The last few years have seen several local players making their way into the professional football ranks in South Africa, something that was not common in the past.
Currently, in each transfer season Botswana is at least guaranteed one player making it into the well paid ranks. Even the current improvement of the national team is credited to that.
Botswana’s ranking has drastically improved, topping countries they have never led before.
Currently, there are seven Botswana professional players in the South African professional leagues of which six are in the Premier League. Goalkeeper Modiri Marumo is the only one who plies his trade in the First Division side, Bay United.
Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Boitumelo Mafoko, and Mogogi Gabonamong play for Cape Town Santos, while Phenyo Mongala plays for popular Orlando Pirates.
Veteran Diphetogo Selolwane, on the other hand, plays for consecutive treble champions, Supersport United.
The latest addition is Dirang Moloi who joined new comers, Vasco da Gama.
Compared to other Southern African countries, Botswana has the least number of players in the South African leagues.
Countries such as Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique have for years had players in the South African league.
Even small countries such as Swaziland have always had good players there compared to Botswana.
The only few Botswana players that had short stints in the South African leagues include the likes of the late Terrence Mphuting, who played for both Kaizer Chiefs and QwaQwa Stars, and Itumeleng Duiker, who had time at Dynamos.
Although it looks like, with time, most Botswana players will end up making it to South Africa in their numbers, it appears as if other countries are strides ahead.
Players’ business manager, Olebile Sikwane, pointed to a number of reasons why Botswana has fewer players in South Africa despite the immense talent in the country.
Sikwane said the thing that has been lacking is the relationship between the local teams and the South African ones.
He said that such relationships are important in and are the norm among many countries worldwide.
“If our clubs could create rapport with their South African counterparts it would be easier for our local players to make it to South Africa. At least some, like Township Rollers, are trying because it looks like they work well with Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars. But that is not enough because all local clubs should do the same,” he said.
Sikwane also added that even South African teams have cordial relationships with several clubs in Europe where South African players normally go. He added that another issue of concern is the marketing of players.
Sikwane said clubs are not doing enough to market their players outside the country. He said other countries lead us in the exporting of players because their former players are already known and are using that to their advantage to market their players.