Wednesday, November 30, 2022

‘I remain in the plans of the coach’ – Selolwane

When Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane came off the bench in extra-time for his South African Premier League side, Supersport United, to score a beautiful goal which led his side to a 3-1 win over stubborn Golden Arrows in the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday night, there was relief written all over his face and even his fans back home could not stop smiling.

The Botswana international has been in and out of the starting line-up at the Tshwane-based club and his performance in extra-time could as well force coach Gavin Hunt to stick to him like earlier in the season.

It was Selolwane’s first goal since September and it came in handy as Arrows were proving to be stubborn at the time. He struck from outside the box in the 110th minute, a shot which gave Arrows’ eccentric goalkeeper Thulasizwe Khuzwayo no chance.

The goal spurred Supersport United on as they managed to find another goal through Anthony Laffor to put the game beyond Arrows’ reach.

When he arrived at the three-time league champions from Ajax Cape Town at the start of the season, Selolwane was a regular but since the start of the year, the coach decided to use him more as a substitute.

It was a decision which left most of the workaholic fans wondering what could have gone wrong in a short space of time. Even fellow countryman, Mogogi ‘Gino’ Gabonamong, who was signed in January, was enjoying a more regular run in the team than Selolwane.

Contacted for comment, Selolwane said that he has been in and out of the team because of injuries and suspensions. He admitted that it is worrying not to be in the starting line-up, especially that the team is not doing well in the league, but said that it is something that a professional player has to go through in his career.

“I want to believe that I’m still a big part of the team. Remember that I’ve played most of the games this season, so there’s no need to panic,” he said. The soft-spoken utility player added that at the start of the season, he did not think they would struggle like has been the case. Despite being the defending champions of the South African ABSA Premier League, Supersport United are lying on the wrong end of the table and their only hope is to secure a top eight spot.

The 5-0 loss to Bloemfontein Celtic a fortnight ago even raised eyebrows as to what could have hit the defending champions.

Coach Hunt has been criticized from all corners but Selolwane remains confident.

“It’s been tough for us but things are shaping up a little for us. At least we’re not conceding like before and all we need to do is convert the numerous scoring chances we create.”

Selolwane sang praises for Gabonamong, saying that he has added the balance they needed in defence, especially after the departure of their captain Bongani Khumalo who has joined Tottenham Hotspur in England. Gabonamong has played almost every game since arriving from Cape Town Santos and the coach has even admitted that he was the missing link in the team.

On the upcoming 2012 African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifier against Chad in N’djamena on March 26, Selolwane said that it is important for them to use the same approach they have been using in the qualifiers.

The Zebras need to win or draw away in North Africa for them to make their first appearance at the continental championships.

“There is no need to change our approach. We need to soak up pressure and hit them on a counter. It’s going to be a difficult game for us but anything is possible if we stick to our game plan,” he said.

In the latest FIFA rankings, which were released on Wednesday, Botswana remain 13 in Africa while Chad are placed 39th, something which makes the Zebras favourites to clinch the tie.

Selolwane has been very instrumental in the qualifiers and has made it clear that he would retire a happy man if he sends the Zebras to AFCON, which will be held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon next year.

At the moment, it seems, only a miracle can stop the Zebras from reaching the finals.
He challenged Batswana to rally their support behind the team more in the last qualifiers saying that it will be crucial.

“It will be interesting to know what Batswana are doing to ensure that we do not falter in the remaining games,” he said. After Chad’s game, the Zebras will play host to Malawi and finish off the campaign against Togo later in the year.


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