Botswana Table Tennis National Team head coach Sai Maribe has blamed the exclusion of one of the country’s top ranked player Bonolo Mabote from the national squad that was to play in the aborted South Africa National games last month for his love for alcohol.
The Smash Maniacs Club star was dropped after allegations of being a nuisance by his coach. For a long time he has been the country’s No 1 in the Botswana Table Tennis Association (BTTA) men’s category.
Maribe said the player’s lack of discipline and his pattern of misbehaviour while on national duty cost him a place in the team that he has been a member of in the past five years.
“The main problem that we have against this player is his love for alcohol especially when on national duty. I have warned him against this over the years to an extent that he was reprimanded and sidelined for sometime time even though he was on top form. I was told that he got drunk again in the last tournament in Namibia which did not go well with other team members. I did not travel with them that time,” explained Maribe
He further stated that since he opted for a youthful squad for the aborted tournament, he needed only one experienced player for both the men and ladies’ section in order for them to guide the youngsters but Mabote was not the right man for the assignment.
“I took the decision to exclude him because I am trying to build a team of youngsters that will represent the country well in future and they need someone who will portray all the positives that makes a good player; somebody who will motivate them in a good way and not by drinking alcohol on duty,” he added.
Mabote slipped to position two of the national male’s rankings after missing out on the New Horizon Open Tournament that was held at Sebele last weekend. Kennete Santudu of Nhabe Table Tennis Club took over the top sport. Mabote has denied the coach’s reason of why he was left out.
“I was surprised when I found out that I was not picked for the SA nationals. I confronted them and I was not given a convincing answer,” said Mabote, who accused the selectors of being unfair. ‘‘I have been the country’s No 1 for more than a decade and they cannot take that away from me,” he fumed.
Maribe countered: “I called him personally to tell him that he was not picked because of his drinking tendencies while on duty, specifically the Namibia trip where I sent them under the care of my assistant coach. I don’t understand why he is saying he was not told.”
Mabote vowed to retain his top spot in the rankings if he plays in the last upcoming BTTA sanctioned tournaments ‘’because results are the only thing that will speak for him‘‘.