Welfare issues a baptism of fire for Taylor
Zebras welfare is top priority ahead of COSAFA Cup -CEO
‘We are fully behind Dambe’- Masaseng
Zebras star goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe has blasted football motherbody -the Botswana Football Association (BFA), regarding welfare issues of the national team. The talented goalkeeper walked away from camp threatening not to play until welfare concerns are addressed. His action has once again highlighted the BFA’s shortcomings in catering for players’ needs hence Dambe’s social media rants as a cry for help.
Botswana Footballers Union (FUB) Secretary General, Kgosana Masaseng said they support Dambe and his decision calling for action to address players’ grievances. He said this was not Dambe’s issue alone as these are matters they have repeatedly raised with BFA. Additionally, Masaseng blamed BFA as Dambe had before raised the issues with the national team using the right platform. “This is not news and the BFA need to introspect their reporting mechanism and check if they are doing justice to players and other stakeholders in the football fraternity,” he cautioned.
According to Masaseng the BFA has confirmed a meeting with them next week Wednesday which he hopes will serve to address pending issues of return to play and the players’ welfare. Furthermore, as the FUB they have written to the BFA as per complaints from players about former head coach Adel Amrouche and this further presented them with an opportunity to standardize working relations regarding the national team. This will be paired with a standard code of conduct for players in camp with the expectation to curb issues of indiscipline. “It is important for the BFA to address these issues broadly to help us identify areas we can improve on,” said Masaseng.
BFA Chief Executive Officer, Goabaone Taylor said Dambe has not made any official communication with them, but they will see to it that they meet him. She also admitted to feeling the pressure that comes with the territory fueled by longstanding welfare issues. She explained that they continue to deliberate and assess the situation to try and figure out ways of mitigating and improving the situation in a satisfactory response.
Taylor said they are in discussions with government and the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to investigate incentives, allowances and appearance fees ahead of the COSAFA cup for the players which will be finalized soon. “There are so many other things that we can put in place with a supported budget. We are at a very early stage and there is a lot of work to be done,” she added. The COSAFA Cup marks the national team’s last game and Taylor believes the break will give them much needed time to resolve existing issues. The BFA will also start recruitment for a head coach as soon as possible, she said.
Zebras interim Head Coach Letang ‘Rasta’ Kgengwenyane is confident that the squad will improve their position from the last tournament this time around and the intention is to bring the trophy home. His final squad comprises of new players and core players for the purpose of continuity and to maintain the same squad for the next six years without a need to change. Notably so, the average qualifier age has been dropped from 26 to 24 years to ensure that they have a strong team in the future who will carry on from their predecessors.
Rasta is ecstatic over the new COSAFA format which he said is an advantage from the previous format which limited them to 3 games and the finals. “Now we stand a chance to play 5 games allowing the players more game time and exposure,” he said, adding that he is positive that this will make the game more competitive but equally challenging. “We finished runners up last time, and this time intend to bring COSAFA home,” he added.
Over three weeks into training, Zebras has not had any health compliance issues during training and Team Dr Richard Motlhabakgomo confirmed that they conducted testing when camp commenced. Dr Motlhabakgomo also said the players have not shown any suggestive symptoms and are currently in a bubble at a local hotel. The host country South Africa is currently experiencing its third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic however player safety has been insured with another bubble awaiting the players upon arrival.
Final COSAFA Cup 2021 Squad
- Ezekiel Morake
- Lesenya Malepela
- Keagile Kgosipula
- Goitseone Legopelo
- Thabo Leinanyane
- Mothusi Johnson
- Kitso Mangolo
- Thatayaone Ditlhokwe
- Thato Kebue
- Mosha Gaolaolwe
- Fortunate Thulare
- Mothusi Cooper
- Godiraone Modingwane
- Gape Mohutsiwa
- Segolame Boy
- Kutlwelo Mpolokag
- Mpho Kgomo
- Tshepo Setsile
- Kago Monyake
- Kabelo Seakanyeng
- Elias Mbatshi
- Tumisang Orebonye
- Thatayaone Kgamanyane
Botswana sits in Pool A and will play against South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini.