"I didn’t fail, they failed."This was David Bright’s assessment after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) showed him the door this week.
The BFA has put the blame for the Zebras’ underwhelming performances squarely on Bright’s shoulders.
But Bright hit back in an interview yesterday, arguing the mother body had failed to provide him with adequate support.
He said even if “we are to call God, we will fail” as long as the status quo persists.
Bright was appointed in June 2017 on a three-year deal and saw the Zebras impressively emerge from the group stages of the 2018 COSAFA Cup in South Africa, but were bundled out of the quarterfinals before a dispiriting run took off in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Zebras are still searching for their first win of the campaign, with only one round to play against Angola next month.
Botswana lost home and away to underdogs, Mauritania and lost to Burkina Faso in Oagadougou before a 0-0 draw at home. They lost the other game to Angola.
The BFA had asked Bright to secure the Zebras’ second appearance at the AFCON finals following their historic appearance in 2012, but this has not been possible.
This week, the BFA announced it had decided to pull the trigger and fire Bright. BFA chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo said Bright had been afforded sufficient support to prepare the team during his 18-month tenure.
However, Bright disagrees.
“He was not telling the truth. How many FIFA dates do we have per year. Again, the expectation is that we play two games per FIFA date, but we only played one. They said there was no money,” Bright said.
He said after Mfolo told journalists that there were plans to suspend Zebras’ participation in international competitions in 2017, there should be questions on why the BFA was interested in
“I did not fail; they failed. They did not have a budget to prepare the team,” Bright said.
“They told me that we should qualify (for the 2019 AFCON), but where was the support? If you want me to cook for you and you don’t have the ingredients, how will I manage?” Bright quizzed.
He said the way forward is for the BFA to look for a sponsor, specifically for the Zebras. Orange Botswana and BancABC, used to fund the national team’s activities, but the deals were not renewed.
Bright said, contrary to Mfolo’s view that the team should assemble only on FIFA dates, or even meet on match days, the situation was different for Botswana.
“The quality of players we have demands that we practice. We need to drill them; you can’t say they should meet on match day. We cannot compare ourselves with countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia or West African countries.”
Regarding his sacking, Bright said it was the nature of the job, but felt he had been unfairly dismissed.
“It’s the nature of the job. I can’t say I am happy or I am not, but it’s a case of unfair dismissal,” he said.
Moving forward, Bright said he would take a breather at his farm “for about two to three months” before considering offers.
He has a warning though.
“I will only listen to serious offers. I don’t want a club that, when the month ends, I will be told to wait for two weeks (for my salary). I have passed that stage,” he said.
Bright said he still has the energy to coach at the top level for the next two to three years before he can consider retiring.