It was all ululations, laughter, and wild celebrations for the past year and half for Botswana soccer. This was so because the senior national team, the Zebras, were doing the unthinkable, beating some of Africa’s great teams.
The Zebras even made a historic qualification to this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) that was co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Things have since changed drastically and the team has become a laughing stock of the African continent and has triggered a fierce backlash from Batswana. This is mainly because Botswana failed to make it to next year’s Afcon and, worst of all, the way they bowed out of the tournament was painful.
Botswana lost with a hefty margin of 7-1 following 3-0 loss in Mali and 4-1 loss in Lobatse on Sunday.
Already soccer fans, through social networks and the general media, are demanding the resignation of head coach, Stanley Tshosane, and his technical team and are calling them names.
Even the corridors of the Botswana Football Association are awash with rumours of Tshosane’s imminent sacking. Even though Tshosane lost heavily against Mali, the question is: would it be fair to show him the door and would his sacking help solve the below par performance of the national team?
On Friday before the Mali game, Tshosane told Telegraph Sports that a sudden fall of the Zebras’ performance is something that is far way beyond his control and it would be up to his employers to show him the door.
“Let’s be honest; we qualified for Afcon because we prepared thoroughly than we did in the past. We had so many camps and that gave me ample time to work with the team. We did not qualify by mistake or luck but we were fully prepared,” he said.
The former BDF XI coach also empahasised that prior to 2014 World Cup qualifying match and against Mali, it was a different story.
“If we play against strong opponents and we do not thoroughly prepare, it would not be easy from our side. After Afcon, I made a proposal to the BFA for camps and friendly matches and was approved, but little happened on the ground. I called camps and not all players turned up and even friendly matches we asked for did not materialise. That is the main reason we are not playing to our desired standards,” he said.
Tshosane added that the reason players did not pitch up for training camps was because there was a standoff between the players and the BFA because the former wanted the bonuses they were promised for Afcon.
Quizzed on who was to blame for the turn of events, Tshosane did not mince his words. He said individuals and companies that promised the money were to blame. By press time, the future of the coach was not yet clear.
One prominent soccer administrator, who preferred anonymity, said Tshosane’s time is up since he has reached his ceiling. He said a new coach with more experience than Tshosane must be brought on board.
“We are grateful of the old-man’s contribution to Botswana football, but his time is up and someone new must come in,” he said.