… As association fires Pio Paul to save face
In a dramatic day at Lekidi Centre – Botswana Football Association (BFA) headquarters – the U-23 coach addressed a press conference in the morning decrying the association’s blunders and a few hours down the line he was fired. That all happened on Wednesday.
Paul has also been relieved of his duties as assistant coach to the Zebras – the senior national team.
Paul confirmed the ordeal but could not divulge anymore information regarding his sacking. However, sources believe that the recent squad selection scandal involving the senior national football team and the U-23 teams could have caused the fall-out and ultimate dismissal.
Paul had earlier in the day condemned the association for releasing players to the senior national team without consulting him while he had to prepare and play against a very strong Zambian side on Friday in an Olympic qualifier.
Paul told the media that he was never part of the team selection even though he was both the U-23 coach and the Zebras assistant coach. His words came as a total contradiction to what his superior, BFA Technical Director Benny Kgomela said. According to Kgomela, prior to the selection of both teams there were consultations with both coaches.
However in the eyes of BFA the qualifiers are not anything more important than the COSAFA Cup which the senior team is involved in. According to Kgomela, BFA does not see any competition more important than the other, saying that is why they allowed Coach Peter Butler to take some of the U-23 players with him.
With new players called into camp this week, the team now will enter the game without its mentor. This is likely to affect the players emotionally more than they have been. However prior his sacking Paul said he was confident that the team he has assembled will produce desired results. He acknowledged that the absence of the other players such as Omaatla Kebatho and Mpho Kgaswane will affect them but he has moved on.
No BFA official could be reached for comment as their phones were busy. Davis Mlungisi Kopi – who has been Pio’s assistant is likely to lead the team against Zambia and the remainder of the qualifiers.