Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Tshosane walking a tight rope

Football coaching can be a thankless job and locally there is no one who can attest to that more than the Zebras’ gaffer, Stanley Tshosane. This time last year, every Motswana was singing praise songs about him. Tshosane was the first coach to take the Zebras to their first African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which was played in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Hardly a year on, Tshosane is the unwanted man after his side crumbled to a 7-1 aggregate loss to Mali, which denied the Zebras a second appearance at the continental showpiece. What could have changed in a short space of time? Sunday Standard journalist TSHEPO MOLWANE writes.

The 1-0 win over Chad in N’djamena on March 26 last year filled the country with joy as the Zebras were going to test their strength against the big boys at AFCON. Little did most people know that it marked the end of the team’s success.

Since that day, the Zebras have gone nine official games without a win. That means Tshosane’s troops have gone 810 minutes of competitive football without a victory.

In those games, the Zebras conceded 21 goals and managed to score five. That has not gone down well with multitudes of passionate football supporters.

And there is one man who faces the wrath of Batswana: Stanley Hunter Tshosane.

It seems his fairytale run, which started on July 1 2010 has come to an end. The hunter has turned into the hunted.

Following the Zebras’ disappointing performance against Mali, Batswana have not minced their words; they want Tshosane and his technical team out. According to many, there is need for a new foreign coach, preferably from Europe. Those close to the Zebras’ camp say Tshosane has lost control of the dressing room ever since returning from AFCON. This has seen most of the senior players opting not to play for the national team citing different reasons.

“Ever since he (Tshosane) qualified the team to AFCON, he has been untouchable. He started belittling the players and having his favourites. That is not right. Take for example Dipsy (Selolwane)’s retirement, it has nothing to do with the fact that he is tired. No. If he can play in the demanding South African league, then it means he can also perform for the Zebras. It’s only that Dipsy is a well-mannered player and didn’t want to make it clear that he has problems with Stan. He has lost total control of the dressing room,” said a source.

The source further pointed out that players like Pontsho Moloi, Tshepo Motlhabankwe, Onalethata Tshekiso and Dirang Moloi will never don the Zebras’ shirt again if Tshosane continues to be the head coach.

“If you start having issues with the players then there is a problem. I think the best way for BFA (Botswana Football Association) is to fire him. We need a new coach before the 2014 World Cup qualifiers continue, a coach who will give the players the respect they deserve,” continued the source. Though BFA president Tebogo Sebego has played his cards close to his chest when responding to nationwide calls to fire Tshosane, sources reveal that it is a matter of time before he is shown the exit door. Those in the know say Sebego and his team are still studying the gaffer’s contract. The National Executive Committee (NEC) is expected to fire the former BDF XI coach in the near future.

A Notwane supporter, Meshack Tamocha, once said; “When you go to the senior school from junior secondary, you are not taught by the same teachers. As much as we appreciate that Stan has taken us to AFCON we need a more experienced foreign coach.”

Former Zebras’ captain, Itumeleng Duiker, on Friday morning said that watching the team play, one could tell that there is a problem. He said the body language of the players showed that there was need for motivation.

“Tshosane is the only one who can sort out the mess in our team, if not, then there is a need to look for a new man. The fact that players continue to turn down national call-ups shows that there is something they are not telling us,” said Duiker who has over 50 caps for the Zebras.

Peace Makers coach, Edwin Masire, said that it is disturbing to hear that Tshosane has lost control of the dressing room.

“The reports we hear in the corridors are not good for the Zebras. If what we hear out there is true, then there is need to put the house in order before things get worse,” said Masire.

He pointed out that firing Tshosane right now will be a bad call since the 2014 World Cup qualifiers are five months away.

“BFA needs to sit down with him (Tshosane) and clear the negative reports coming from his camp,” he said.

Btv presenter, Aaron Radira weighed in and said: “As much as we can blame the coach, I think we’re pointing fingers at the wrong direction. We might have high hopes (after qualifying for AFCON) but we do not have the right structures to ensure that there is continuity.”

As things stand, Tshosane is walking a tight rope. He has already hinted that he will welcome any decision that the BFA takes in the coming days.

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