Paul stepped confidently into crocodile-infested waters emboldened after watching a friend-turned-foe treading blithely. Staff Writer, MQONDISI DUBE considers how the same jaws that have Paul on a death roll, were obediently silent on Peter
The combustible Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul appeared calm seconds before what became his valedictory press conference as Zebras assistant and Under-23 coach on Wednesday.
This, hours after the explosive television interview, which set the cat among the pigeons. As the waters around him rippled with turbulence, Paul tried hard to project a calm demeanour.
But deep below, he had already pulled the pin on a truth bomb.
At the press conference, true to his character, Paul – in a soft voice – laid into the BFA leadership for excluding him in a critical decision to send five of his players to South Africa with Peter Butler’s Zebras.
Technical director, Ben Kgomela did little to mask the pensive mood as he shuffled infinitely.
But he torched an explosion when he claimed a compromise had been struck between Paul and Butler over team selection. Paul swiftly swatted the claim away. The Pandora’s box was blasted open. Paul’s head shook side ways as Kgomela spluttered on.
The BFA technical director found himself in the unenviable position to bat away a barrage of questions from sports journalists who spotted apparent fissures in the whole debacle.
The truth hid behind Kgomela’s spectacles. There was everything amiss and the issue spilled into the public domain as social media went abuzz with the subject. Paul rose from his seat having lived up to his tag as a candid talker.
His image was intact while BFA’s was in tatters and Sebego fired Paul, “purely in the interest of protecting the integrity and image of the Association.”
Paul had lost two jobs in one day and BFA would feel the bug had been comprehensively removed.
But the swift and crushing blow quickly ignited debate across spectrum. Not long ago, Butler persistently pulled the twitter trigger. At one stage a “nonsense” bullet directed at the BFA emerged from his rants.
Those in the terraces questioned in what form was indiscipline tolerated? Via the more complex twitter and not through the mass viewed Botswana Television (Btv)?
Was nonsense meaningless when delivered from Halifax, England than from Gabane, Botswana?
Paul had publicly criticised the association once and action was swift. Butler’s tweets aimed at the association rolled endlessly without public action.
It became a case of “we saw you on Btv” and “we didn’t see him on twitter.” Recently, Mochudi Centre Chiefs captain, Pontsho Moloi was hauled over the coals for his rant on Instagram, by BFA organ, the Botswana Premier League
The BFA says the association and Paul’s philosophy on player development are at variance.
Did the “variance” emanate from simmering differences between one-time allies, Paul and Butler? Has petty talk or an emotional decision re-directed the course of a project both Butler and Paul had appeared passionate about? Was Paul’s presence so corrosive that it warranted immediate removal? Was 48hours too long a period to wait until after the Zambia game? Is justice –served spontaneous without a hearing- always this swift on those who transgress at the BFA?
Peter cannot be right if Paul is wrong and Paul cannot be wrong if Peter is right. Like the biblical miracle, Paul has learnt that he cannot walk on water, the same way Jesus did.
Some of Peter’s tweets, which the BFA probably did not see
* “Super disappointed what I was told today by CEO we have worked so hard 2 get this far wuld be gutted if we cant travel to Guinea for 2nd leg”.
“We all need to stick together players have been brilliant / I have loved working with them would be sad to leave, plans are in ruins we go back to sq 1.”
This after reports that the Zebras trip to Guinea Bissau hung in the balance. *”Really disappointed not to get to SSKB today to watch the game No Transport when will this nonsense stop im getting frustrated.” This after it took too long for the BFA to get him a vehicle.