Why BFA Fired Pio Paul

| May 22, 2015

The firing of national Under 23 coach, Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul, has shocked some in the football fraternity especially that it came two days ahead of a crucial African championship qualifier.

The Young Zebras take on Young Chipolopolo in Lobatse Friday evening (May 22).

Paul was fired after he complained that his plans were disrupted following the roping in of some U 23 players into the senior team. He also lamented that, despite being an assistant coach in the senior Zebras, he was not part of the selection panel for the COSAFA-bound team.

The social media has been abuzz with debates about the Botswana Football Association (BFA) decision. Some supporters accused the Botswana Football Association (BFA) of lacking vision and failing to support Paul.

Some said it was ill aised for BFA to take that decision just two days before a crucial encounter.

However, BFA president, Tebogo Sebego was unapologetic about their decision. He said what should be borne in mind was that the senior national team coach was the overseer of all national teams, hence he must have all the resources at his disposal because he had contractual obligations to meet.

“Look, [Peter] Butler has set targets and the reason why we had wanted both the Zebras and Under 23 coaches to work together was because we wanted to create a symbiotic relationship between the two given that the Under 23 is the last development stage,” reckoned Sebego.

Sebego further said the Under 23 coach’s mandate was to support and embrace all the senior team coach’s initiatives. Quizzed whether it was appropriate to fire a coach on the eve of a crucial game, Sebego said, “there is never a right time to take action, therefore you have to deal with the problem when it occurs,” he said.

He noted that had they waited for what other people termed as “the right time”, they would have given Paul a licence to besmirch BFA’s reputation. He said they fired him following a spate of public statements that showed he undermined the association and its leadership.

According to Sebego, they did that in the interest of protecting the integrity and image of the association. Contrary to some beliefs, he said BFA was on the right track regarding players’ development.

BFA development programmes, he said, were aimed at building fully fledged sportspersons. “In other words, all the competitions are important and the most crucial stage of development is a complete product,” he said.

Sebego stated that players, which Paul complained about, were already part of the senior squad well before junior teams competitions started. They were enlisted for the Under 23 team after it was realised that they were within the age range.

The BFA, he added, was looking at developing the game such that players got more exposure at national team level.

Meanwhile, judging by their last performance against Kenya, whom they beat 3-0 in Lobatse before losing 4-1 in Nairobi, one can say the team has potential to pull a surprise against their much fancied Zambian counterparts.

However, that remains to be seen given a number of variables some of which is the frame of mind that the players find themselves in after the abrupt firing of their mentor.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Sports

Comments are closed.