Gagged ‘The Phil’s’ silence speaks volumes
One of the Botswana Football Association’s (BFA) longest serving members, Phillimon Makhwengwe, has quit the football body after 17 years of dedicated service.
The Technical Education Officer will officially leave his post at the end of November.
For the last two years, Makhwengwe has endured a tumultuous relationship with his employer. In that time he has been suspended, fired, recalled and suspended again.
The old-timer suffered criticism recently, with the validity of his ‘A’ licence coming under scrutiny amid allegations that he never attended the relevant courses, nor even trained for a CAF ‘B’ licence.
The normally outspoken Makhwengwe flatly refused to share with Voice Sports the reasons for his resignation.
“I’m currently not allowed to talk to the media. I can only do that in December,” was all he was prepared to say.
However, highly placed sources at the BFA told Voice Sport that Makhwengwe’s resignation comes as no surprise.
“It was only a matter of time before it happened. This man has for the longest time been frustrated by the Technical Director, Benny Kgomela, and has finally decided to step aside,” Voice Sport learnt.
The source further revealed that Makhwengwe reported his TD to the Human Resource Manager but no action was taken against Kgomela.
Other issues that may have pushed Makhwengwe out were the seemingly never-ending fights between Gaborone United, Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers.
The source said Makhwengwe found himself caught in the crossfire of the teams he loved and wished to see succeed both domestically and regionally.
“As someone who has been involved in developing players and coaches, it pained him to see their progress stall due to these petty conflicts,” said the source.
The soured relationship with his TD also affected the national team coach.
In recent times, Zebras Coach, Peter Butler, was accused of not fully attending coaching courses – a development which is said to have greatly annoyed Makhwengwe because there are attendance records which clearly show Butler’s dedication to local football.
“Recently Makhwengwe attended a funeral at home and a ‘B’ licence course he was supposed to facilitate was cancelled. The association put the blame squarely on his shoulders. A lot of people are frustrated at the association. There is no job security; the current regime seem to be going through a cleansing exercise. Anyone from the old regime will be sent packing, a couple more will leave, just watch this space,” predicted the source.
Another victim of the alleged cleansing exercise is Referees Manager, Dintwe Dintwe, who also handed in his resignation after serving for five years.
Referees nearly brought the game to its knees in the first week of the season when they boycotted matches demanding payment.
A selection of games had to be postponed due to a ‘no show’ from some of the men in the middle.
Dintwe was blamed for his failure to keep his charges in check, and his relationship with the current regime deteriorated.
Meanwhile, the BFA Public Relations Office, Tumo Mpatane’ refuted allegations that duo were quitting the association due to frustration.
He said both Dintwe and Makhwengwe served the BFA whole-heartedly and they will forever be thankful for their contribution to football.
“We offered Dintwe a contract extension but he felt he had done his part and tendered his resignation. We are looking for an equally capable and qualified replacement,” disclosed Mpatane.
He further said Makhwengwe decided to terminate his contract in order to embark on new challenges in life.
“The professional relationship between Makhwengwe and TD remains an internal matter, but everyone at the association knows what is expected of them as per their contracts,” said Mpatane.
Pressed further on the issue of staff being demoralised at the BFA, Mpatane said he was not aware of such but with the new leadership at the association they are looking at team building exercises for the whole staff.