From the dizzy highs of first ever Premier League promotion to the euphoria of beating Township Rollers to reach their first ever FA cup final to the current chaos, life has really come full cycle for Premier League debutants Masitaoka Football Club.
The Molepolole based outfit sees itself caught in unchartered and turbulent waters.
This past week, interim co-coaches Thatayaone Mothuba and Ofentse Mapeu were relieved from duty, giving way to Michael Mogaladi to take over. They also announced the removal from duty of Technical Manager Nelson Olebile.
This was the third major shakeup in the team’s technical setup in a space of thirty days. The first shakeup had seen Olebile relieved of his duties as head coach to give way to as co-coaches Mothuba and Mapeo.
Since the removal of Olebile, the team has not fared as well as may have been expected. The team now hovers just a few points live in the periphery of a relegation dog fight, questions are starting to arise as to what could have happened for a team that arrived with so much promise in the elite league.
“Definitely, this has nothing to do with resources,” football administrator Leviet Ntwayagae says. “Aryl Ralebala is a very passionate man and he invests so much in the team,” he vouches.
He points out that if it had anything to do with lack of resources, the team would have not splurged on an entirely new team when it got promoted. In what was a bold move at the start of the season, Masitaoka went on a shopping spree, bringing experienced premier league players into the fold.
This, says Ntwayagae, may have been folly on the team’s part. He believes the team should have just brought a few experienced players to beef its spine and still kept the core of players who had catapulted it to promotion.
As a man who prepared the ground for Masitaoka’s transformation, under Ralebala of course, Ntwayagae says the problem may lie more with the team’s current setup.
“My belief is that when the team arrived in the premier league, it should have employed a steady and experienced person to guide it. None of the team’s current committee members has experience at this level,” he says.
And here, there are pointers that he may be right. In what was a bizzare move, following the departure of team manager Harry Koata, his position was never filled. Instead, the role once played by Koata was moved to the portfolio of the Olebile, who then became ‘the first football manager in Botswana.’
“This was not a well thought move. I think Masitaoka should have just stuck to the standard organogram as set by Botswana Football Association (BFA). In the setup they had with Olebile, he had no supervisor to report to. As a coach, one has to write weekly reports which he discusses with his immediate superior, preferably a technical manager. In this case, there was seemingly no such setup and there was no way they could have revised team performances and worrisome areas that needed improvement,” he observes.
Having himself amassed extensive experience in management from teams such as TAFIC, Tasc and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Ntwayagae says if a team gets a passionate investor such as Ralebala, there needs to be some steady hand to offer guidance and advise.
“If you look at some of the decisions being taken at Masitaoka, it leaves you wondering if there was really a very good advisor. But as I said, these are just my opinions and observations. I do not definitely know what is happening inside there,” he says.