April 11 2010: Many people in Botswana are saying uncomplimentary things about the uninviting performance of the national team, Zebras.
The source of the problems for the national team has obviously been their inability to score, even with clear cut chances.
This is one area in which a coach definitely has little to do and it all boils down to the Premier League.
Already, the goal scoring charts in the Premier League are dominated by foreign players as has been the case in the past. It also looks like the top goal scorer award is once again going to fall in the hands of a foreign player. The last local to win a leading goal scorer award was Jerome Ramatlhakwane, three seasons ago and he shared it with a Zimbabwean, Master Masitara.
Masitara repeated it last year after scoring a record 27 goals.
This season, another Zimbabwean, Terrence Mandaza, is already on course to win the top goal scorer award. Already his team, Township Rollers, is left with six matches, but he has already netted 27 goals.
His nearest rival is Mweuku Musona, a Zambian at Mochudi Centre Chiefs who has scored 18 goals.
But of the top six goalscorers, there is only one local player, Mogakolodi Ngele, who appears in fourth place.
Before weekend matches, Ngele had scored 16 goals, 12 shy of Mandaza. The standard of the Premier League obviously reflects on the national team. If the locals are not scoring at their respective clubs, they would still not score at senior team level.
Mokgathi Mokgathi, who is normally used as a top man for the Zebras, has scored only a paltry ten goals.
With this entire unimpressive scoring rate for local players, where is the problem?
Former BDF XI coach, Stanley Mwaanga, told Sunday Standard that it is all about the issue of development. He said there are no proper development structures in the country and that this directly affects the national team. Mwaanga added that the process should all start from the teams.
“For instance, if you look at a player like Mogakolodi Ngele, you can see that he is properly developed. Even the way he executes the goals is excellent and I foresee him as the next great striker from this country. If we had many strikers developed like him there would not be a strikers’ crisis in this country,” he said.
Mwaanga also said local teams are giving more local players a chance, compared to the foreigners. He said foreigners always stand out in most cases because they were properly developed from their respective countries.