Thursday, February 25, 2021

Gabonamong excited to reunite with Mapalastina

When his former club, Bloemfontein Celtic announced in January that they would not be renewing his contract, a number of clubs came knocking on his door. But the reserved midfielder played his cards close to his chest as he wanted to complete the season with Siwele-sa-Masele. Though he played a cameo role for most part of last season, Gabonamong kept his cool and continued to train hard. “I’ve enjoyed my stay in South Africa and I believe it was time to return home and give back to our football. I’ve been away for 10 years and I flew the country’s flag high in the South African Premier League,” said Gabonamong shortly after their morning session.

While there were reports in South African media that Gabonamong was headed for newly-promoted Golden Arrows, Rollers announced on Wednesday that they have snatched their ‘big fish’. The Mmutlane-born midfielder has penned a two-year contract which will see him remain at the famous club until end of June 2017. Mapalastina beat the likes of Arrows and Moroka Swallows to Gabonamong’s signature and the social media went abuzz with Rollers’ supporters welcoming the midfielder back into their nest. “It’s a great feeling to be back home and most importantly to Township Rollers. I can’t wait to put on the Rollers jersey again and go out there to fight for positive results. This is an ambitious club and I want to help them win things during my stay here,” said the 33 year old star.

Gabonamong arrives at a time when Rollers have appointed new coach in Briton Mark Harrison who joined the club from Zimbabwean giants CAPS United. “I’ve sat down with the coach and he has explained what he expects from me. He seems to be a knowledgeable coach and I’m more than prepared to work under him,” he said. Gabonamong added that Rollers have some quality players who are capable of winning any silverware. But he pointed out that they need to believe in their talents in order to make it big. “I’ve been shocked by the kind of talent in the team.

With the kind of players we have I am confident that we can win the League again. I’m here to guide the youngsters with the experience I’ve gained over the years,” he said.

After a career which has seen play for Capetown Santos, Supersport United and Bloemfontein Celtic, Gabonamong tells this publication that he has long taken a decision to return home. “It was not an easy decision to dump the South African League for Botswana but I’ve long decided that it was time to come home. There were about four teams in South Africa which wanted me but my heart was here and I’m glad I made the right decision. People think it’s all about money but that’s not true. It was a family decision,” he said.

Rollers’ assistant coach Teenage Mpote said that the move to bring Gabonamong back to the club was deliberate. “He is an experienced campaigner and we believe he can help us achieve our goals. We’re an ambitious club and we want to win things and go on to compete in Africa. Mogogi has the experience and we think his professionalism will rub into the youngsters we’ve in our team,” Mpote said. Rollers’ supporters will have a chance to see Gabonamong in action when they feature in a four team Maize Cup in Moruleng, South Africa on July 11. Those who won’t be able to travel will have to wait for the Kabelano Charity Cup on July 25 at the National Stadium.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper