This past week, administrators at Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s Lekidi headquarters found themselves on the backfoot as allegations of racism by the national team coach Adel Amrouche emerged.
Now, like a loose thread, what started as a mere social media rumour is now threatening to unravel what is left of the old worn-out BFA fabric.
From the ashes of the allegations, the veracity of which is yet to be proven, now emerges tales of an association free falling into a shitstorm.
From issues of a disjointed technical team led by ‘a seemingly paranoid coach,’ to tales of a secretariat besieged by internal wars and a BFA National Executive Committee divided by political factions and ‘devoid of leadership,’ Lekidi, it seems is on free fall.
For those around and close to Lekidi, ‘the proverbial poop is about to hit the fan at Lekidi,’ and the allegations against Amrouche may just be the catalyst to hasten the process.
“Ever since the last elections, the association has been on a downward spiral. Lekidi is basically animal farm,” one administrator says.
The administrator points out that since the elections, there has been a jostling of power perpetuated by political affiliations and unfulfilled promises within Lekidi, and Amrouche has not been spared.
“For a long time, he (Amrouche) has had ongoing battles with some members of the BFA junior management and some of his own technical team,” the administrator revealed.
“At one point, he accused one of the junior management team members of selling intel about a Zebras game to an opponent,” the administrator reveals.
According to the administrator, while the coach banned the said junior administrator from getting anywhere near the team, the matter was never taken seriously as the coach never produced proof.
It is also alleged that ahead of the Zambian match, the coach also alleged another junior manager at Lekidi was out to sabotage him as the officer deliberately slowed down the process to get him a COVID-19 visa to enter Botswana.
“He alleged that the said junior manager wanted to delay his visa so that he could not be on the bench when Botswana played Zambia. He alleged that when the junior manager heard that his COVID-19 visa was being processed, he accused health officials of being biased and expediting helping the coach as ‘he is white,” the administrator says.
Aside from the junior management officers, the administrator says the coach had also butted heads with members of the technical team he inherited, some of whom he then purged from the national team.
The members include one junior national team coach, the then team manager, the physical trainer as well as the then national team Doctor, most of whom he accused of lack of professionalism.
From that moment on, the administrator says the coach has seemingly been paranoid as he does not trust many within the Lekidi corridors.
“It is not surprising that when the allegations of racism against him appeared, the coach immediately pointed an accusing finger at all those he has been fighting with as the sources of such.”
“The recent raiding of his camp by the Botswana National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) only fuelled the coach’s paranoia and he believes someone is out to get him,” the administrator says.
For his part, Amrouche says he is not bothered as he is focussed on helping the team to qualify for the African Cup of Nations.
He however confirmed the administrators’ assertions that he (Amrouche) believes there are people in Lekidi who are intent on sabotaging his team’s efforts to qualify.
Amrouche says contrary to allegations, Mishani Thupa left the camp due to an injury he incurred at Gaborone United before coming to camp, while Tshepo Maikano left to resolve personal issues.
“I was shocked to see GU had written to the BFA seeking clarity on Mishani’s situation while they knew before the player came to camp that he was carrying an injury,” he says.
To prove a point, the coach showed this publication a copy of an email from one doctor advising GU of Thupa’s injury.
Amrouche also says the raiding of his camp was a calculated plan by those against him to destabilise his team ahead of the crucial qualifiers.
At secretariat level, the administrator says the same problems as those at the technical team also manifested as the same junior management officers mentioned by the coach also butted heads with the then Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo.
“Unfortunately for Mfolo, there were also some members of the BFA NEC who sided with these junior management officers to take him out and they succeeded,” the administrator explains.
“All these problems are reflective of the BFA NEC. There is a leadership vacuum at the NEC and it is divided into many factions,” the administrator explains.
The administrator says as of now, decisions at Lekidi are taken by a certain faction while other members are excluded in decision making.
“The BFA NEC should have met sometime in January but up to date, the meeting has never materialised, yet decisions are being taken,” he says.
He says because the leadership at Lekidi is nowhere to be seen, the current situations will grow gradually and may explode suddenly.
The administrator says should things continue to unravel at Lekidi as they are right now, he is not sure the current BFA NEC would see off its tenure in office.