Fired Zebras coach could sue for dismissal
Gaborone ‑ Botswana’s former national soccer coach, Stanley Tshoswane, is reportedly contemplating taking legal action against his former employers, the Botswana Football Association (BFA).
Tshoswane was fired last week. BFA Chief Executive Officer, Keith Masters, told reporters that Tshoswane was fired on October 2 and was handed his dismissal letter on Monday. Tshoswane signed a new three-year deal with BFA last year and was supposed to guide the team until end of 2015.
BFA has not yet announced Tshoswane’s replacement. Sources close to Tshoswane this week said the former national team gaffer was consulting his lawyers over the case.
According to one of the sources, “He has opened a case against the BFA. His lawyers are preparing papers, which will be served on the BFA any time soon.”
Contacted for comment, Tshoswane, who reportedly underwent surgery recently, said he was not in a position to confirm or deny the reports, saying his doctor has advised him to focus on his health.
“Since I parted ways with the BFA, I have never made a comment on the matter. My doctors advised me to focus on my life for now,” he said. The Zebras do not have a technical team at the moment and a new technical team will be appointed next month.
Masters says the team needs new direction after disappointing results.
Meanwhile, the football association has issued a statement saying Tshoswane failed to reach the finals of the African Nations Championship (CHAN), and also failed to reach the semi-finals of the recent COSAFA Cup, as they had demanded of him.
Botswana also recently failed to make it to the final qualification stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The team has been on a downward spiral ever since a fairy-tale journey that saw them qualifying for the continental showpiece almost two years ago.
Botswana started their 2014 World Cup campaign on the wrong foot, losing 0-2 to Central African Republic (CAR) in their campaign opener.
However, the former coach is credited with making history for Botswana football. He managed to take the Zebras to dizzy heights when most people had lost hope in the national team.
His rise to superstardom began when he was roped in as Zebras’ caretaker coach from 2002 to 2003.
Tshoswane is not only the first national team to qualify for the converted tournament but the first local coach to accomplish such a feat.
The country has never participated in the Africa Cup of Nations since its inception in 1957
A soldier by profession, Tshoswane ensured that his charges sailed through the qualifying stage with an unbeaten run and only lost a single match after they had already qualified.
With the whipping boys of Africa title hanging over his head, Tshoswane shocked Group K, which included most of the continent’s powerhouses such as Tunisia and Togo.
Because of the maiden appearance at the continental showpiece, Zebras fans had high expectations that Tshoswane would book a place in CHAN or World Cup.
Botswana surprised many people, even football followers in the continent, when in 2011 they became the first country to qualify for AFCON. But they did not live to expectations, as they faltered in the first round of the AFCON games and lost all preliminary games.
Matters came to a head when some fans across the country reportedly decried the national team’s losing streak and blamed Tshoswane during President Ian Khama’s routine tour of the country.
At the time, Khama stood by Tshoswane and urged the diehard fans to rally behind the national team, Zebras, as well as Tshoswane.
The fans had also called for the appointment of a foreign coach for the national team. But Khama reminded them that it was the same coach who ensured the team’s maiden appearance at the 2012 AFCON.
According to Khama, a foreign coach was not necessarily the solution to the problem, as teams coached by foreign coaches have performed badly during the last edition of AFCON tournament hosted by South Africa.
The President then appealed to Batswana to love their country and their team, saying he was one of those Batswana who followed local football.