Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Do Zebras need a fully-fit Dirang Moloi?

There is no doubt that the young Moloi has talent and has showcased it at different levels in the past.

It is at Under-23 level under the guidance of Major David Bright that Moloi showed the country what he can do and many people believe he has not lived up to that standard at senior level.

But many people argue that for Moloi to deliver for Zebras, he has to play under a coach who believes in him and understands his thinking. When Tshosane decided to drop Moloi from the national team last year, he cited the fact that the skillful midfielder did not have a club.

Football commentators have argued that if striker Jerome Ramatlhakwana can play for the Zebras while he is unattached, there is no reason to overlook Moloi, more especially that he seems to be back at his best.

A coach, who preferred to remain anonymous said, “Dirang can be lazy, especially in training, to the extent that some coaches who do not understand him can lose it. But you need to understand him, especially his background, in order for him to deliver for you. If he realizes that you believe in him, he can win matches for you as a coach. Look what he is doing at Chiefs; he has been fantastic since returning from a long layoff.” The coach dismissed the claims that Moloi has not been considered in the past because he was club less.

“That is what I’m saying that Dirang needs someone who understands his mind. If Stan (Tshosane) went to AFCON with JJ (Ramatlhakwana) when he was club less, then he should have considered Dirang.

Our team needs someone who is intelligent and Dirang is the answer,” said the coach. Former Notwane striker, Tshepo Tlhakeng, fails to understand why the midfielder has not been considered for a call-up. He said after watching Moloi in action for his club in recent weeks, he has no doubt that he is the answer to the Zebras, who lack creativity.

“I’ve been impressed by what I have seen from him. He seems to be focused and I want to believe that we can benefit from his creativity,” pointed out Tlhakeng.

Most supporters believe that the last time the Zebras had a creative midfielder was during the days of former Mogoditshane Fighters’ talisman, Masego ‘Abedi’ Ntshingane. Though the Zebras did not enjoy much success like now, Ntshingane’s creativity made life easier for scorers like Selolwane and Tshepiso ‘Sox’ Molwantwa to score goals.

For his part, Ntshingane said, “There is no doubt that Dirang is an exceptional player and we need his services. He has talent, which can make things easier for our strikers, but it is important for him to get his mind right and know that the nation needs him. To play for the national team is a challenge because you’re a role model to many people.”

Former Zimbabwean international, Fabian Zulu, joined the chorus in calling for the inclusion of Moloi in the next camp. He said that in recent times, though the Zebras have recorded some impressive results, it has been evident that there is lack of creativity.

“The reason why the likes of (striker) Jerome drop too much during games is because there is no one to feed them with those killer passes. Dirang is a kind of player who can single handily win games for you,” Zulu said.

Though there have been reports that he has retired from the Zebras, Moloi dismissed the talk saying that he still wants to play for the national team.

“I never said I have quit international football. The last time I was dropped, I was told that it’s because I did not have a club. Right now I’m playing and I will honour the call if the coach needs me. I want to tell the nation that the coach decides those who play for the Zebras not me. At the moment I’ll continue enjoying myself at Chiefs,” said Moloi on Friday morning before their crucial Mascom Top 8 semi-final clash against ECCO City Greens in Francistown yesterday.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.