BY: Katlego Mechidi
Botswana football and the nation at large are mourning the death of Botswana national under 20 and also Security Systems head coach Keitumetse Pio Paul
, aged 48.
Pio Paul as he was affectionately known is a celebrated gaffer who achieved a lot as a player as well as a coach.
- He started big stage football in the 90s at Rollers
- He is one of the most FIFA recognized coaches in the country
- He had a promising career as a coach
IT ALL STARTED AT ROLLERS FOR PIO PAUL
The celebrated career of Paul started at Township Rollers
during his school-going age and went on to play for Mochudi Center Chiefs from 1993 to 2001 where he was widely known as he was a mainstay in the heart of Magosi midfield in his eight years stay at the club. From Mochudi Center Chiefs he played for Chico Rooks at the United States of America from 2001 to 2003 and in 2003 he continued his trade here in Botswana with Uniao Flamingo Santos until 2005.
In his playing career, he played for Botswana youth teams and the national team from 1994 to 1993 where he had an opportunity to captain.
During his playing career, he won titles such as castle league here in Botswana and the USASA Western Region Champions with Chico Rooks and was selected in the Southern Africa XI team coached by Jomo Sono in 2001.
PIO PAUL IS A WELL-LEARNED COACH
He transited from playing soccer to becoming a coach and acquired academic qualifications required for successful development of sports in Botswana which include an Associate Degree in Arts specializing in Physical Education and a Master of Arts Degree in Sports Development and Coaching.
Pio believed in the principle of continuous improvements and thus solidified his capacity in football coaching and did a number of coaching courses both locally, regionally, and abroad specifically in Europe.
These include International DFB instructor, CAF coaching-B license, CAF-B coaching certificate, International DFB Coaching Course B-Level-Sports Center Hennef 2014, Germany International Coaching Course Certificate 2012, Royal Netherlands Football Association KNVB (holland).
PIO PROMOTED TWO DIFFERENT TEAMS TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE
He achieved sweet success as a coach and has truly established himself as one of the greatest coaches of the modern era, he has pulled off the unthinkable when promoting two teams to the premiership in successive seasons which is something very rare in Botswana.
The glittering coaching career of Pio Paul started in 2006 at Uniao Flamingo Santos as an assistant coach and went on to coach clubs which include BMC Football Club, Naughty Boys, Killer Giants FC, Sharps Shooting Stars, Notwane, Extension Gunners, and Security Systems where he left this world.
He also worked with the men’s under 20 and 23 junior national teams as the head coach and served as an assistant Head Coach of the National Senior team.
As a coach he has won the Coca Cola Cup with BMC (now known as Gilport Lions
) in 2007, Mayor’s cup with Sharps Shooting Stars in 2017, aided Happy Hearts to gain promotion from the second division to the first division, elevated Sharps Shooting to the premier league after 35 years in 2017 and helped Notwane gain promotion to the elite league in 2018.
During the memorial service held on Wednesday, the Botswana Football Association(BFA) President, Maclean Letshwiti
said Pio Paul was very important to BFA, to the league, and to general football development in Botswana as well as inspiration to local coaches.
“Pio Paul was important to BFA, to the league, and to general football development in Botswana. He was an inspiration to local coaches who wished to go as far as he did in terms of academics”, said the president.
He also described him as someone who was largely misconstrued and misunderstood saying it was very difficult to suppress his views.
“Pio Paul was a believer in his craft. He worshipped football and often raffled feathers on what must happen and how it must happen. This was his only crime; his strong views. He was unshaken in his views and tactical approach to the game”, said Letshwiti.
The BFA Chief Executive Officer, Goabaone Taylor
emphasized that Pio was more dedicated and had a passion for the game of football.
“Pio will be remembered for the dedication and passion he had for the game, many years as a player and many years as a coach.” said Taylor.
He is survived by his wife, three daughters, two brothers, two sisters, brothers, and sisters-in-law, nieces, and nephews.