Under-fire Zebras coach faces the sack

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By Bakang Mhaladi

Gaborone - Zebras coach, David Bright’s time is charge of the Botswana national team is set for an abrupt end, after a winless run in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

Botswana, is one of only five countries yet to win a match in the AFCON qualifiers, with just one round to go.

Eswatini, Rwanda, Seychelles and South Sudan, are the other nations, which have had an abysmal run thus far, and face the embarrassing prospect of finishing the campaign winless.

In Botswana, however, the winless run is likely to cost Bright his job after he was appointed to the top post last year June on a three year contract, but has struggled to lift the Zebras.

He failed to get past the quarterfinals of the COSAFA Cup held in South Africa in May, and has seen his side struggle to register a single win in the AFCON qualifiers.

The Zebras are bottom of Group I with just one point, gained from last month’s draw against third-placed Burkina Faso. 

The team scored just once in five games, and now have the remaining game against Angola in March next year, to salvage some pride.

However, Bright’s employers, the Botswana Football Association (BFA), have made up their minds to get rid of the coach.

According to local media reports, Bright would be gone soon after the Angola game, as the BFA delays firing him due to contractual issues.“He still has a large chunk of the contract to go. At least next year, we will be closer to the end of his contract, with about a year left, which will make dismissing him less costly,” a source at BFA told The Southern Times. BFA spokesperson, Tumo Mpatane did not give a firm assurance that the coach’s future is bright.

“There will be a review of the (AFCON) campaign as a whole. As for his future, we have a contract with the coach at the moment,” Mpatane told the local media.

Bright has blamed the soccer mother body for the lack of results, arguing there is no sufficient support from his employers.

This is a sign that the relationship is strained and heading for a premature end. The hunt for a new coach has reportedly begun, with Orlando Pirates’ Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic and his Serbian counterpart, Veselin Jelusic, linked. Jelusic was popular among Botswana fans when he took charge of the Zebras between 2003 and 2006, while the BFA has previously pursued Micho, but his salary demands have proved to be the stumbling block for the cash strapped association.

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