Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
A raid on the Botswana senior national football team by anti-doping agents from the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) has reportedly incensed Zebras head coach Adel Amrouche.
The Algeria-born coach Adel Amrouche has accused “someone” of trying to destabilise his team’s preparations for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Zimbabwe on March 22 and Algeria on March 30.
According to Botswana’s The Voice Sport, anti-doping agents from the BNOC stormed the Zebras’ hotel last Wednesday, demanding to test seven unnamed players.
The officers were reportedly acting on a tip-off, with Amrouche adamant they were sent by “someone” desperate to destabilise his preparations.
Amrouche told The Voice Sport his enemies would not diminish his focus.
“I am trying to do what is best for this country and this negativity will make me strong. I am not going to dwell much on that, but I dropped the physical trainer after I found him smoking hubbly with players when we were playing against Malawi. I did not know the substances contained in that thing and I do not want my players to dope and at the end I will be blamed. I have to protect my players,” said Amrouche.
Locally based Botswana players have been in camp since February 10, in preparation for the must-win assignment against the Warriors.
The Algerian national believes his axing of other senior officials had earned him powerful foes within the football fraternity.
“I found some of the technical members and the team doctor in possession of muthi. I dropped them because I do not condone that as it can cloud the game. I have evidence of all these things,” he said.
The veteran Botswana coach, who has had stints in Belgium, Kenya Nigeria and Libya, among other countries, has not been shy of controversy, and seems to be doubling up as a player agent, having been involved in the transfer of Zebras players to South Africa and Morocco. According to media reports, Amrouche claimed to have been working hard with his international connections to secure local players contracts abroad.
He reportedly assisted Thatayaone Ditlhokwe to find job at South Africa’s SuperSport as well as the trio of Kabelo Seakanyeng, Tumisang Orebonye and Simisani Mathumo, who are presently playing in Morocco.
“International experience is needed for the Zebras to progress,” said Amrouche. – @ZililoR