Sunday, April 2, 2023

Local strikers take charge of league scoreboard

Local strikers seem to have found their feet in the on-going be-MOBILE Premier League.

After several years of foreign domination, it looks like local strikers want to finish on a high note at the end of the current season.

Although it is still too early to make any predictions, the league has reached a stage when, if the local strikers remain focused, they might end up finishing at the top.

The current leading goalscorers are: Malepa Bolelang of Francistown-based Ecco City and Moemedi Moatlhaping of Mochudi Centre Chiefs.

Before going to press, both strikers had eleven goals apiece followed by Township Rollers midfielder, Joel Mogorosi, who had 10 goals.

Last year’s top goal scorer was a Zimbabwean, Terrence Mandaza, who was playing for Township Rollers and scored a total of 42 goals.

Even though local strikers are trying, they have to pull up their socks if they are to equal or better Mandaza’s record.

Generally, the current striking rate of local players is good news to national team coach, Stanley Tshosane, who will have many strikers to choose from. With the exception of Bolelang, the other two are in the national team. Moatlhaping was once in the national team and did fairly well but ended up being dropped after a dip in form. At one stage he even earned himself a contract in the South African Premier League.

Extension Gunners and national team coach, Daniel Nare, told Sunday Standard that it is encouraging for the country to see local strikers leading the pack.

“It is always good to see local strikers on top of the scoring charts. The only problem is that they are not consistent because if they do well now, next time they are down. Our league has also, for some time, been dominated by foreign strikers and when local strikers do well it improves the performance of the national team,” he said.

Nare, however, is worried that Botswana does not produce enough strikers and, in the long run, this will catch up with Botswana football.

He said it is a question of many teams in the country not taking seriously youth development structures.

“If we do not identify and mould youngsters into strong strikers we are definitely going to have a problem in the long run. That obviously goes to the problem of youth structures that are not taken seriously in the country,” he said.

Nare also added that age is catching up with most of the local strikers in the national team and it is a pity that there is no body waiting on the wings to challenge them or replace them once they retire.

“In this country, we see a situation whereby there are more excellent goalkeepers than strikers and it is not good for the country. Our first choice goalkeeper, Modiri Marumo, is exceptionally good together with those deputizing him, like Noah Maposa and Kabelo Dambe. If you look at ages of Maposa and Dambe you can see that their future is bright. The same thing cannot be said about the strikers,” he said.

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