The Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) has appointed an interim coach, Gareth Gilbert, for the Vultures, despite a pending disciplinary process against the substantive, Shine Gabatladiwe.
The national team coach has been on suspension pending a disciplinary hearing.
Munya Mhonda was also removed from the Vultures’ technical department to make way for the new coach. BRU vice president-technical, Tosca Segaise said Gilbert has been appointed on an interim basis, until November, to prepare the team for an upcoming competition.
Segaise said they decided to engage Gilbert as Gabatladiwe is suspended from rugby activities. He said they have lost a month of preparations due to the suspension.
He said the BRU disciplinary committee is handling the matter and was not aware when it would be finalised. “Rugby Africa has changed their playing structure and if we lose our match against Ghana it means next year we will not be doing anything. The top 16 teams, based on the African ranking, will compete in a single coordinated competition until the last two face each other in the final,” he said.
Segaise said Gilbert’s contract is on voluntary basis. He said the players’ list was long concluded during the league activities and the coach would inherit the same list. Gilbert is a former Vultures coach.
Meanwhile, Gabatladiwe said he was not aware of the appointment.
“They have not informed me about that. As it is, I am still waiting for a decision from the disciplinary hearing and I am the Vultures coach. My contract ends next year,” he said.
Thatayaone Malele of UB Rhinos said they have been informed about the appointment. “It is not clear if the appointment is permanent or they want him to prepare the team for a certain tournament. Our leadership has taken the decision and there is nothing we can do about it,” he said. For his part, BDF Cheetahs spokesperson, Modesto Madzambi said they are disappointed about the appointment because it has been made in bad faith.
“Gareth is a good coach but BRU should have sorted out the issues they have with Gabatladiwe before bringing in another coach,” he said.
The coach was suspended after a clash during a match when his club, Cheetahs was playing against Gaborone Hogs.
Madzambi said if BRU has fired Gabatladiwe they should announce.
For his part, Feddy Mutenheri said Gilbert is an experienced coach and he managed to improve Netherlands IRB World rankings. He said it was a good move by BRU to appoint him for the national team. He said the challenge that remains is that BRU has to explain what has happened to Gabatladiwe.