From radio to the touchline, an inspired memoir of Alex Malete

Tunis, Tunisia — The norm in football is that whenever a team excels it’s usually the players’ sheer class which gets celebrated but when the same team succumbs to defeat the blame is shifted to the man on the touchline. Over and above that assistant coaches’ input to the team is often relegated to being an extra personnel whose role is to collect cones and bring balls to practice and training.

However, nowadays we see the game is gradually changing, where more and more head coaches come out and praise their assistants’ contribution on the success of their teams. Today teams are even comfortable to have two or more assistant coaches to bring a wealth of tactical approaches to the match.

Just a week ago, Botswana Football Association’s (BFA) women’s team, Mares’ Road to 2020 Tokyo Olympics has unearthed yet another hidden Botswana gem in Alex Malete. His one nil win where he trumped Namibia collectively with the technical team has risen this young man’s brand. This was as a result of Coach Gaolethoo Nkutlusang’s family bereavement, which meant that Malete assumes the role of interim coach for the first time at national level.

Already harbouring ambitions of coaching in foreign and professional leagues, Malete holds CAF C License, and is currently waiting CAF B assessment. However, his prime drive is getting the UEFA pro license so he’s able to coach in both the UEFA champion’s league and European leagues respectively.

“Coaching is a complex course, I want to acquire more education in football. I want to equip myself. I have admissions to top universities in Europe to do my Masters specifically in football. I’m currently pursuing a FIFA Diploma in Football Medicine online. I have completed BFA instructor’s course and I am now the BFA’s CAF C instructor. I am currently admitted to do an MSc in Sport Coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Liverpool John Moores University and Worcester University in England respectively and the courses start in September so I am sourcing funds to be able to do that. I need around P300 000 so hopefully budgets will allow this to happen,” said Malete this week.

Malete started his journey as an amateur player in Sebibe Phikwe’s division 1 with a team called River Plate but when he enrolled for tertiary education he had to retire from playing in the BFA’s division.

“I retired because there was no team in Gaborone that could favor my studies so like they say, if you can’t play football, at least write about it or analyze it. I then joined the University of Botswana’s online radio station called Trail FM in 2011 as a sports presenter alongside other media studies students then in the likes of Martin Fanie (Yarona FM), Kebadiretse Rasekhutla (Gabz FM) and Tumo Mpatane (BFA). This is where I learnt a lot about sports in general and was able to develop,” he quipped.

Before he knew it, 2012 saw Duma FM sports desk under the tutelage of multi-award winning sports presenter, who’s now retired, Tumiso Rakgare recruited Malete to join his pool of analysts.

“I then joined Duma FM and I realize I have more interest in coaching and tactics and I attended my first coaching course dubbed Premier Skills in Lobatse and immediately after completing the course, the coaching bug hit me. I wanted to become a professional coach.  Fortunately I joined UB Kicks as an assistant coach and the following season I became their head coach.  As it was in the league and closer to my studies, I did everything parallel and with so much ease.”

However in 2017, Malete left his comfort zone to join Double Actions, one of the most successful women’s club in the country. He says his move was difficult to deal with as he had already developed family ties with all the players.

“It was difficult for me, I couldn’t face the players, I had to write them a letter, and whenever we met it was always emotional, some cried but that’s the nature of coaching. I had to move to another club with more success and it had different type of players of different calibers as compared to UB Kicks where it was only students. However, as time went by I adapted to their culture.”

Quite swiftly, in 2018 he moved from women football to the BTC premiership where he joined Gaborone United (GU) as a physical trainer. However, his contract was allegedly terminated under dubious circumstances. With his talent, another Gaborone based club, Sharps Shooting Stars immediately snatched him.

“I enjoyed my short stint at GU. I worked with Lazarus Magaya before he left, they also brought in Philemon Makgwengwe. Unfortunately my contract was terminated unexpectedly. As they say, when one door closes another one opens, I am now the second assistant coach at Sharps Shooting Stars.”

The turning point for Malete was when he was the man on the touchline. Even though he denies pressure that comes with the job, he invited retired soccer star, Dipsy Selolwane to his training session to give motivation to the girls.

“I had no excuse but to prove my worth as a coach, every coach wants to win and regarding the Namibian game I invited Selolwane to give motivation to the girls, and also their happiness is key – it’s every player to reach the limits of Selolwane so that was motivation enough. I was with the team for 5 days while coach Gaolethoo was in Maun due to family commitments but we talked every day as this was a massive game for all of us.”

Malete has no specific coach he admires but from time to time observes the coaching styles of others from across the region and internationally. His dream is to coach in the European leagues. Quizzed about the next fixture against Banyana Banyana of South Africa, Malete says the technical team is aware of the hard work ahead but remain hopeful that the girls will surprise many in football.

The 29-year-old is currently in Tunisia attending the FIFA Transfer Matching System seminar – a system that deals with players’ transfers and development specifically in women football amongst others.

Malete achievements

2013 Intervarsity Gold medalists Lesotho with University of Botswana (UB) Ladies Football Team 

 2014 Intervarsity Gold medalists Swaziland with UB Ladies Football Team 

 2015 Botswana Intervarsity Gold medalists with UB Ladies Football Team 

 2015 Botswana Universities Sports Association Gold medalists (BUSA) with UB Ladies Football Team 

 2015 Bracket B BOTESSA Top 4 Winners. 

 2015 Botswana Tertiary Education Sports Association (BOTESSA) Gold medalists with UB Ladies Football Team 

 2015 University of Botswana Sports Awards Certificate of Recognition 

 2015 BISA U15 Girls National Finalists with Tlokweng CJSS 

 2016 Intervarsity Silver Medalists Lesotho with UB Ladies Football Team 

 2016 University of Botswana Sports Awards Certificate of Recognition 

 2016 University of Botswana Sports Most Improved Team Award with UB Kicks Football Team 

 2016 University of Botswana Sports Awards Club of the Year Nominee with UB Ladies Football Team. 

 2016 BISA U15 Girls National Finalists with Tlokweng CJSS 

 2017 BISA U17 Girls National Finalists with Tlokweng CJSS 

 2017 Mother’s Day Soccer Tournament Winners with Double Action Ladies Football Club 

 2017 Six Team Mini League Runners Up with Double Action Ladies Football Club 

 2017 Inter-Regional 6 team Winners (Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland) with Double Action Ladies Football Club 

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Moagi Madisa

"Although journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information and also the product of these activities; for me its science - our sorroundings"

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