Botswana Football Association vice president technical, Ernest Nthobelang, says he remains committed to his position and will not let anyone push him out. This is despite allegations that the National Executive Committee (NEC) has taken a decision to expel him from his position due to his inactivity.
According to sources, the NEC is expected to deliver the news to Nthobelang during their meeting on Tuesday in Gaborone.
Sources have revealed that Nthobelang, who is the Botswana Congress Party parliamentary candidate for Mahalapye East, has been notable absentee from BFA executive meetings since August last year.
The aspiring MP did not even attend the BFA indaba which was held in Gaborone on July 26, something which made delegates to question his absence.
“His involvement in politics means that he is unable to create time for the association. This is worrying because he is the head of a very sensitive department at the association. Technical department in each association demands a lot of attention since there is always something which needs to be addressed especially at this crucial time when Zebras are in the race to qualify for the African Nations Cup in Morocco,” said a source at the BFA headquarters.
The source further revealed that even at the BFA congress, some delegates wanted to pass a motion of no confidence in Nthobelang but that move was blocked by fellow executive members at the 11th hour.
“A member of the executive was sent to him to advise him to resign than being expelled but he refused. The ideal thing was for him to leave with dignity but it seems he is not ready for a compromise,” the source added.
Contacted for comment, Nthobelang pointed out that he is aware that there are people within the executive who have long wanted him out hence the rumours about him.
“I have lots of meetings, more than some of the executive members past and present. Those [meetings] I did not attend I always ensured that I inform my colleagues because it would be irresponsible of me just to stay away without any reason,” Nthobelang said.
He said he missed the crucial congress because he was being launched as parliamentary candidate on the same date.
“I’m a football servant and will walk away when I feel there is pressure on my side. Remember Phillip Makgalemele (former BFA president, now Shoshong MP) did the same thing so I see no reason for people to make noise,” he added.
He pointed out that the reason he was no longer that visible within football circles is because of political commitments.
He said he needs to do a lot of campaigning in the Mahalapye constituency.
Nthobelang said he is always in touch with the BFA technical department and gives them guidance whenever there is a need.
He said he has always contributed to a number of NEC issues even though some of the decisions were taken without being consulted.
“Since I’m available at the present moment, I have indicated that I’ll be present at the next meeting on August 26,” he said.
Nthobelang took up the position of the BFA vice president technical in July 2012 alongside incumbent president Tebogo Sebego and BFA additional member Basadi Akoonyatse.
In recent times, Nthobelang has clashed with Sebego, whom he accused of appointing Zebras’ head coach James Butler without consultation.
Sources said the relationship between Nthobelang and Sebego has never been the same since then.