After a unconvincing performance in the Be MOBILE Premier League this season, Gaborone United (GU) have moved swiftly to replace current gaffer, Letang Kgengwenyane, whose term comes to an end on May 21 when the Reds play their last league game.
Information reaching Sunday Standard indicates that GU has shortlisted three foreign coaches for the post, with the new one expected to start work on June 1.
Sunday Standard can exclusively reveal that the Reds have shortlisted two Zambian coaches, Wedson Nyirenda and Fighton Simukonda, and Elvis Chiweshe from Zimbabwe.
Nyirenda is currently coaching Zambian premier league side Zanaco while Simukonda is at the helm of another top Zambian side, Zesco United.
The two Zambians were recently involved in the Barclays Cup final and, according to our sources, they will not come cheap.
Nyirenda will best be remembered for his goals during his days as a striker at Kaizer Chiefs in the South African Premier League. Both Nyirenda and Simukonda once worked together at Zanaco and they are regarded to be among the more successful coaches in Zambian football.
To make matters worse for the Reds, Simukonda signed a three-year deal with Zesco in February.
Simukonda made history in 2009 when he became the first coach to take a Zambian side to the group stages of the Champions League, hence Zesco United has decided that he commits for a further three years.
Our sources further reveal that Chiweshe, who was in charge of Zimbabwe glamour side Dynamos, popularly known as DeMbare, when they eliminated GU from the CAF Champions League last year, is said to be top of the list at the moment.
He is currently coaching Zimbabwe Saints but what makes his deal more complicated is that he has hinted that he wants to work with most of the GU players who featured in the continental tourney last year. Almost three quarter of the squad has been dismissed by the Reds.
Chiweshe left Dynamos in December after accusing the management of interfering in his job and further claimed that DeMbare believes too much in muti.
The other applicants for the Reds’ job, Simeon Efremor, who until recently was based in Greece, and Iordan Stoykov, have been removed from the list because of distance and costs. Though the GU top brass claimed that there is also a South African coach they are speaking to, our sources have dismissed the claims.
“GU decided not to consider the Europeans because they’ll be more expensive and as for the South African, there is nothing like that because I’m privy to the information,” said an inside source on Friday.
Speaking to Sunday Standard, GU vice-chairman, Babatshe Paphane confirmed that they have shortlisted some coaches but said that he was not in a position to disclose their names as the negotiations were ongoing. “What I can tell you is that we’ve shortlisted two Zambians, one Zimbabwean and a South African. You must understand that these coaches have contracts with their current employers. So we might further jeopardize their future if we do not appoint them,” said.
Paphane added that they have decided to look outside the borders because the current recycling of coaches in our domestic league is not helping to improve Botswana football.
He further pointed out that they have discussed the current developments with Kgengwenyane, who is an employee of Botswana Defence Force (BDF), and is expected to undergo some training at work in the near future.
“He (Kgengwenyane) was supposed to have undergone some training early this year and we pleaded our case with his authorities and fortunately, there is a similar training soon, so they allowed him to stay with us until the end of the season,” he continued.
Paphane further indicated that they want the new man to start his duties on June 1 so that he can take the team through the pre-season training.
“I must make it clear that we always give our coaches a chance to do their job thoroughly without any interference. But you must be aware that when we appoint coaches, there are certain expectations and if he does not reach them, we’re entitled to review his job,” he continued.
Since Zambian Mike Sithole guided the Reds to the league championship during the 2008/2009 season, no coach has come close to matching his achievements. This has frustrated GU supporters, some of whom stayed away from the stadiums in the past two years.
So the pressure will be on the new man to see if he produces the results.