The Director of Culture, Sports and Recreation at the University of Botswana (UB), Raj Rathedi, has lamented the employment of foreigners as national team head coaches.
Speaking to The Telegraph Sports Rathedi, a retired marathon athlete, expressed disappointment that even after years of recorded failures, foreign coaches are still being hired to lead the national team.
“After so many years of independence, it is unacceptable for our teams to be coached by foreign nationals instead of choosing from the pool of talent that we have here in the country,” he lamented.
He went on to add that the country has many homegrown coaches who are capable of coaching the national team.
“We have well qualified coaches, the likes of Major David Bright, Colonel Stanley Tshosane, Losika Six Keatlholetswe, Sepheko Motlhagodi, Matshidiso Saxton Kowa, Keitumetse Pio Paul, Philemon Makhwengwe and Mogomotsi Teenage Mpote, just to name a few,” he said.
Rathedi however said this does not necessarily mean he believes that foreign coaches have anything to do with the poor national team’s results.
“Even if the 10 best coaches in the world could come here, they would not do anything,” he said.
“It has nothing to do with any national coach including Batswana. The main problem is that there is no blueprint for soccer in the country,” he explained.
He said the main hindrance to the country excelling at national team level is lack of ‘proper football structures especially in development.’
“Basically, our players mostly depend only on inborn natural talent which we have in abundance in this country. So, if a foreign coach comes here, with the belief that they can do miracles with our teams, then there is something wrong with their thinking,” Rathedi said.
He said if there are local administrators who hold the view that locals cannot lead the national team, it would be ‘an insult to our coaches and the nation.’
“We have a Motswana President leading this country, a Motswana leading the BFA as president and Batswana MP’s heading our constituencies. Why then should we have a non-Motswana leading our national soccer team? Anything special about them? We have had so many of them before. What have they achieved?” Rathedi asked rhetorically.
When asked on the best solution to all this, Rathedi said “A national soccer blueprint has to be developed and implemented. The sooner the better, because it is a long process.”
Rathedi however said he could not point an accusing figure at anyone as it would be unfair to do such.
“I think it would be unfair to my Government, BFA, and National Sporting authorities, if I blamed them. Unfortunately sport, in particular coaching, is very scientific and is an art by nature. Many of our people do not understand this. And it would be wrong to blame people on something they are not qualified to appreciate. But at the end of the day these people must take responsibility for this.”
“From a distance, it is difficult to tell if technically BFA gives the national team support. But I understand the welfare of the coaches and rest of the technical and support staff needs to be improved. I know for a fact that some national coaches are still volunteers and some are invited very late to camp which could disrupt progress. Also in some cases our coaches don’t have the freedom to select their own technical and support staff. But I must say, there have been some improvements,” opined Rathedi.
While he has of recent been criticizing foreign national team coaches openly through his Facebook page, Rathedi said he does not mean to rub anyone the wrong way.
“I am in good terms with authorities and I would never do anything to ridicule them. I do directly talk to them about a wide range of issues,” he said. “Just this past week, I had friendly chats with Minister Tumiso Rakgare, Ministry Officials, Sports Commission officials and Region5 officials. So basically my posts are to share my personal and humble views on the Botswana sports situation because I am not only friends with Botswana sports but well qualified to express my views. I didn’t really expect much from the posts but I do understand that they are being appreciated by a lot of people. It would be very unfortunate if anyone, for some strange reason, could take this personal,” he concluded.