For a very long time, there were no teams in the Central part of Botswana. People had to travel long distances to either Gaborone, Francistown or Selibe-Phikwe to watch Premier League action.
It was, however, a wild session of ululations, handshaking and shoulder slapping for the past two years when two Central district teams made it to the elite league.
The two teams are Motlakase from Palapye and Miscellaneous of Serowe. Motlakase made it last season while Miscellaneous made it this season. People of the Serowe and Palapye areas were indeed happy that the long dry spell of real flair of action was over.
But all the happiness seems to be gone because the promotion of the two teams did not come with playgrounds suitable for Premier League matches. Both teams are now forced to play their home games away in Selibe Phikwe. When Motlakase were promoted last season, they tried all they could to build themselves a stadium but cost implications were their main undoing.
Both teams are now not performing well and are rooted at the bottom of the league.
Motlakase coach, Stanley Mwaanga, told Sunday Standard that the lack of home ground stadium has taken its toll on the team. He said it is affecting the players psychologically and they are not performing to their maximum. “We cannot enjoy home ground advantage compared to other teams because we are always on the road. Imagine we are always travelling weekend in and out and the players also get affected. It is definitely not doing us justice at all,” he said.
Mwaanga said even their supporters do not attend the matches in desired numbers because they always have to keep forking out money from their pockets. He added that it is even worse if the team is not performing well. The only stadium that was available in the Central region was the controversial Serowe Stadium, which had to be closed for safety reasons. The stadium was reported to have been built on an unsuitable soil and started developing major cracks.
It was closed and a new place is being sought.
Mwaanga is, however, optimistic that despite all the challenges facing his team, he is determined to go places with Motlakase.
“I have coached several teams in Botswana and what I have seen at Motlakase is amazing. The team is ambitious and is run professionally and I wish most teams can borrow a leaf from them. If only things can continue the way they are, the team will make big achievements in a few years,” he said.