Tuesday, May 11, 2021

I did not betray Notwane- Petersen

When Petersen arrived in the country in early November last year, he was completely an unknown figure in Botswana football circles. Notwane described him as an intelligent coach who would take their ailing club to the Promised Land. He portrayed a cool figure, fully focused on turning Toronto’s fortunes around. Under his mentorship, Toronto showed a steady progress though they were inconsistent in terms of results.

After guiding Notwane to a hard fought 1-0 win over Extension Gunners at SSKB Stadium on Sunday and with supporters hoping for more positive results, the unexpected happened. Petersen hit his bosses with a resignation letter accusing the management for failing to deliver on their promises.

Notwane publicity officer, James Mooki, said that the coach did not even give them a room for discussions hence they were left with no choice but to look elsewhere for someone to steer the ship against Mochudi Centre Chiefs at SSKB Stadium yesterday.

While accusing fingers are pointing at Petersen for betraying the club which has given him a chance to coach in Botswana’s top flight, the tactician told this publication on Friday afternoon that he is innocent. “I am a man of my word and if you promise me something you better keep your word. If you fail on your promises, it is best that you come back to me and I’ll understand. But they kept on making promises which were not fulfilled. I got tired of that hence I walked out,” said Petersen. The South African-born said during his time at Notwane, he gave his best and enjoyed every moment with the club. “It’s unfortunate that I had to move on because football is my life. The committee members are a nice bunch of guys to work with but they must learn to keep their word. I enjoyed a healthy working relationship with the boys and they were starting to understand my philosophy,” he continued.

Petersen applauded Notwane supporters for being there for him even when things were not going their way. He encouraged them to continue rallying behind the new regime. “Notwane supporters will always have a soft place in my heart because of their undivided love they showed me. But they need to understand that these things in football happen. I think they’ll find it in their heart to forgive me because circumstances did not allow me to stay put,” he said.

Immediately after his resignation, they were reports that Petersen dumped Toronto because he received a huge offer from Extension Gunners. He has since distanced himself from the reports. “At the time I walked out, there was nothing concrete on the table. I started receiving offers (on Wednesday) and the present moment I’ve not signed any agreement with any club. Yes, I’m talking to Gunners and we’ll see what comes out of it,” he added.

Petersen was introduced to Gunners’ players on Thursday evening alongside his assistant Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul as the new men to take over the reins. He replaces fired Serbian Dragojlo Stanojlovic who failed to win a game in six matches. Gunners chairman Kitso Dlamini confirmed the developments but said that no contract has been signed. “Yes, he agreed to our offer but the contract is not yet in place. But I think in no time we would have signed on the dotted line,” said Dlamini.

Gunners host BR Highlanders at Lobatse Sports Complex this afternoon with an aim of picking their first win in seven matches.

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