Every time the transfer window opens, teams always look forward to beefing up their squads to either fight for honours or for survival.
Right now, many teams are spending sleepless nights holding on to their best players and shielding them from hovering vultures.
For the past two seasons, local players have been slowly making their way into South African Premier Leagues. Already there are four Botswana players in the Premier League and one in the First Division. There is also a coach in the Premier League, Major David Bright, who is doing a tremendous job at Cape Town Santos.
The local players in South Africa are Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Mogogi Gabonamong (Cape Town Santos), Diphetogo Selolwane (Ajax Cape Town) and Phenyo Mongala (Pretoria University).
Another local player, Modiri Marumo, is in Egypt, playing for a Premier League team, Haras El Hadoud.
Local soccer supporters are asking themselves whether there could be another player for headed for the South African Premier League.
Considering that there is a local coach in South Africa, people would have hoped that more players would follow him, either going to his team or to others through his recommendations.
At the moment, it looks a bit unlikely for a local player to snatch a foreign deal.
Bright made it clear to Sunday Standard in an interview that he wants to beef up his team this season, including using local players but there are many stumbling blocks.
He said, in South Africa, it is difficult to get players in the current transfer window compared to the pre-season one. He said currently many players are still under contracts and it is expensive to buy them out but conceded that a country like Botswana would be an ideal place to acquire players.
“There are many good players that can be signed from Botswana and who would fit comfortably into the South African set up. But when signing a player, you do so looking at the positions that need to be filled in the team. Currently, we are in need of a defensive midfielder and a player who can comfortably play as a right back and centre back. Locally, I identified Boitumelo Mafoko of Township Rollers to play as a defensive midfielder and Mompati Thuma can appropriately play as right and centre back. But Mafoko, as you might be aware, has a pre-contract with Pirates, meaning that even if he does not benefit anything from the team, he still remains their property. Thuma, on the other hand, is an army man and it would also be not easy to land him,” Bright said.
Thuma has been a key member for the Zebras for many years now. But despite excellent performances by Botswana players in South African leagues, Bright said he had not had many enquiries from Premier League teams regarding Botswana players.
“Many teams see the performances of Botswana players and are impressed. But I have not had a firm request from top teams to assist them looking for a particular player. Only one team here in the First Divison, Hanover Park, is the ones who have showed seriousness’ because they are in need of a striker. But may be as time goes on they will start doing so,” he said.
Bright also heaped praises on his team players for their commitment in the past games saying they are proving that they are a hard nut to crack regardless of how strong their opposition is. Santos has so far won five of their past seven games, drawing the other two.
Today (Sunday), they are hosting Durban-based club, Lamontville Golden Arrows. A win for Santos can put them in strong contention for the championship because only five points separate them from the league leaders.