Almost a month ago, Nico United head coach Kenneth Mogae was a hero in the copper-nickel mining town of Selebi-Phikwe after he plotted the downfall of giants Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the first leg of Mascom Top 8 quarterfinal match which was played before an electrifying atmosphere.
Majombolo hammered shell-shocked Magosi 3-0 with all goals scored by Richard Legwaila in the last 10 minutes of that clash. Despite losing 1-0 in the second leg which was played in Molepolole on November 26, Mogae’s charges had already done the damage in their own backyard therefore advancing on a 3-1 goal aggregate.
Those close to the club showered Mogae with praises that he is what the doctor ordered for the Selebi-Phikwe side. The celebrations on the day convinced many that Mogae has a bright future at the club.
Even some of the officials spoke highly about the former Zebras’ assistant coach. Surprisingly a few days down the line, Mogae finds himself amongst the list of the Premier League coaches who have been fired since the beginning of the season.
After 12 months in the job, Mogae who replaced Elijah Chikwanda was relieved of his duties on Monday following a disappointing 1-1 draw with rookies Letlapeng away in Lobatse.
While he bemoaned the lack of quality strikers as the main reason for their awful showing in the League, it was not enough to save his job. In the last four games, Nico United have collected five points, something which chairman Mothusi Taolo said was the main contributing factor in reaching their decision.
“The team was not responding well under him hence the decision to part ways. When the coach comes in, he tells us what he wants to achieve our goals. He did just that and we went to get him the players he was looking for. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t get him the strikers because of the time constraints but we did our best. At the moment we’re trying to find where we can put him within the club’s structure,” said Mothusi.
He pointed out that his committee has so much respect for Mogae and they believe that he can contribute in a different capacity.
“Our decision was solely based on results and the search for the new coach continues. We’ll be advertising soon and by the time we come back in the New Year, I think we’ll be having a new coach,” Taolo continued. Ahead of the weekend’s games, Nico United were sitting on the 11th spot with 12 points from 13 matches.
Mogae becomes the sixth big name coach to get the chop following Thaloba Nthaga (Letlapeng), Innocent Morapedi (Notwane), Paul Moyo (BR Highlanders), Oupa Kowa (ECCO City Greens) and Elijah Chikwanda (BDF XI).
Botswana Football Association (BFA) technical director Benny Kgomela has said that he is worried by the continued firing of the coaches by Premier League coaches. He pointed out that local clubs never give coaches time to build and instead they are only interested in results.
“It is disturbing that by this time a lot of coaches have been fired. That goes to show that our clubs are not sure of what they want when they employ coaches. It seems like they’re only interested in results and one get to wonder if the management ever sit down and wonder if they have enough quality to achieve the results they want. Look at Notwane, they fired Chris (Rabalago) and brought what they claim is an experienced coach (Calvin Petersen) but the results are still not forthcoming,” said Kgomela. The BFA official has called on the clubs to be patient with their coaches in order to build competitive sides.
Gaborone United (GU) secretary Herbert Letsebe said that at times when they part ways with coaches there are other factors apart from the results.
“Yes, results are very important in a game of football but the coach has to contribute in many ways towards the development of the team. We do give coaches to build the team but sometimes you find that when we release him, it would be based on a breach of contract,” said Letsebe.