Major David Bright is one of the decorated coaches in Botswana football and commands huge respect amongst his colleagues.
It is at Mogoditshane Fighters in the 1990s where he won lots of accolades when his side won every available silverware. At the time, Fighters, alias the Brazilians, played an enterprising football.
His status grew when he went on to coach Cape Town Santos in the South African Premier League and the then Bay United in the First Division. It is there where Bright put Botswana football on the map as the first coach to take charge of a wealthy South African side.
Most people here at home appreciate the good work he was putting in at Santos but that did not come without some consequences. Bright is known to be an outspoken person, something which at times earned him some enemies along the way.
It is reported that while in South Africa, he made some nasty comments about Botswana football, something which did not go down well with most Batswana. It is further alleged that he made a statement that he will never come back to coach in his homeland. After a successful stint in South Africa, news started filtering in May last year that Bright was considering coming back home.
Those who heard him saying that he would not consider coming back here were shell-shocked. It was in August when he was named the new coach at Gaborone United (GU) to replace interim Philemon Makwengwe who had just won the Coca-Cola Cup. While some GU supporters welcomed his appointment, others did not approve it but the last word came from the Reds’ executive.
Bright was given a blank cheque to bring in the players he felt would help the club bring some silverware. The likes of Tebogo Sembowa, Tebogo Sosome, Letsweletse Seane, Moemedi Moatlhaping, Jackie Mothatego, Alphonse Modisaotsile and Kagiso Tshelametse were brought in to try bring back glory times to GU.
Hardly 20 games into the season, some GU supporters have started to doubt if indeed Bright is the right man for the GU job. On Wednesday afternoon, GU suffered their third consecutive league defeat when they were beaten 2-1 by BDF XI at the SSKB Stadium in Mogoditshane. The defeat means GU remain in third sport with 36 points, nine points adrift of runaway leaders Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
The loss to BDF XI has put more pressure on Bright and some supporters have challenged the management to sack the former army major. Some could not contain their disappointment on Wednesday as they hurled unprintables at Bright.
“I’ve never seen a clueless yet boastful coach like Bright. Ever since he joined GU, he has failed to have a consistent line-up. What does that mean? You can come up with Chiefs’ line-up when you’re at home but not GU,” said a dejected GU supporter towards the end of the game.
Another supporter from the stands lamented, “Bright o re jesa ka bodipa (Bright you’re killing us deliberately).” It was a painful scene.
Some supporters could be seen in groups discussing their current loss of form. But GU secretary, Herbert Letsebe, has come out strongly to dismiss all those who think that Bright is not the right man for the job.
“I heard the bad things that they (supporters) said about the coach which is not right. It is unfortunate that (some of) our supporters behaved that way and as the management of the club, we’re not going to condone that. We have a bunch of supporters whose commitment to the club I’m starting to doubt. The supporters must rally behind the team in good and bad times,” said Letsebe.
He said that as the management, they are fully behind Bright and they will give him the necessary support.
It is said that Bright and GU executive met on Thursday where he gave them a report of their latest run of poor results.
“Our supporters fail to understand that we’re coming from a very hectic schedule where we were playing games during a short space of time. Since we’re out of the CAF Confederation Cup, I want to believe that we’ll get to our best. We still feel that the league is wide open though we’re chasing a team (Chiefs) which is consistent but anything can happen,” he added.
Letsebe pointed out that part of the reason why Bright has not been able to field a consistent line-up is because they have a series of injuries to key players. This, according to Letsebe, has not been helped by the fatigue they incurred in having a continental fixture in between their domestic programme.
GU were eliminated by Mozambican side Desportivo Liga Maculmana at the beginning of this month.