Under-fire Zebras’ head coach Stanley Tshosane has been given a lifeline, at least for now. When the Zebras returned home from the CHAN qualifier against Zambia on August 4 where the local lads lost 2-0 (3-1 on aggregate), it was a given that Tshosane would be shown the door by his employers, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) the following week.
This was due to the pressure from the football public following the Zebras’ dismal performance in the competitive games.
Sunday Standard can reveal that BFA leadership even went to the extent of approaching Gaborone United (GU) head coach, David Bright, with an intention of roping him in as an interim coach for the last Fifa World Cup qualifier against South Africa on September 7.
Two weeks after the Zebras’ return, Tshosane’s sacking has not happened though it looked imminent in the weeks building-up to the CHAN qualifier. Following a number of closed-door meetings, it is understood that BFA has now taken a decision to stick with Tshosane up until after the game against Bafana Bafana at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
It is a game which the Zebras go into with an outside chance of getting a place in the third round of the qualifiers.
“If BFA managed to get someone in time to replace Tshosane they could have fired him when he returned from Zambia. Unfortunately, the news that they were planning to rope in Bright on an interim basis leaked out and they chickened out of the deal. As we speak, the NEC has taken a decision to let Tshosane go so it is a matter of time. But I can confirm that unlike the initial plan he would sit on the bench when we play Bafana Bafana,” said a source at Lekidi.
While Tshosane has made it clear that he would not be forced out because he has a contract with BFA, it is understood that the national executive committee is working around the clock to find a European coach to take charge of the Zebras. It is reported that Tshosane would cost the BFA around P1.8m if they were to part ways. When contacted for comment on Friday morning, BFA vice-president, technical, Ernest Nthobelang confirmed that they had decided to stick with Tshosane for now. He said it would have been suicidal to let him go with a single game to go in the qualifiers.
“We are aware of the pressure from the general public but it would have not made sense to fire him now. The game against South Africa is important as we might go through to the phase so it is important to have a coach who understands our culture and the players,” said Nthobelang. ┬á
He pointed out that after the game against South Africa it is then that they will sit down with Tshosane and decide on the way forward.
“Obviously, there were some deliverables that we set for the coach. After all the qualifiers it will make sense to sit down and review how the team performed overall. I cannot confirm that we’ll part ways with the coach because that is a decision which will be taken at an executive level,” said Nthobelang.
Meanwhile, Nthobelang has dismissed recent speculations that they turned down offers for friendly games during the Fifa date last week. He pointed out that they would have loved the Zebras to play but it was difficult to get opponents.
“All I know is that before we play South Africa, we’ll play Libya away in Morocco at their invitation. The CEO (Keith Masters) was busy trying to get another friendly game against Angola as part of preparations for the last World Cup qualifier,” said Nthobelang.