Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Go well ‘Tebro’, you served football diligently

Botswana football fraternity is mourning the passing on of football stalwart Tubego “Tebro” Onkabetse last week Sunday. 

Onkabetse’s passion for football has contributed immensely to the development in the country. 

He was seen as the father, mentor, teacher and leader of football who contributed immensely to the development of football to what is it today. 

Former Botswana Football Association leaders remembered Tebro as a leader who was passionate about football. “Tebro” was born in Serowe on August 8, 1950

Former BFA CEO and FIFA development officer Ashford Mamelodi in his words of remembrance said: “Tebro” Onkabetse was a true servant of football and for me an absolute pleasure to work with. He loved football and served it in an administrative capacity with unprecedented commitment and loyalty at club, regional and national executive committee levels for many years. 

He officiated at both National First Division and Premier League games in Selebi-Phikwe up to the just ended season.

A quiet, unassuming gentleman, “Tebro” served and excelled during an era of non-factional football and indeed his exit as Regional Chairman in Selebi-Phikwe, a few years ago, was as a result of factionalised football. This notwithstanding he continued to serve football advising all, including his Regional Committee until his death. He was a deserving CAF 50th Anniversary and BFA Presidential awards recipient. “Tebro” was by all accounts an unsung hero of Botswana Football.  

Phillip Dikgang Makgalemele: “Tebro” just like the late Charles Chilisa were amazing foot soldiers of Botswana football. They were always there for football although “Tebro” hardly supported me during the BFA elections; he remained loyal and committed to me once elections were over. 

“I am happy that my leadership honoured him when CAF turned 50. My leadership as BFA president also benefited immensely from his undivided service to football. He was amongst the 50 football people we honoured for the CAF 50th event in 2007. He was a true servant of the Selibe Phikwe Regional Football Association and played a key role in youth and women development. 

“In fact talk of any structure at the region’s level, it’s “Tebro” for you. I want to thank his family for availing him to football development. We got the lion’s share of his life as football family. 

David Fani former BFA president: “I learnt of Mr Onkabetse’s demise with shock and extreme sadness.  I was shocked by his sudden death and saddened by the loss of a man who meant so much to Botswana football.  During the time when both of us served in the BFA National Executive Committee, Mr Onkabetse was a colleague as well as an elder brother to me and the Executive Committee.  We benefitted greatly from his advice, counsel and mentorship.  He served the game of football with self-lessness and total commitment at club, league, regional and national levels.  You could count on him to make time for tasks and assignments whenever there was a need, putting the national interest above his own.  Such people are very rare to find.  Amongst the things that stood out was his humility, this despite his immense knowledge and experience.  The game of football has indeed lost a true servant.

Tebogo Sebego, former BFA president: ”I have known “Tebro” since my playing days at Hotspurs. He has held many leadership positions within the BFA structures. For the longest time he and the late Charles Chilisa were the most senior chairpersons within Regional football in the country.

When the BFA constitution was changed post my presidential election in 2012 when regions were clustered into four blocks, he was elected the Block Representative for the eastern Block and therefore sat in the NEC that I headed. He was very knowledgeable and experienced leader who guided me in my new role. On numerous occasions he led national teams’ delegation on international assignments. He was also very passionate about development hence was always the head of Botswana games in his area. His immense contribution to the game made him one of the first recipients of the BFA presidential award in 2013. His death is a big loss to the game of football. 

Barulaganye Moloi, Selibe Phikwe Regional Football Association chairperson: To us in the region “Tebro” was a backbone and pillar of our strength. We relied on him on many issues for guidance and implementation. “Tebro” was the premier league representative in Phikwe. He was the one who was securing venues for Premier League matches and was also responsible for ticketing and collection of gate-takings after the matches and he would later bank the money for the Premier League office in Gaborone. His loss is huge and a vacuum has been created in our region. As an elder he was calming us whenever tempers were high and as the chairman who took over from him I was still looking for him for proper fatherly advice.

“Tebro” was laid to rest yesterday (Saturday). 

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