Thursday, October 22, 2020

Botswana football must start to cultivate strikers

Scoring charts in Botswana are a cause for concern. Starting from the Premier League teams to the national ones, not many players have a flair to score regularly. The situation is even worse at national team level. The Zebras and the Under 23s might be hailed for having improved their performances in international competitions but scoring instincts of the strikers leave a lot to be desired.

Botswana’s senior national team, the Zebras, scored only three goals in the six games for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations that will be held in Ghana. The National under 23s, on the other hand, have so far scored only two goals from the three games for next year’s Olympics that will be held in Beijing China and only two games are left. The Under 23s’ sad situation was evident in their game against Guinea which Botswana won 2-0. The selected strikers huffed and puffed in front of goal but failed to score. A defender Gobonyeone ‘Shoes’ Selefa was the one who ended up rescuing the young Zebras by scoring a brace. At team level, Premier League teams in most cases score less than five goals in weekend matches. Although Botswana’s league might still be at amateur level in other league of the same level, like in England and other major leagues, an average of 23 goals are scored every week. Watching big teams like Notwane, Township Rollers and Gaborone United one might even wonder what the roles of strikers are.

Some of the big names at these teams are leave a lot to be desired. At Rollers, Zambian import Bernard Simakwenzi still has to fine tune his feet. At Gaborone United, Zimbabwean international Sageby Sandaka took the Premier League by storm last season but since the league started he is struggling. Other deadly GU strikers, such Thando Moreki, Edmore Mufema are yet to produce their magic.

The same goes for Notwane strikers like Langson Sichuba whose scoring boots blow hot and cold. Some soccer pundits say not many goals are scored because most coaches have resorted to defensive tactics to safeguard their jobs. But the incumbent Under 23 coach, Major David Bright, has a different view and is a concerned man when he talks about the goals drought in local football. Bright told The Sunday Standard that a lot needs to be done if Botswana is to produce quality strikers. He said producing strikers is a long process that needs to be taken seriously.
“It will take long to have natural strikers in our league unless you import someone from outside. Our league is still at amateur level and unless it is professional then we will continue to have problems. Look at most of the professional leagues around the world, players there are scoring regularly.

This is because coaches there have ample time to work with their strikers as compared to our league. Almost all our teams are in the amateur set up and coaches do not have enough time. At trainings, coaches have to work with all the players at the same time while in other leagues almost all the departments have their own coaches including the goalkeeper,” he said.

Bright added that while still at Mogoditshane Fighters the team did well because he had regular goal scorers. He said the reason was the fact that the team was semi-professional and he had a lot of time to work with his strikers.

“If you could recall well I had strikers like Edwin Disang, Modesto Chilundumene and Mompati Banda. Scoring was not a problem with my players because I had ample time but now that the time is not there and that is why our strikers are struggling. If things can improve at team level obviously that would go up to the national level, but let’s hope things will change as time goes on,” he said.

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