Saturday, November 26, 2022

Football fraternity remembers Big Joe

In the morning of Wednesday 25 December 2009, the football fraternity woke up to the shocking news that former Gaborone United (GU) captain, Joseph ‘Big Joe’ Phetogo, was involved in a mysterious car accident near Pilane the previous night and was certified dead upon arrival at Deborah Retief Memorial (DRM) Hospital in Mochudi.

The news spoiled the festive season of most people who have been close or adored the GU skipper for a long time. His sudden death came less than 10 days after he had celebrated his 29th birthday.

It was even more painful to GU family as earlier that year he helped the club win their first league title in 18 years. A game in which the Reds beat his home side, Mochudi Centre Chiefs 1-0 on a final day in Molepolole. At the be MOBILE Premier League awards, Phetogo was chosen as the player of the season, an award which lies in the living room of his family’s house in Bokaa as remembrance of the good work their son did.

It was a sad moment for Botswana football to lose such a talent at an early age. Thousands of football people converged in Bokaa some days later to pay their last respects to the GU skipper who was described by many as the most disciplined player to wear GU shirt in recent times.

While Phetogo is no longer on this earth, he is still in the memory of many football loving people. Almost two years after his demise, football lovers gathered in his home village of Bokaa yesterday for the unveiling of his tombstone.

The ceremony was attended by members of his family, GU players, management and supporters who used to watch the level-headed skipper doing business for the Gaborone giants. It is a perfect month to remember the former GU stalwart.

According to his uncle, Gerald ‘Super’ Bodika, the unveiling of Phetogo’s tombstone was to celebrate his life and remember the good things which he did while he was on this earth. “He lived a clean life and respected everyone around him,” said Bodika.

GU secretary Herbert Letsebe said that they will always cherish the time Phetogo dedicated to the Reds despite being wanted by other clubs. He said being in Bokaa was to show their appreciation as a club and the football community. “We were part of the preparations for this day (tombstone unveiling). The good thing is that we’ve always been close to Phetogo’s family moreso that they are GU supporters,” added Letsebe. The GU official said it is always going to be difficult for the Reds to find a leader of Phetogo’s caliber but they are trying to instill that kind of attitude on their players especially the seniors. “It’s not easy these days to find a leader of the caliber of Joe and City Senne but we’re trying. It is made even more difficult because today’s players put money before anything. But we remain confident that we’ll get something in the current crop,” he concluded.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper