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Local coaches are cowards - Makhwengwe

Prisons XI coach, Phillimon Makhwengwe has criticised his counterparts as 'cowards' who do not want to export their talent.

In a no-holds-barred interview yesterday, Makhwengwe had no kind words for football administrators, accusing them of overseeing a decline in the game.

Makhwengwe has just led Prisons XI back to the Premier League after seasons languishing in the First Division. Calm but hard hitting, ‘Da Phil’ directed the first jibe at foreign coaches in the BTC Premiership. He said they only use the local league as a ladder as they seek jobs in high profile leagues.

“These foreigners are the same people who we teach in our programmes. The same coach I teach in Zimbabwe (or anywhere else) would be the same coach who will come here for a coaching job.  All the top coaches would leave their countries to coach here.

Those who come here use our league as a ladder, as our league is one of the lowest in the region. Some of the coaches who come are cut-price coaches, as an instructor I know I have held programmes in their countries, I know the capable coaches in their countries and they would leave for bigger leagues, not here,” he said.

Makhwengwe further said he does not hold a grudge against the expatriates, but was worried by the support given to local tacticians. He also urged local coaches to go for coaching programmes in other countries, which he says, would help them boost confidence of working abroad. 

“We are cowards. I set an example by coaching a reserve team in South Africa; David Bright also did the same. We do not partake in training programmes. It’s not like we are not exporting while others are.

Foreigners are men; they do not look at the patriotic obligation. Patriotism does not put food on your table so we are cowards as Batswana. Our

guys are not men enough (but) they are capable of producing results in any league,” Makhwengwe said when asked why locals do not export their expertise to other leagues.

He said most coaches are superstitious, which he says limits their growth.

“There are certain coaches fond of using muti, they beat us and boast. They should stop that. This particular thing would not help us in anyway, if muti works then why as coaches should we be employed, it disturbs the growth of football,” he said.

“We have gone down, a living example is when a foreign player comes here. He would not be picked for their country’s national teams. The national team selectors look at the standard of the league before they can select a player,” the Mahalapye-born tactician said regarding the state of the local game.

He attacked administrators, saying they lack football knowledge, “as they tend to take control of the technical team decisions”. He said as coaches they only have control over the team rather than the club, but in most cases they suffer due to the decisions taken by the administrators.

“The people I fear and do not want to talk about are match officials.  I pray to God that they do their job without external influence. They are professionals; they are our doctors and psychologists when we are overwhelmed by emotions. They are trained on the laws of the game. As coaches we are not, so we should respect them.”

Makhwengwe holds a UEFA B licence and has been a FIFA coaching instructor for over a decade.  Some of his coaching achievements were winning the Coca-Cola Cup with Gaborone United in 2010. He has served in the Botswana Football Association for more than 25 years.





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