Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Caroline Braun’s legacy divides opinion

Caroline Braun’s three-year stint with the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will come to an end end of this month, February 2022. The German football expert came to Botswana in 2019 as part of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (Deutscher Olympischer Sportburn) DOSB assistance to BFA.

Highly qualified with a PHD in Sports Science and a UEFA A Coaching Licence, Braun was expected to lead a project to develop and expand Botswana football structures at regional level and also support formation of youth education.

Now as she prepares to depart, many are still trying to digest what Braun’s legacy will be. As one would expect, any questions surrounding her legacy is enough to polarize opinions. This is because of the varied roles she undertook while at the BFA.

Among her many roles during her stay in Botswana, the once acting Technical Director was also the technical advisor to the national teams, assistant coach for men’s national team, UEFA bounce back manager, BFA task force Chair and finally coach educator. 

“My task was football development in general. It was not limited to one particular area. It was as much assistance as requested by the BFA leadership and as analyzed by myself as the expert,” Braun said.

“I am happy to be leaving this country knowing that it now has D- licensed coach. When I took over no one in the regional football had that license. Support particularly for women football has grown and I am happy because I want to break down stereotypes that women cannot be equal to men mostly in sport. I hope that being a TD in the men’s team may pave way for other women in football to believe in themselves and that they can do anything,” she said.

Braun highlighted that as a country our support system is minimal, pointing out that there is much too do from within the Association in order to grow. 

“When I set foot in this country, I realized there was little training camps being done for the national teams, no friendly games and with out these, the team will never get a chance to analyse their performance. Those girls are dedicated even the men but our attitude to their growth brings in more impact and results. They need to do friendly games and training camps. If they can have this surely, they can qualify for African Cup of Nations (AFCON),” she pointed out.

Even though Braun meant well, there were negative reports regarding all the tasks she was doing. Some were of the view that she was a jack of all trades but a master of none.

Football analyst Kagiso Kgaogano spoke highly of Braun and the work she has done. He highlighted that the German expert conducted many coaching courses across the country, including with school teachers through BOTTESSA.

Kgaogano’s sentiments were shared by fellow sports journalist Donald Makgatlhe. He stated that Braun has always been hands on during her stay in Botswana and that her experience has played a vital role in the growth of our football.

“Our senior ladies national coach Gaoletlhoo ‘Ronaldo’ Nkutlwesang’s coaching papers had not been complete for a long time. Braun helped her and many others to be qualified for the positions they hold in football. Our previous men technical team failed to complete certain tasks but her presence through TD working along side Adele Amrouche benefited the players,” Makgatlhe said.

Commenting on anonymity, one source stated that the association took her less seriously and many in the football community felt she was just there to improve her curriculum vitae.

“She spent most of her time assisting both the men and women senior national teams. During Adele’s tenure, she relegated the Zebras assistant coach Letang Kgengwenyane to a ball- boy and took over the position of assistant coach. She was part of the women senior national team technical team on most of the games that the team played. She even occupied the position of acting technical director and relegated her duties of developing women football. To date there is no blue print on women football despite her three-year tenure at the BFA. Women football at Grassroots is worse than it was five years ago,” the source stated.

The source further went on to say as a norm all national teams report to the technical director and it is abnormal for a technical director to form part of any national teams as those teams have to submit reports to the TD.

“The women senior national team coach was also relegated to an assistant with Braun calling the shorts, hence she came for her CV,” the source said.

As a gift and legacy, Braun said she is leaving behind behind a video system based on multiple semiautomatic cameras. However, Braun noted that she will be back to Botswana after a year to analyse their progress but she will not be staying long.

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