Friday, December 1, 2023

How they line up for the BTC Premiership awards

The Botswana Premier League (BPL) on Thursday announced the list of nominees for this year’s BTC Premiership awards.

According to the list, title-winning coach Mogomotsi “Teenage” Mpote of Township Rollers, Thaloba “Machine” Nthaga of Security Systems and Mike “Dubula” Sithole of Jwaneng Galaxy will compete for the Coach of the Season award.

BPL Young Player of the season will be contested for by Kesaobaka Ramotshwaedi of Green Lovers, Thato Kebue of Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Thatayaone Ditlhokwe of Gaborone United.

In the Player of the Season award, Township Rollers duo of Simisane Mathumo and Lemponye Tshireletso will battle Galaxy goalkeeper Anthony Gouws for the award. The latter has also been nominated for the BPL Goalkeeper of the Season along with GU’s Goitseone Phoko and Rollers’ Kabelo Dambe.

However, as expected the list has elicited differing views, with many seeking to know the criteria used by the BPL Technical Study Group (TSG) to select nominees.

This comes as many football lovers and commentators have expressed misgivings about some of the nominations.

Speaking in an interview, football commentator Kagiso Kgaogano opined that the BPL TSG should come out in the open and explain the criteria they use for nominations, so as to clear a lot of confusion and negativity surrounding the nominees.

“For a while now, the local football fraternity has expressed misgivings about the criteria used for nominations across all local football awards. I think now is the time they explain to us how the nominations are done so that we can also appreciate the processes and perhaps stop questioning their nominations,” Kgaogano opined. “There has to be clarity on the criteria and the guidelines that the BPL TSG uses for their nominations,” he added.

Commenting on this season’s Coach of the Season nominees, Kgaogano said there are a lot of questions that need to be answered to give them credibility.

“I have no doubt that Nthaga did well at the helm of Systems, but did he do better than Madinda Ndlovu? What criterion was used to nominate him ahead of other coaches like Bongani Mafu of Centre Chiefs? These are the questions we need clarity on,” Kgaogano said.

“As for Mpote, questions also need to be asked as to how he came into the list of nominations. Yes, he won the league, but he only took over in January and coached only 60 percent of his team’s games. In other countries, the threshold for coaches and players to be nominated is that they should have coached or played 75 percent of the games. Now, what is the threshold in Botswana?” Kgaogano asked. “We also need clarity here,” he said.  

While he acknowledged that Mpote has not lost a single league game while in charge of Rollers, Kgaogano, however, said if the criterion is based on win percentage or ratio, then the process will be flawed. “That would mean that even if a coach can be in charge for just 10 games and win them all, he will also stand a chance of being nominated. If selection was based on this criterion, then we are bound to ask why Extension Gunners coach Itumeleng Duicker is not in the nomination list,” Kgaogano opined.

The same sentiments were shared by Mmegi Sports Editor Mqondisi Dube, who said the BPL TSG has to be clear on what they are looking at when nominating people for awards.

“At this moment, it is very difficult to critic the nominations because we do not know the criterion used. We have always wanted to know what the BPL TSG is looking at when making these nominations. Is it the number of appearances? How they finished on the log standings? Do they look at the resources teams are working with? These are some of the issues we need clarity on,” Dube said.

Just as Kgaogano, Dube said if the criterion for nominations was clear, there probably would be no questions on how coaches or players made the nomination list.

“We would perhaps understand how Nthaga got the nod ahead of Mafu at Centre Chiefs or Rapelang Tsatsilebe at Black Forest. Was it due to where they finished on the league log? Was there any consideration made to the circumstances or the resources a nominee worked under? At this moment, even the Black Forest coach can come forth and say given the resources I had at my disposal, I did better than all the nominees, who had good resources,” Dube opined.

“If you look at all the coaches nominated, you will realise that they were working under stable conditions with better resources at their disposal. However, some of the coaches who are not in the nomination list achieved with less resources to work with. So, was that taken into consideration?” the Mmegi Sports scribe asked.

He also said the BPL TSG has to clarify whether the win ratio is considered when the nominations are made. Should this be the criteria, Dube said then there would be a need to clarify the percentage of number of games someone should have coached or played in to be nominated.

Both Kgaogano and Dube are of the opinion that going forth, the BPL should put in place a system that will guide how the nominations are done.

“If we have a system in place, we will not have a cloud on nominees as the system itself will pick winners,” Dube concluded.


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