Sunday, September 20, 2020

Local professional players are level headed

The past few seasons saw several local players moving to foreign leagues, especially to South Africa.

In addition to that, there has been a coach in the professional ranks, something that was unheard only a couple of years ago.

The developments are a step forward for local football, especially the national team, because there will be more competitive players.

The person who actually started the ball rolling is Diphetogo Selolwane.
After spending some years in the United States of America, he signed for the South African Premier League side, Cape Town Santos. Selolwane’s predatory instincts put Botswana in the spotlight and talent scouts and team owners started showing keen interests in local players.

Soon Mogogi Gabonamong followed, along with goalkeeper, Modiri Marumo.
Marumo, however, headed to North Africa, to Egypt, where he also signed for one of the top Premier League teams, Haraas El Hadoud.

Currently in South Africa, there is Jerome Ramatlhakwane and Boitumelo Mafoko at Santos and Phenyo Mongala at Orlando Pirates.

It is Mongala who looks to make more impact than ever made by any local player because he is playing for arguably the country’s top club.
He has natural abilities lacking in many players.

Mongala is receiving rave reviews from the hard to please and influential South African media.

Two more players, Noah Maposa and Pontsho Moloi, might also sign for the First Division side, Bay United.
It is now clear that doors are open for local players, especially in the South African Premier League. All those who go there seem to do well. It was only Moemedi Moatlhaping who returned back home, under what still remains mysterious circumstances, after about a season at Platinum Stars.

Those who make it outside the country are second best to some locally-based players. There are some excellent local players who are never even invited for trials at some of the leading teams in South Africa.

Former Township Rollers player and Mogoditshane Fighters assistant coach, Mmoni ‘States’ Segopolo told Sunday Standard that a variety of factors leads to some players to make it outside at the expense of others.

“First and foremost is discipline. If you are not disciplined forget about making a living out of football. I am not at all surprised by the local players who have already joined the professional ranks and I saw it coming. I worked with Mafoko, Mongala, Gabonamong, Marumo and Selolwane and they possess a unique and good character. All those players are level headed and you would not hear much negativity about them on and off the field. If more players could be like them they would make it outside,” he said.

Segopolo also added that it all starts from an early age on what a player wants to achieve in life. He said once that’s the case, several local players would also be even in Europe.
“Background counts the most on the player and it is unfortunate that most good players are playing football just for the sake of it while not knowing that once they put more effort they can make it abroad,” he said.

The technical officer of the Botswana Football Association, Philemon Makgwengwe, echoed Segopolo’s statements saying being level headed is the golden rule of a player.
“It is unfortunate that most of our talented players are not making it mainly because of discipline. All local players in the professional ranks are our true ambassadors and I wish we could have more of them. Once that is the case the national team can go places,” he said.

Makgwengwe added that in addition to the discipline, it is also all about the availability of opportunities. He gave the example of Maposa and Moloi, who have since been invited for trials at Bay United. Makgwengwe said the duo has been invited because of the availability of positions at the team.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

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