Thursday, February 9, 2023

BFA keen to help Nkutlwisang gain higher coaching badges

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is keen for Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang to continue with her duties as the women’s senior national team coach.

While the association is reluctant to give her the job on full time basis at this moment, it however believes she will be under consideration to get it in future. The association says the coach will have to meet certain coaching qualifications to get the job.

Since getting the job more than a decade ago, Nkutlwisang has seen a gradual improvement in the fortunes of ‘The Mares,’ as her team is affectionately called. Over the past few years, her team has proved capable of causing upsets.

The first sign of such an improvement came during the qualifiers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics when ‘The Mares’ knocked out neighbours and continental powerhouse South Africa. This year, the team made its debut at the Women Africa Cup of Nations (WAfcon) where it also left an impression.

Playing against eventual winners South Africa and another powerhouse in the form of Nigeria, Botswana was not embarrassed. The team even made it to the quarterfinals where they were knocked out by hosts Morocco.

For the team’s impressive showing, Nkutlwisang was named among contenders for women’s coach of the year award at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards. While she did not win it, this was perhaps proof that she has something to offer, which the BFA believes.

Speaking to this publication, the BFA chief executive officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo said while the coach did well, she was at a disadvantage during the WAfcon games. “If you look at all the coaches at WAfcon, they were all more qualified than her. Most of them had professional licences and were more advanced than her. Even Desire Ellis has a Pro License. This put her at a disadvantage,” Mfolo says.

With this in mind, she says the association wants to see her get better coaching badges to allow her to compete with other coaches in equal footing. “Our plan is to gradually help her improve her coaching qualifications. Our immediate intention is to get her to attain her CAF B coaching license. At the moment, the only ongoing courses are for A License. Once the B License coaching courses open and are available, we intend to enrol her,” he says.

“Luckily for her, she already has massive experience as a coach. This puts her in a good position to have some of the course subjects waivered, meaning she will have it a little easier to gain her B license badges,” the BFA CEO says. He adds that the eventual plan is for Nkutlwisang to at least have her A license coaching badges in four years.

He says contrary to what is being said, the association appreciates her contribution. He says at no time has the BFA thought of chasing Nkutlwisang off her job. He says they have always been of the belief she needs to be helped to grow and they are working towards that.

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