Botswana’s coaching merry-go-round
The imminent appointment of Drajoglo Stanojlovic as Extension Gunners’ new coach has continued a trend in which local clubs seem to rotate and reappoint coaches. Numerous coaches have either swapped clubs or reappeared at their old clubs in recent years, this has led observers to conclude that most beMobile Premier League clubs are limited to one pool of coaches.
Stanojlovic, who was recently sacked by Mochudi Centre Chiefs, is expected to be confirmed as the new Gunners coach. His predecessor Mike Sithole has joined Magosi.
The likes of Beston Chambesi, Mike Sithole, Rahman Gumbo and Madinda Ndlovu have been recurring appointments at Gaborone United, Chiefs and Township Rollers in the past nine years.
Sithole is the only coach to have had spells at all three of Botswana’s top clubs, he won trophies in each of his spells at Chiefs, Rollers and GU. He joined Mochudi Centre Chiefs and led them to their first ever league title in 2008 where they finished the season unbeaten.
He then joined Gaborone United and orchestrated their 2008/2009 league title triumph. He was appointed by Township Rollers in 2012 on an interim basis and helped them win the 2012 Mascom Top 8 Cup. The Zambian left the club at the end of the 2011/12 season.
Last season he returned to Rollers for another short spell, he was appointed to rescue Popa’s disastrous season under Darlington Dodo. He was widely tipped to become Popa’s long term coach but the club elected to appoint Madinda Ndlovu last year. Sithole has resurfaced at Magosi after signing a two year deal.
The Zambian has coached Magosi on two occasions, in 2003 and 2008. The Kgatleng giants approached him during the off season before they hired Stanojlovic but he rejected them to stay in Zambia. The club tried to sign him again last month before approaching Sithole.
The Zimbabwean first came to the local league to coach Rollers, he led the club to the 2009/2010 league title. He left the club the following season to join their arch rivals, Magosi. Gumbo has now been appointed as GU’s technical director, reports indicate that he could eventually become the club’s coach in the near future. If it happens he would follow the footsteps of Sithole as the only foreign coach to have coached Chiefs, Rollers and GU.
Ndlovu’s first stint in local football was in 2005 when he was appointed by Rollers. He has also coached the likes of Nico United and Motlakase in recent years. In 2011 he joined Magosi and led them to back to back league titles in 2012 and 2013. He surprised the local football fraternity by joining Rollers for a second spell, he has managed to turn the team into genuine title contenders after two years away from title contention.
Local coaches overlooked?
Observations from local spectators have pointed to the fact that local coaches are seldom given chances to coach the top clubs.
However, most of the world’s top clubs are always reluctant to appoint local coaches. In the English Premier League all the top four clubs are led by foreign tacticians. Manchester City is coached by Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, Arsenal by Frenchman Arsene Wenger, Liverpool have Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers while Chelsea are led by Portugal’s Jose Mourinho.
In the Spanish league, Barcelona is coached by Argentine Gerardo Martino, Real Madrid by Italian Carlo Ancelotti while Atletico Madrid is under the tutelage of Argentine Diego Simeone.
Major David Bright is the only local coach who is at the helm in Botswana’s traditional big four clubs. Rollers have Ndlovu (Zimbabwe), Chiefs have Sithole (Zambia) and BDF XI are coached by Elijah Chikwanda (Zambia).
Former Chiefs assistant coach Innocent Morapedi was never given a chance to lead the side on a permanent basis despite being the longest serving member of their technical team. Morapedi was the club’s assistant for seven years; he was the club’s interim coach on numerous occasions. Daniel Nare once led Chiefs on an interim basis as well.