Thursday, September 24, 2020

Local strikers on song again

The past three seasons have been a bed of roses for local strikers. Local strikers have improved tremendously and are eclipsing their foreign counterparts in front of goal.

This year also looks to be not an exception because locals are still leading the pack. Gone now seems to be the years when foreigners were the dominant force. Almost every team used to have a foreign striker and a team that did not have one was doomed to fail.

Since incumbent Cape Town Santos coach, Major David Bright, did away with foreign strikers while still coaching Mogoditshane Fighters during the turn of the century, many teams now have gone his way but the little they import leaves a lot to be desired. During his tenure at Fighters, Bright won many titles using a team mainly dominated by locals. In the deadly foreign legion of strikers were the likes of Joseph Chikoti (Township Rollers), Edison Mulubwa, Francis Chisenga (Extension Gunners), Mandla Balandla (Gaborone United), Themba Lunga (Nico United), just to mention a few. Last year’s top goal scorer was a local, Pontsho Moloi of Mochudi Centre Chiefs and the year before that it was Malepa Bolelang of Ecco City Green. There is a possibility for Moloi to defend his title because he is also in scoring form. His compatriots at Centre Chiefs, like Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Mpho ‘Jomo” Mabogo and Oteng Moalosi, are also on song. At press time Ramatlhakwane was the leading goal scorer with thirteen goals. What is surprising about Moalosi is that he is a midfielder, but he always finds time to surge forward and score vital goals for the team. Other local strikers who also stand a chance of walking away with the golden boot award are the likes of Ringo Rankgomo of Uniao Flamengo Santos and Tiryamodimo Mohambi of Extension Gunners.

Rankgomo is one of the leading forces behind Santos success. Currently they are the closest challengers to the log leaders, Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Any slip up by Chiefs would see Santos leapfrogging them. Despite Gunners finding the going tough, Mohambi has put Gunners on his shoulders. The Thamaga-born striker always lives up to expectations and scores when least expected.

Foreign strikers whom a lot was expected from were Bernard Simakwenzi of Township Rollers and Sageby Sandaka of Gaborone United. Both strikers, from Zambia and Zimbabwe respectively, came with a bang in the country. They were unstoppable whirlwinds who have now withered.

Simakwenzi arrived two seasons ago and joined BDF XI. At BDF XI he was always the man to watch and it was not surprising when crowd pullers, Township Rollers, snatched him. Although at Rollers he is playing well and many defenders are finding it hard to contain him, he is not converting easy chances that come his way. Simakwenzi has even made it clear to the media that this is not his year. Sandaka, on the hand, surprised many soccer followers when he arrived last season. He arrived in the second round of the league, but managed to score many goals that ended up putting him in the top five bracket of the leading goal scorers. Since the beginning of the league, Sandaka has also struggled with his form.

Other foreign strikers who are yet to produce their renowned precision are the likes of Richard Mwanza of Police XI, System Mubi and Kenny Kamwimbwa of BDF XI. When Mubi arrived from Zambia two seasons ago, he was a well decorated man. It was reported that he was one of the leading goal scorers in the Zambian Premier League but he is yet to produce that magic here.

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