Sunday, May 29, 2022

Coach worries about inactive Zebras stars

Several invaluable Zebras’ players are finding the going tough in the South African Premier League. Despite their gallant performance for the national team, it seems that is doing little to convince their club coaches.

Players like Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Mogogi Gabonamong, Phenyo Mongala and Dirang Moloi are regulars on the side lines.

What is of surprise about Ramatlhakwane is that he is one of the leading goal scorers for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifications with three goals.

Despite his heroics, his team, Cape Town Santos, did not bother to give him a chance and eventually there was an agreement for him to move to cross town rivals, Vasco Da Gama.

At Da Gama he is just training because it is said there is no deal yet for him. Gabonamong, on the other hand, is the one whose recent omission from the starting line-up has raised eye brows. Since the beginning of the season he has only played one game, while last season he featured in almost every match, except one, of the club, of which he was team captain.

Two seasons back he was even voted the club’s Players of the Year.

The decision not to play Gabonamong is seen by some soccer analysts as a way of preparing for life without him. Several top teams are reported to be after his services and his contract ends next season and this means they will not buy him at a hefty price.

On the other hand, Mongala, who recently scored two goals for the Zebras, is another great talent in a worrisome situation.

His team, Orlando Pirates, has many players competing for his position and of recent he hardly made it to the bench.

Moloi, however, joined Da Gama in the past transfer window and had to battle for a work permit first but now it is not that easy for him to break into the first team.

The developments are definitely bad news to Zebras coach, Stanley Tshosane, who needs the player the most. Their inactivity at their clubs might also put the Zebras chances of making their maiden appearance at AFCON in jeopardy.

Botswana finds itself with a good chance to make it to the AFCON. Already, they lead group K with 10 points, three clear of Tunisia, which occupies the second spot.

Tunisia will be in Gaborone on November 17 in a do or die encounter. “Definitely no coach would love to see his players in a situation such as we find ours in. They need to play week in and out so that they are fit to compete with the best around the African continent. But I have told my boys not to lose focus and just keep on training hard and their opportunities will come,” said Tshosane.
He also told Sunday Standard that he advised his players to seek loan moves to other teams, adding that they are preparing hard for the Tunisian encounter.

“If all goes well we might play a friendly match on November 10 with a strong opponent. I looked at the fixtures of the South African Premier League and realized that they are not congested and will call all the players I need,” he said.

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