Commonly known as ‘Two’ by his peers in his hood of Partial in Gaborone, Godisamang has worked hard to be amongst the best referees in the continent. According to those close to him, he has always set himself targets- one being to be counted amongst the top officials in the continent.
Hardly four years after he was included in the CAF panel, Godisamang found himself included in the list of referees who officiated at the African Nations Championships (CHAN) which were held in the neighbouring South Africa last year. While most people did not take notice and appreciate his role at the games, Godisamang said it was a sign that he was headed for the big stage. Since then, he has been assigned to some of the toughest assignments on the continent and the feedback he got has always been positive.
“My inclusion in the list of referees heading to AFCON did not come as a surprise. It all started when I officiated at the CHAN games and that’s where I could see that I’m heading into the right direction. I officiated in three games at the CHAN games and the feedback I got was very positive,” said Godisamang who turned 37 on December 8. In the 2015 AFCON qualifiers which were played last year, Godisamang alongside referee Joshua Bondo and assistant referee Meshack Medupe, handled some of the high-profile games in the continent which included; Burkina Faso against Gabon, Cameroon against Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa against Nigeria.
As he prepares for the kick off, Godisamang believes that he is in right shape to fly the flag of Botswana high. He admits that it is not going to be easy but it is the drive to achieve big things which makes him confident. “It is a big challenge for me but I’m ready. I’ve been working in the gym (throughout the festive season) as per the instructions from CAF. It’s been a demanding programme but I’m up to it,” Godisamang said.
Referees chairman Edwin Senai said his commission is very proud of Godisamang’s achievements something which goes to show that refereeing in the country has come out of age. “He should know that he is out there to represent the country and he should not let us down. Personally, I’ll be happy if he officiates beyond the preliminary stages because I believe he is capable,” said Senai who also handled games of high magnitude during his time in the 90s.
Botswana Premier League chief executive officer Bennett Mamelodi said having an official at AFCON speaks a lot about the standard of refereeing in Botswana. “I’ve always said that our referees have improved a lot and they need our support to continue blossoming. They have received a lot of stick locally but that did not make them lose focus. He (Godisamang) has been progressing well as it has been proved by his handling of Category A games in the continent. The reports we’ve been receiving about him have been positive. I hope he goes out there and do his best something which will motivate those remaining behind,” said Mamelodi.
Radio Botswana commentator Tiroyaone Lepotokisi said that Godisamang’s achievement has to be celebrated just like when the Zebras qualified for their maiden appearance at the 2012 African Nations Cup. “I’ve always watched him closely during Premier League games and what I like most about him is the confidence he displays when taking decisions. He is never intimidated by players, coaches or the supporters which goes to show that he is the right man for the upcoming stage (Afcon). I just wish we can have more referees in the future,” said Lepotokisi.
The full list is as follows:
Referees: Aboubacar Mario Bangoura (Guinea), Ali Lemghaifry (Mauritania), Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia), Bamlak Tessema Weyesa (Ethiopia), Bernard Camille (Seychelles), Bouchaib El Ahrach (Morocco), Mohamed Hussein El Fadil (Sudan), Eric Otogo Castane (Gabon), Gehad Grisha (Egypt), Hamada Nampiandraza (Madagascar), Janny Sikazwe (Zambia), Joseph Lamptey (Ghana), Juste Zio (Burkina Faso), Koman Coulibaly (Mali), Maguette N’Diaye (Senegal), Malang Diedhiou (Senegal), Mohamed Said Kordi (Tunisia), Mehdi Abid-Charef (Algeria), Neant Alioum (Cameroon), Noumandiez Dou├® (C├┤te d’Ivoire), Rajindraparsad Seechurn (Mauritius), Victor Gomes (South Africa).
Linesmen: Oamogetse Godisamang (Botswana), Abdelhak Etchiali (Algeria), Aboubacar Doumbouya (Guinea), Angesom Ogbamariam (Eritrea), Anouar Hmila (Tunisia), Balkrisna Bootun (Mauritius), Djibril Camara (Senegal), El Hadji Malick Samba (Senegal), Evarist Menkouande (Cameroon), Hassan Egueh Yacin (Djibouti), Jean-Claude Birumushasu (Burundi), Jerson dos Santos (Angola), Malick Alidu Salifu (Ghana), Marwa Range (Kenya), Peter Edibe (Nigeria), Redouane Achik (Morocco), Songuifolo Yeo (C├┤te d’Ivoire), Tahssen Abo El Sadat (Egypt), Theogene Ndagijimana (Rwanda), Waleed Ahmed Ali (Sudan), Yahaya Mahamadou (Niger), Zakhele Siwela (South Africa).