The departure of troubled former Township Rollers coach Mark Harrison ahead of the demanding CAF Champions League has brought problems for the Gaborone West-based club.
Caretaker coach Mogomotsi “Teenage” Mpote is not accredited with a CAF A coaching license required in the tournament.
This week, Rollers management sought advice and intervention from the Botswana Football Association (BFA). The club revealed that they intended to write a letter to the BFA so that the local football body could liaise with CAF to convince them to allow Mpote, who possesses a CAF B licence, to sit on the bench as head coach if they fail to secure a coach before the African clubs extravaganza begins.
Defending BTC Premiership champions Rollers have been pitted against Madagascar club, Caisse Nationale de Prevoyance Sociale Sport, in the CAF Champions League preliminary stage in a draw that was conducted last month in Egypt. The two-legged preliminary commences on February 10 with the return leg scheduled after a fortnight.
In an interview with Sunday Standard this week, Rollers spokesperson Bafana Pheto revealed that it was regrettable to lose a coach just ahead of a competition that demands specific qualifications. Pheto said they would not be under any pressure to rope in a coach before the champions league encounter as the team will be looking for a suitable candidate.
“Our president Jagdish Shah is currently out of the country searching for a suitable coach. The team is now guided by Mpote with a CAF B coaching license. The BFA offices have just opened this week; we will write a letter to the association to seek permission to have Mpote on board as head coach if the club fails to secure a coach before the Champions League resumes,” Pheto said.
Pheto hinted that CAF was professionally run and should be able to accommodate such predicaments that befell their club. “We believe CAF caters for incidents of losing a coach hence pleading to be allowed to compete without a CAF A licensed coach if it happens we do not secure a suitable mentor for the club should be heeded. We have a mission to conquer Africa and going into the group stages of the tournament will be an achievement for us. It is only a matter of winning the preliminary and the next stage before the group stage that we believe is possible,” Pheto said.
BFA spokesperson Tumo Mpatane said they had not received the letter yet but the situation would be dealt with accordingly. “It is a matter that has to be addressed to us by the Botswana Premier League (BPL). It will be upon the outcry then we can advice on measures to be taken,” Mpatane said.
Meanwhile, Orapa United will be making their debut in continental competitions in the Confederations Cup. The Orapa outfit has been drawn against Swaziland MTN log leaders Mbabane Swallows in a tricky affair. The winner will face Azam of Tanzania in the first round of the competition.