwhile, in the absence of any interference from the BPL board, the association lifted Mamelodi’s suspension with immediate effect and he resumed his duties yesterday [Wednesday]. This means all charges against Mamelodi will eventually be dropped.
Initially some of Mamelodi’s office equipment was seized by law enforcement officers including his cell phones. However, by press time it was not clear whether these items had been returned to him.
The management of Township Rollers is not relenting on their course to seek the intervention of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in their case that saw them lose ten points and have their player Ofentse Nato declared a defaulter.
This is despite the rolecent ruling by the BFA National Disciplinary Committee that Township Rollers be reimbursed seven of the points deducted from them by Botswana Premier League chairperson Rapula Okaile. The BFA NDC recently reversed Rollers’ seven points citing that acting BPL chairman Okaile acted outside his powers to dock Rollers 10 points as punishment without taking the latter through a hearing. However, the committee maintained that Nato was still a defaulter and ruled that only three points be deducted and P1000 be paid within 14 days.
Township Rollers’ spokesperson Phempheretlhe Pheto said the latest development will however not make them withdraw their case in Switzerland. “NDC is saying Nato is a defaulter and we think we have registered Nato properly so we are not going to drop this case despite NDC’s ruling,” Pheto said. The NDC ruling also slapped Okaile with charges after the latter issued directives that Rollers should be docked ten points in the process pronouncing Mochudi Centre Chiefs as champions, which action according to NDC was prejudicial to BFA reputation.
The NDC was this week expected to send Okaile a letter requesting him to show cause why disciplinary action cannot be taken against him in respect of the recent order to dock Rollers ten points instead of three.Rollers have since appointed Johan Van Gaalen to be their representative in the case before CAS following a directive from the international court’s Deputy Secretary General William Sternheimer. On May 6, Sternheimer requested that Rollers nominate an arbitrator chosen from the CAS list and an opportunity to bring their own legal representative if they were not satisfied with the list they were given.
Choosing an arbitrator would complete Rollers’ appeal. The club was given three days after receipt of the letter to have chosen their lawyer, and Paul Mitchel - Ofentse Nato’s agent - recommended Van Gaalen to Rollers’ management.Rollers club financier Jagdish Shah and club secretary general Khumo Masonya have since been to South Africa to meet the world’s top sports lawyer. Pheto confirmed that they had identified their representative who would fight in their corner in Lausanne, Switzerland, but refused to confirm the identity of the lawyer.
Van Gaalen specialises in sports, entertainment and labour law and has in the past handled high profile cases. He is currently a member of FIFPRO legal advisory committee and mostly works with football players’ agents. Last week CAS was expected to announce the date for Rollers’ hearing but instead they requested for Gilport’s heads of argument. By press time it was not yet clear whether Gilport had submitted as per CAS request.
Township Rollers are the 2015/16 beMOBILE premier league champions. This is until the disciplinary procedures relating to all outstanding protests are concluded.
The National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) made this bold decision earlier today (Friday). The announcement was made by NDCsecretary Billy Sekgororoane following protest from Rollers.
The committee found that the Premier League Acting Chairman Rapula Okaile usurped powers of the Botswana Premier League Disciplinary Committee by unilaterally pronouncing that punishment should be made prior to giving the Gaborone giants a hearing. “The Acting Chairman’s decision is set aside and is of no force. The protests by Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Police XI and Miscellaneous FC are referred back for a hearing by the DC of the BPL within 7 days from today’s date,” the judgement states.
“The Final BPL log standings shall only be released after the protest procedures in relation to the process mentioned in the above has been concluded. The decision means Township Rollers are the champions with 70 points.”
The National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) of the BFA today confirmed they have laid charges against acting Botswana Premier League Chairman Rapula Okaile.
Speaking to the media this week, the NDC Secretary, Billy Sekgororoane said they found that Okaile acted un-sportingly when he issued his letter of the 28th April 2016,instructing the acting BPL acting CEO, Kitso Kemoeng to deduct 10 points against Township Rollers.
Sekgororoane added that this conduct was grossly prejudicial to the reputation of the BFA. “The Committee therefore resolved to press charges against Okaile, which shall be laid down in a separate communication in due course.”