Veteran defensive midfielder, Boitumelo “Navara” Mafoko, was the toast of the night last Thursday night as Jwaneng Galaxy swept all but one award on offer during the Mascom Top 8 awards ceremony.
The 37-year-old Galaxy player was crowned the Mascom Top 8 Player of the Tournament during the ceremony which was held at the Gaborone International Conference Centre.
Mafoko beat the duo of team-mate Thabang Sesinyi and Orapa United captain Thabang Mosige to snatch what was the most coveted prize of the night.
This is despite the veteran midfielder having played just three games during the entire tournament, two less than both his competitors.
The award was a swansong moment for Mafoko, who will be retiring from football at the end of this season.
“Boitumelo deserves this award; his performance during the tournament spoke for him. He has a lot of experience having played for teams such as Township Rollers and BDF XI and now Jwaneng Galaxy that he led to Mascom Top 8,” sports journalist Tshepo Molwane observed.
For his efforts, Mafoko, who was influential as Galaxy shone to the Mascom Top 8 glory, walked away with a P50 000 cheque and a trophy.
To cap off a memorable night, Mafoko’s team-mate, Anthony Gouws was selected the number one goalkeeper while Galaxy coach Mike Sithole walked away with the Number One Coach award.
The only award to elude Galaxy was the Yellow Boot award, which recognises the tournament’s top goalscorer. The award was won by the duo of BDF XI marksman Kumbee Roger Katjiteo and Orapa United’s Tendai Nyumasi. Both players scored four goals each during the tournament.
The awards capped off what has been a season to remember for Jwaneng Galaxy, who were making a debut in the tournament.
Galaxy’s success in the tournament was met with joy from various quarters, among them the tournament sponsors themselves.
“When we launched season 6 last October, I also started my speech by welcoming Jwaneng Galaxy to the Mascom Top 8. I also said that I hoped that they would get inspiration from Orapa United and win the Mascom Top 8 on their maiden appearance. Here we are, today we celebrate another historic win for ‘Tse di Tona’ and congratulate Jwaneng Galaxy,” Mascom CEO Jose Couciero stated.
Debswana could not hold their excitement as two of their best teams, Jwaneng Galaxy and Opara United made history by winning the tournament on their debuts.
“This year, Jwaneng Galaxy have their own story to tell as they too qualified for the competition within a season after getting promotion from the first division league,” Balisi Bonyongo, Managing Director of Debswana said.
On other awards, Keabetswe Dintwa was awarded Best Referee while the No 1 Assistant Referee went to Bakwena Simankalele.