Sunday, September 20, 2020

Glorious careers wasted as talented players are relegated to the bench

There are always players who are seen as national team material. Normally when they do not make it, the technical teams are always bombarded with questions and convincing reasons should be given.

In most cases, the obvious reason is lack of game time at their respective teams and thus putting their fitness level in doubt.

Some of the players who are finding it difficult to make it to the national team despite the potential they have are the likes of Gobonyeone Selefa, Boniface Makolo, Sekhana ‘Chicken’ Koko and Jones Kwape.

Some analysts even go to the extent that once the caliber of such players is not given opportune time, it shows their respective teams do not have the interests of the country at heart.

Selefa started his career at Notwane and upon realising the talent he had, Centre Chiefs did not waste time in luring him to their fold. But it was at the national Under 23 team that he actually gained admiration in football circles. Even one of the respected coaches in the world, Ratomir Dujakovic, once talked highly of Selefa when Botswana demolished China 4-0 at the Eight Nations Tournament in South Africa last year.

Selefa had a glorious first season at Centre Chiefs and was seen as a suitable replacement for Mompati Thuma at the national team, should Thuma retire.

Even former Zebras coach, Colwyn Rowe, used to call him for friendly games and Selefa never disappointed.
The challenge for Selefa started when Chiefs signed Michael Mohaladi from Maritzburg United of South Africa.

Selefa was then converted to the
central position, which was his favourite. Naturally, Mohaladi was used as anchorman in the midfield and the conversion shocked Selefa who then got relegated to the bench. Since then the player has found little game time despite his incredible potential.
The little game time he had meant no more national team call-ups and, if the situation continues, he might not ever make it.
The best way for him would be to move to a team where he can play regularly to exploit his full potential.

When Makolo moved to arch-rivals Gaborone United, together with Gabriel Bokhutlo, it was shocking news to Township Rollers supporters who considered them loyal members. Makolo dominated the left wing of the national Under 23 while Bokhutlo Bokhutlo was doing the damage on the right. It was then only Bokhutlo who managed to command a regular place while Makolo found himself on the sidelines.
Normally, players who are naturally left footed are not easy to find and it is painful for someone of Makolo’s caliber, who can also easily fit in at the senior national team.

Makolo found himself fighting for the same position with the likes of Kabo Molokwane.

It would be better if he looked for another team or if he moved back to Rollers or even Centre Chiefs, where he was a revelation.

For his welfare, it was a positive move for Kwape to join BDF XI but from football point of view, it seems not good at all. Kwape was a celebrated player before joining BDF XI. He was seen as the solution to the goal-scoring problems of the Zebras because he was doing a marvelous job for Notwane. But since returning from intensive army training, Kwape has been a shadow of himself and many are wondering whether he will ever be back to his renowned form.

Many teams aspired to have Koko in their books when he was still playing for Uniao Flamengo Santos.

He ended up in the Rollers camp and immediately made an impact. It also did not take long before he was called to the national team where he was also marvelous to watch.

His move from Rollers to Centre Chiefs seems to have not done him any good because he is always warming the bench and, on rare occasions, comes on as a substitute. Surprisingly, every time he is given a run, he never disappoints and regularly finds the back of the net.

Why he is always on the bench only Centre Chiefs coach knows better.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.