Never mind Mochudi Centre Chiefsâ€™ flawed recruitment during the last transfer window, the team has woken up to the reality that it has to do something to stay in touch with league pacesetters, Township Rollers. Chiefs have appointed former Zebras assistant and Extension Gunners coach, Keitumetse Pio Paul as assistant to head coach Mike â€˜Dubula Dubulaâ€™ Sithole.
Said Jalal, who all along has been Sithole’s assistant, has now moved to administration.
This is perhaps an emotional reunion between father and son as Paul owes a lot to MaClean Letshwiti, one of Chiefs senior directors if not defacto managing director or is he paying back in kind? It is Letshwiti who back in the early 2000s paid for Pio’s educational trip to the United States of America. Pio has never forgotten the support from Letshwiti and he always mentions how grateful he is to the Chiefs ‘MD’.
Perhaps this is borne out of the fact that Letshwiti has never demanded anything back from Pio. It was purely for Pio’s own development and growth. But like a true father or should I say a mother who in our Setswana saying says, ‘Mma ngwana o tshwara thipa ka fa bogaleng’, which in English would suggest one does not have to throw out the baby with the bathwater, Chiefs have given Pio another chance to relaunch his coaching career. In fact, there is a belief within the Chiefs family that they are a club that is very good at rehabilitating people.
Surely after his unceremonious departure from both the Zebras and Gunners, which could have negative psychological impact. I am sure that Pio will grab this opportunity with both hands not only for his personal growth, but to repay Chiefs and Rre Letshwiti.
The challenge is that he is joining an aging squad that cannot play at full throttle, but at the same time the team has to defend its league title, which Township Rollers is threatening to run away with. The Mighty Blues under Mark Harrison are a different proposition this season.
The Englishman, who has had several coaching stints in South Africa, might be in line to win his first trophy as a coach.
In South Africa, he was only good for the so-called small teams and had more relegation battles than any other. But back to Pio, his departure from Gunners was like that of a child robbed of his candy by some bullies. He started so well with the Peleng based outfit and left them in the top four before the side slid down. It is an act Gunners might live to regret for some time.
At Chiefs, he has been brought in to complement Sithole who the management felt was getting stale as far as modern coaching and training methods were concerned.
My advice to Pio though is that he will have to learn to keep his mouth shut. He has to keep his temper in check even when provoked and be humble. He left the Zebras in acrimonious circumstances after falling out with coach, Peter James Butler. At Chiefs however he will not have to fight with any official, but will have to create a good rapport with the players.
That said, it is perhaps time the club engages the concerned group led by Ramocha Tsieng to bury any differences that exist. It is time that Chiefs operate as one entity than to always have small pockets of internal rivalry that distract the overall growth of the club. Chiefs have not grown that much in the last three years yet it has been the most consistent side in the past eight years. Perhaps management has concentrated more on the playing personnel, and forgot or overlooked aspects of marketing and branding. There is still a lot to do in that regard. On the issue of dissent, Letshwiti who has always been regarded as the president of the club, has to engage this group without any pre-conditions in a bid to bring it into the mainstream of the club.
For the group to try and create a parallel structure, smacks of disrespect to the general membership and seems to undermine peace and unity, which everyone desperately desire.
The rate of turnover of coaches at Gaborone United is a source of great concern. Looked at with a critical eye, it tells of an unsettled executive, which seems not sure what it really wants or which regardless of other circumstances, is influenced more by successes of its rivalries.
Four years ago, the club looked to be the most stable, but of late, there has been too much jostling for power or control of the club. It is not clear what the fight is for. As a result, this has unsettled the technical department but because officials have the power to hire and fire it can always do that except fire itself.
Time for thorough introspection.
I was more than surprised to learn that Major David Bright has joined Black Leopards as its coach. Given his character and outspokenness coupled with the questionable conduct of Black Leopards management, the relationship was doomed to fail right from the start.
For Black Leopards coaches are not coaches but trainers, as at times the owners can phone from the stands giving instructions that a certain player ought to be substituted. In short, Bright and Leopards were like oil and water. I am not sure whether it was a case of desperation on his part or something else, but it was given that he would not last long in his job. When a club’s management is fond of firing coaches and does not see it as a big deal, getting a job there means that getting fired can happen at any time. I also think that he needs a break to recharge his batteries, but stepping down to the First Division was one grave mistake.
He ought to coach in the Premier Soccer League and prove his worth. He cannot rely on history anymore.
Zebras vs Mali
It is now or never for the Zebras to redeem itself against Mali, which has had a good run against the national team. Mali has convincingly beaten the Zebras both here and away, but the city of Francistown could provide a stimulus to beat the Malians. We wish the boys and the coach the best of luck. Shapa Zebras Shapa!