Thursday, September 21, 2023

Battle for the BDF club, a storm in a tea cup between soldiers and civilians

By Anita Rannoba

It is not yet clear what the Botswana Defence Force XI Sporting Club (BDF XI SC) is up to in terms of inclusivity.

Following the dismissal of former head coach Anderson Phiri, the team is said to be on the verge of changing their structure to an all army technical team.

A shy football analyst commenting anonymously stated that Matebele’s plan is to have soldiers dominating over civilians. The analyst said in this way, the club will not be spending more than it should as wages will be taken care of by the government.

Even though they are working on such a plan he said they will not stop recruiting players during the transfer window. “They are still going to recruit but special talent,” he said.

He said the fact that the current technical team which took over after Phiri was kicked out are all soldiers who have been trained by the BDF, points to the direction the club is heading.

Patrick Mfaladi, the Public relations officer for BDF XI said that they are not planning on searching for a coach any time soon. He noted that their eyes are on the current technical team to see how they will perform in the remaining games until the 2018/ 2019 season ends.

“We are not looking for a coach at the moment. Maybe during pre-season but for now the technical team has to proof their worth in taking the team back to its former glory. If they impress they will be given a chance to fully lead the team,” said Mfaladi.

Responding to the speculation of an all army team Mfaladi denied the claims. He stated that they are for good performance and good talent and they will source it anywhere.  He highlighted that even though their current technical team may seem like an all army team they are more focused on the end result.

The mouth piece for Botswana Football Association (BFA), Tumo Mpatane, indicated that it does not matter how a team builds itself whether it is an all army or security team its fine with them. The important thing is for the team to be qualified in the job they do.

“We at BFA have no problem what a team does as long as they have proper qualification for their job,” Mpatane said.

BDF XI’s current technical team is headed by the interim coach Lieutenant Colonel Louis Nelson Setshwane, assisted by Letang Kgengwenyane, Joel Chonga as goalkeeper coach and Keikotlhae Botlhoko being a physical trainer.

Even though he dismissed the rumours of an all army team, Mfaladi did agree the whole technical team is made up of soldiers. He said it does not mean that the current situation will prevail forever.

“The BDF XI SC is an institutional team, if soldiers are better then they will be given a chance to prove themselves and if civilian players make the cut they will also be accorded the chance to play and so are coaches, we only want the best for the team,” he said.

With past recruitments, BDF XI has managed to in roll civilian players under BDF in order to live their dream. Players like Ralesotla Moatlhodi, Phomolo Keimetse, Thabiso Khunwane and whole hosts of other players are now soldier while other players who were recruited did not join as they did not want to work as soldiers.


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