The future of the Zebras’ head coach Stanley Tshosane remains uncertain after his side dismally bowed out of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Libreville, Gabon, on Wednesday night.
Botswana finished bottom of Group D without a single point in their maiden appearance at the continental showpiece. Since then, there have been mixed feelings about whether the former army colonel should continue with the Zebras or not. Tshosane whose contract with Botswana Football Association (BFA) expires next month has already showed interest in continuing to drill the team.
This week, Tshosane is expected to give BFA leadership his AFCON report and, according to sources inside Lekidi Football Centre, it is his report which is likely to determine his future.
While the future of Tshosane remains uncertain, he has already received thumbs-up from some quarters. Those who think that Tshosane should remain in charge of the Zebras say that even though his side failed to win a game, there is a future in his team.
Former Notwane player Podi ‘Ace’ Mooki said that it will be suicidal if the association can think of changing coaches now. His reason is based on the fact that the qualifiers of 2014 World Cup in Brazil kick off in June while those of 2013 AFCON in South Africa are billed for September.
“It was a good learning curve for Tshosane. I think against Guinea (where the Zebras lost 6-1) he should have stuck to his game plan which made the Zebras qualify for AFCON. There was no need for him to change but at the same time we can’t crucify him for that,” he said.
Mooki pointed out that the most important thing to do right now is to bring in new blood into the team.
Radio Botswana (RB 1) commentator, Tiroyaone Lepotokisi, shared the same sentiments with Mooki. He believes that Tshosane has created a relationship with the current players which in a long run will continue to benefit the country. He said that it is up to Tshosane to decide the plan for the upcoming qualifiers.
“There is no time for a new coach. The only thing which worries me is that we were the oldest team at AFCON alongside Ivory Coast. I think there should be a proper transition of players. It’s up to the coach to decide whether to beef up the squad or not,” observed Lepotokisi.
For his part, BDF XI publicity officer, Philemon Mompati said, “I don’t have a problem with Stan continuing with his job. The thing is we should let him coach the team and stop being negative.”
Veteran South African football journalist Cebo Manyaapelo warned BFA not to make a mistake by firing Tshosane. Though Manyaapelo feels the former BDF XI coach erred by changing his game plan against Guinea, he feels overall the Zebras were not a bad team.
“There is no need to press the panic buttons. That team has potential (of reaching 2013 AFCON). They’ve learned something in Gabon which will see them through in the upcoming qualifiers. Bringing a new coach will be a big mistake because he’ll have to learn the players and your football,” said the SABC commentator.
Manyaapelo advised that it is important that the Zebras keep the core of the team which was in Gabon.
“Maybe three or four players have to be replaced in the current team. Talk-Talk (Tshepo Motlhabankwe) has lost pace, (Modiri) Marumo is not for the future as he has reached his peak. I guess by 2014, guys like Mogogi (Gabonamong) and Dipsy (Selolwane) won’t be there,” he said.
The veteran journalist pleaded with Batswana to continue giving Tshosane support.
Former Zebras’ star Scara Kebalepile differed, saying that Tshosane has to be fired because he has failed the country. He appreciated that he qualified the Zebras for their first appearance at AFCON but he was exposed at the tournament.
“We need someone who is neutral and who will pick players on credit. If we keep him we need to get someone with more experience from outside to help Tshosane,” said Kebalepile.