The future looks bleak for Botswana football if recent developments are anything to go by. Botswana’s South African Premier League based players are returning home in their numbers and there seems to be no one to take over from where they left.
Almost all the South African based players were great footballers who did great exploits for Botswana. Most of the players even helped the country to qualify for their maiden 2012 Africa Cup of nations. Diphetogo Selolwane who played for several teams in South Africa has since changed his boots while the duo of speedy winger, Joel Mogorosi and hardman, Mogogi Gabonamong have also been released by their respective team, Bloemfontein Celtic. Mogogi has since returned and has joined Township Rollers while Mogorosi is still searching for a club.
Galabgwe Moyana had a stint at Polokwane City and has since come back home. Veteran goalkeeper, Modiri Marumo’s situation at Polokwane City is not yet clear. Even the now number one goalkeeper at Platinum Stars, Kabelo Dambe’s situation is also reported not clear and it is believed that his club is planning to offload him. However his agent said Dambe is the one who is planning to leave the club.
The only player who looks guaranteed of his place is Sundowns’ Mogakolodi Ngele. Local coach, Innocent Morapedi told Sunday Standard that he is neither surprised nor disappointed by recent developments regarding the local players coming home and added that it was long time coming. Morapedi added that most of the local players joined the South African teams while they were a bit old meaning they would not last.
“It was good for our players to join the professional and lucrative, South African Premier League. They have played their part and contributed immensely. Normally in the game of football, especially in professional setups, teams are very cautious with players who are over the age of 30 and they take into consideration a lot of things. So the South African teams might have done that. Mogorosi, Gabonamong and Marumo are over 30 and that should tell us something,” he said. One local coach who preferred anonymity shared Morapedi’s sentiments that the players joined the professional ranks while they were a bit old and hence they were bound not to last. The coach gave an example of Gabonamong and Mogorosi saying they have lost a bit of their renowned energy because of age.
“Let’s be honest Mogorosi’s strength has been speed on the wings while Gabonamong is a hard man. Since they are ageing Mogorosi has lost a bit of his pace while Gabonamong is no longer an all round player unlike before. This is natural for players and as such coaches are looking for new blood to add more impetus to the team,” he said. The coach added that it was unfortunate for Moyana because he was within the right age when he joined Polokwane City. With reports that Dambe might come back, the coach said that would even be bad for local football. “Maybe as a country we should also take that as a challenge. We should go back to our structures and do what needs to be done and export players in almost every transfer window. Now our youngsters are also not making it across the borders compared to other countries like Zimbabwe and Zambia and it shows that something is wrong somewhere,” he said.