As he packs his bags to head back to his home country of Zimbabwe, former Gaborone United (GU) gaffer, Elvis Chiweshe, has revealed that he is not a bitter man.
Nevertheless, he is disappointed at the events which led to his dismissal less than a year into his job. Chiweshe parted ways with the Reds on the night of March 26 after the club registered some mixed results in the current campaign. He left GU on the fifth spot with 35 points, eight games away from the end of the fixtures.
Since he left the Reds’ camp, a lot has been said by both the executive committee and supporters. The Zimbabwean remained mum at the reasons which have pushed him out. At the time, he claimed that he had to respect the club and its supporters who have been good to him since he arrived in the country.
On Thursday afternoon, Chiweshe finally broke his silence in an emotional interview at his residence in Maruapula, Gaborone. Clad in FIFA golf shirt and shorts, Chiweshe says he has been disappointed by some misleading reports which have been said about him in the media since leaving the Reds’ hot seat.
He has advised GU officials to always tell the truth rather than make people scapegoats.
“I have been pushed out by selfish GU officials and it’s sad that people are diverting attention by getting rid of me. There are problems at the club within the executive and they won’t disappear by simply firing me. I’ve been working under stress because the environment at the club was not conducive,” said an emotional Chiweshe.
The former Dynamos FC coach was appointed to the Reds’ hot seat in June last year and he was tasked with rebuilding the team. He says when he arrived, there was no team as most of the players from the previous season had been dumped. Only Ofentse Nato, Tshepo Molefe, Stephen Maposa and Mandla Mgadla made the cut, something which saw almost a new team brought in.
According to Chiweshe, the reason he accepted an offer to drill GU is because of the team which he saw playing in the CAF Champions League in 2010 against his then Dynamos.
“At that time GU had a brilliant team which just needed to be polished a bit. But to my surprise the current committee got rid of it and I had to rebuild. I made it clear that since it’s a new team, I need 12 months to put it in shape. During the process of rebuilding the team, I could realize that the management was parallel to me. That clearly showed that things were not going to be easy,” he told Sunday Standard. He pointed out that it is unfair for the current executive committee to expect GU to compete with the likes of Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers who have maintained the core of their squads in the previous three to five season. He said when Chiefs play, it is easy to see that they have been together for sometime which is important in football.
He lambasted the management for being not professional enough to make GU a successful outfit. He pointed out that some members of the committee interfered too much on the technical matters which made his job hell. He showed Sunday Standard some of the sms messages which were sent to him by club officials, especially the then head of recruitment, training and development, Romeo Benjamin.
After the game against TAFIC in Francistown on February 20, in a copy which is in possession of this paper, Benjamin reviewed the team’s performance in which he instructed Chiweshe not to use some of the players.
“He (Bakang Moeng) has not shown that he could be a regular. There is still a lot of immaturity on the player. A creative midfielder, he did not create much and at times delays with the ball. He seems to struggle playing as a second striker,” observed Benjamin.
The official further recommended that the coach should not use Moeng in their next game against Township Rollers to pave the way for ‘better’ players.
Chiweshe added that such things made it difficult for him to come up with a winning team because, in his own words, Moeng is an intelligent player who needed time to adjust to a new environment having joined from Uniao Flamengo Santos at the start of the current campaign. He says to make matters worse, he has never had a full contingent of players since the season kicked off due to injuries and suspension.
“GU decided to only have 21 players for the season which included four goalkeepers. Which means that we only have 17 infield players, so with injuries then we were bound to suffer,” he pointed out.
In his parting note, Chiweshe thanked GU director, Nicholas Zackhem, and supporters for their love and care since he arrived at the club. He said it made him feel at home, especially that his whole family is back in Zimbabwe.
He urged the executive committee to learn from the previous committee which led GU into an amazing performance in Africa.
“That committee planned well hence they won the league during 2008/09 season. They were an organized side which won a lot of accolades when they came to play us (Dynamos) in Zimbabwe. They (previous committee) had a vision and it was important to have continuity,” he said.