Thursday, December 2, 2021

Will they ever get it right?

This past week, Botswana Football Association (BFA) made it known it had parted ways with senior national team coach Adel Amrouche.

While it was long known that the two had gone separate ways, this did not stop the association from sticking its own foot in its own mouth.

In a bid to sugar coat the messy breakup between the two, the association alleged in its long-winded press release that Amrouche had ‘asked for a leave of absence to attend to a personal matter.’ 

“The Botswana Football Association (BFA) wishes to inform the public that he (Amrouche) has been granted the leave with immediate effect,” the association stated in its press release.

“The BFA understands and supports Mr. Amrouche’s situation and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours,” said BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Goabaone G. Taylor. 

However, according to sources, the assertions by the BFA that the coach had asked for a leave of absence to attend to a personal matter are far from true.

“It is true that the coach asked for a leave of absence from the team, but it is not true that he did this to attend to a personal matter,” the source explained.

The source said as of now, the coach is still in the country and he looks likely to stay here until his contract lapses in August.

According to the source, following last week’s gaffes where the association tried to force his hand with regards to team selections, the coach felt his authority in the team was compromised.

In a gaffe that left the association with an egg on the face, a lapse in communication turned the senior national camp on its head as players downed tools in support of fellow teammates who had been axed by the coach.

The players had wrongly believed that as per an alleged communication from the BFA hierarchy, the coach had axed the players to make room for young players in the team.

“Following the incident, the BFA leadership then, without the coach’s consent, called back some of the axed players into camp,” the source said.

The source said this left the coach ‘feeling he was not entirely in control of the team, more especially as this was his last assignment.’

“This was not helped by the fact that his departure was long announced. The coach now felt all this undermined his authority and players were unlikely to obey his instructions as he would have wished,” the source explained.

“He then requested the BFA leadership to excuse him from the camp as he felt the atmosphere would have made it hard for him to successfully lead the team.”  

Speaking on condition of anonymity, another source said the association pushed out Amrouche and made a near fatal mistake in the process.

“Whatever they say, we know he was fired. They should not try to lie to us and tell us they amicably parted ways,” the source said.

“The announcement of his departure was premature and shows short sightedness. It has now thrown the team preparations for COSAFA tournament into disarray,” the source explained.

According to the source, the association is now running helter-skelter to find an assistant coach for Letang Kgengwenyane, who is expected to be the team’s stand-in coach.

“They have been tapping some names but at most and it seems no coach is available to step in,” said the source.

It is alleged that in a desperate attempt to find Kgengwenyane an assistant, the BFA even tried to rope in one of the junior national team coaches but were turned down.

“The said coach informed the BFA that he was already busy preparing his team for its next assignment and could not abandon his duties. He also felt coming so late into the camp would be disruptive as he does not know the philosophy of the senior team which can compromise it,” the source said.

“The other coaches who can assist are better qualified than Kgengwenyane and there is a fear that they may feel slighted if they are roped in to work under him. Now the association finds itself in a very difficult position,” he said.

On Amrouche, the source said the Algerian had eyed the COSAFA tournament as his last chance to redeem his coaching credentials.

“He really wanted to lead the team and he was eyeing silverware. Unfortunately, things did not turn out as he had wished.

The COSAFA tournament is set to take place in Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa from 7-18 July 2021.

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