Saturday, March 6, 2021

Botswana’s football exports to South Africa dwindling

There used to be a time when Botswana did not have a single player in the professional ranks in South Africa. South African Premier League teams would sign players from almost all SADC countries except Botswana.

The few Botswana players who played in South Africa for a short time in the early and late nineties included the likes of Terrence Mophuting and Tumie Duiker. Since then no other player found it easy to go. It was only around 2006 when Diphetogo Selolwane managed to break into the South African Premier League, joining Cape Town Santos. Selolwane became an instant hit and ended up playing for several teams like Ajax Cape Town, Jomo Cosmos and University of Pretoria. Selolwane’s move would open the doors for other local players.

Mogogi Gabonamong followed Selolwane to Cape Town Santos where he also played a sterling role. Gabonamong’s exploits saw him going on to play for Amazulu, Supersport United and Bloemfontein Celtic. Then there was Phenyo Mongala and Moemedi Moatlhaping who joined Platinum Stars. Mongala ended up being loaned to University of Pretoria while it was still in the First Division while Moatlhaping did wonders at Stars.

Mongala however ended up playing for South African top side, Orlando Pirates. Many other Botswana players would find it to the South African Premier League and they played a sterling role. Such players included the likes of Modiri Marumo, Joel Mogorosi, Galabgwe Moyana, Mogakolodi Ngele, Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Boitumelo Mafoko, Kabelo Dambe, and Ofentse Nato. However in recent years the number of Botswana exports to the South African Premier League has been drastically decreasing. Although the transfer window is still open, currently there are only two Botswana players in the South African Premier League; the duo of Ngele and Dambe.

Ngele has just joined Mamelodi Sundowns from Platinum Stars while Dambe is still at Stars. Most of the local players have failed to get their contracts renewed after they expired. Those players’ who have since been released by their teams are Mogorosi, Marumo and Gabonamong. Gabonamong on the other hand decided to come home and join Township Rollers despite some Premier League teams showing interest in his services. So far nothing has been heard of other players released by their teams. Also nothing much has been heard regarding the possibility of local based players’ joining other South African Premier League teams.

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