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‘Poor players’ club welfare is the bane of the Zebras’

‘Poor players’ club welfare is the bane of the Zebras’
February 26
10:55 2018
  • Coach David Bright says because supply of young talent is also broken, he is compelled to call on so-called old players

Tlotlo Kebinakgabo

The head coach of Botswana’s senior  men’s national football team, David ‘Fakuda’ Bright, says the welfare of players at club level has an impact on their performance at the Zebras.

After making their maiden appearance at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), many thought the Zebras had finally found the form that would banish their dastardly place as the whipping boys of Africa to history.

But lo and behold, the years that followed saw them beat a hasty retreat to their cheerless reputation, prompting most to make the grim conclusion that the galloping of the wild horses may have been a fluke proplelled by Providence. Witness how, in addition to AFCON, the Zebras have also failed to impress at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers, Wolrd Cup qualifiers and the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) competition, apart from making it into the latter’s finals in 2016.

But Bright, who took charge of the team last year, believes a part of the problem consists in poor players’ welfare at their respective clubs. “We have a challenge when it comes to selection of the national team because our players’ performance is patchy because of their welfare at their clubs, and this contributes to the Zebras’ dismal showing,” he says.

“This is why you will find that in most cases, we select players from one or two teams because players’ conditions there are reasonable.”

There is also a challenge in calling up his team because there is no young talent coming up. “There is no talent that can compete in Africa,” he moans. “That’s why I am often forced to call the so-called ‘old players.’ Our homegrown coaches are still learning and that somehow disturbs our development transition.”

“We have a serious problem. We need to restructure our junior teams, group them and keep them active. We also need to hire full time coaches who can really take charge of the lads, particlualy from the Under 17 to Under 23 levels. But we will soldier on and try to always come up with a strong team.”

The former coach of South Africa’s Santos also decries the inactivity of certain Batswana players at the neighbouring country’s leagues. In this Bright singles out Thabang Sesinyi at Platinum Stars and Lebogang Ditsele at Highlands Park.

“South African football is not much to write home about because it is not of high quality,” he says. “It’s just that they have good infrastructure and other stuff, but when it comes to playing quality football, there is nothing. I mean, where are they at AFCON? They even failed at CHAN, but look at their infrastructure and population.

“That is why I would rather have local players who are not active enough at their clubs because I see them playing friendlies and some competitons, instead of a player who is completely not playing in South Africa.”



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