Sunday, September 27, 2020

No local player heading for foreign league

The transfer window is almost over and, unlike in other neighbouring countries, there has not been a single talent-scout visiting the country.

This paints a gloomy picture. In an interview with Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s Chief Executive Officer, Mooketsi Kgotlele, it was revealed that they had not received word of any talent scouts in the country. Kgotlele, however, said he was not surprised since the performances of the national teams have been poor.

“Both our Under 20 and senior national teams did not do well and we cannot expect an inflow of scouts during this particular transfer window,” he said. On the other hand, Pula Sports Marketing Boss, Bernard Mamelodi, revealed that they had contacts with about 10 world acclaimed agents. He said as Pula Sports Marketing, they can help land the agents but added that local players lack the mentality to play in other leagues.

“Our players don’t have fighters in themselves; it is only the likes of Mogogi and Dipsy, the rest are cry babies. I don’t want to single out names but why is Moemedi Moatlhaping back home? Our players are not ready to play in competitive leagues; it is pointless to bring agents here,” Mamelodi said.

In 1997, in the Under 17 games held in Gaborone, there were some participating players who today make the core of European clubs.

Even some of our local players also caught the eye of the scouts. The likes of Mogogi Gabonamong were called for trials at Manchester United but it has only been in recent years that they made it into big leagues.

Kgotlele said they had in the past invited people to apply for the FIFA licenses but only a handful of applications came. Still the few that came in never went through the FIFA conducted tests.

South African Under 20 side are doing well at the on-going Rwanda hosted Under 20 African Youth Championships where, by booking a place in the semi finals, they automatically qualified for the Youth World Cup. On their way to the youth championships, they went past Botswana.

In the first leg, the young Zebras came from behind to force a draw with them. In the second round, the local lads lost by a three nil thrashing. A week after their exit from the last stage of the qualifiers, their head coach, Oris Radipotsane was sacked. He later publicly said on one of the radio stations that he did not put enough effort in South Africa since he did not want to qualify the team for some one else.

BFA’s technical director, Sikalame Keatholetse, concurred that the under 20 side stood a chance.

“Considering our performance against South Africa, and looking at the sides, like Gabon, who we eliminated, I personally believe we could have played well had we qualified, maybe even for the World Cup. Looking at the ability of our players, their technique and tactical display there leaves no doubt we could have played well,” he said.
This is not the first time the country missed out on an opportunity to make a mark. There was a time when the senior national team would not release Under 23 players, Dirang Moloi and Jerome Ramatlhakwana, yet the Under 23 stood a better chance of qualifying at the expense of the senior national team. In the end both teams did not qualify.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.