Fired Zebras coach challenges dismissal

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By Bakang Mhaladi 

Gaborone - Dismissed Botswana national team coach, David Bright, will not go away without a fight, after indicating that he has handed the matter to his lawyers.

Bright is challenging for unfair dismissal after the Botswana Football Association (BFA) abruptly cut his three-year deal. The coach signed the deal in June 2017, and it was only due to expire next year.

But Bright was shown the door last week following an abysmal showing in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, where the team remains winless, with just one round, against Angola, to play.

BFA said Bright had failed to take the team to the 2019 AFCON finals, as well as improving its FIFA rankings by 15 places, which were the two deliverables set for the coach.

“When we look at our rankings, 145 in the world, 45 in Africa and eighth in the COSAFA region, it is not what we set the coach. One of the deliverables for the coach was to raise the profile of the team by improving its rankings. The opportunity to qualify for the AFCON was there,” BFA Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo said.

However, instead, he said, the team had failed to qualify for the AFCON finals, even if it were to win the remaining match against Angola.

The Zebras have also plummeted in the FIFA rankings, with Bright taking over when the team was number 121.

BFA said it had provided the coach with sufficient support, but he had failed to deliver. But Bright disputes BFA’s version, arguing that the national association had instead, failed to lend him and the team, enough support. “They did not have a budget for the team. So it is them, and not me, who failed,” Bright said. He said he was convinced that his was a case of unfair dismissal and had referred the matter to his lawyers. BFA reportedly paid Bright one month’s salary in lieu of notice, but the coach believes the remainder of the contract was supposed to be paid. “I cannot say I am happy or unhappy, with the way I left, but it is a case of unfair dismissal,” Bright said. Meanwhile, the BFA has begun a process to replace Bright, and the search is likely to go abroad.

BFA Technical Director, Serame Letsoaka, a former Bafana Bafana assistant coach, will lead the process to identify an interim candidate. The local coaches association, will be part of the process, before the BFA executive committee takes over the hunt to employ a substantive candidate.

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