“The club would like to put on record that we have parted with goalkeeper Mwampole Masule. After series of meetings with the player regarding his discipline, we found it fit to end the agreement we had with the player,” a statement from Orapa United cutting ties with the player reads.
For the umpteenth time in his career, the former Township Rollers and National team goalkeeper’s ill-discipline had caught up with him.
This time however, there may be a heavy price to pay for the talented goalkeeper as he may find himself without a club.
While Masule is the latest player to be cited for indiscipline, he is just one of the country’s many talented footballers whose wayward ways are threatening to cut short their playing careers.
Taking a few steps down memory lane, Lebogang Ditsele former Highlands player had his fair share of bad behaviour. The talented Ditsele was part of the national team for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when he was caught on camera sneaking alcohol and female companions into the national team camp.
The escapades earned the midfielder the nickname ‘CCTV’ as well as a suspension from the national team for contravening the BFA code of conduct.
Past the Ditsele saga, another four players, Mothusi Cooper, Onkabetse Makgantai, Mothusi Johnson and Thero Setsile, all of them young and talented players, were omitted from the national team by coach Adel Amrouche for ill-discipline.
The issue has now prompted many to ask what could be leading the country’s talented players astray.
According to sport commentator Jimmy George, while many blame the indiscipline of players on alcohol, the latter is just a cherry on top. George says the problem lies with the management of teams as well as our family structures.
Highlighting that back in the day’s kids/ youth knew their place in the community but nowadays it is a norm to find youths drinking with elders, noting that it is far worse because even coaches are partaking in the exercise to drink with players.
Even journalist of nowadays have come on board he added, saying that journalist’s role is to be a watch dog for the nation but rather they are seen hanging and drinking with players. The error they make is to befriend players making it hard to correct them he said.
“Players should know they are working; they should always consider their families because their behaviour reflects them. Their surnames are printed on the back of their shirts and what ever the behaviour they display goes back to that family, they should always remember that,” George said.
It comes as a shame for the country said George, that players who go abroad hardly last there and this all goes down to discipline.
“Players like Makgantai and Kabelo Dambe to name a few did not have long careers outside the boarders of Botswana, and the question is why?” he said.
Interestingly, George said while Botswana has had foreign players in her shores, it has never been recorded anywhere that one of them has a bad behaviour.
Highlighting that the difference between them and our players is that they are smart, they have a vision of their career being good ambassadors for their countries, they are not moved by the pleasure of the moment and overall, they have self-discipline, something that many of our players do not have.
In addition, he said, even the national team coach Adel Amrouche said the team is full of indiscipline and it is a concern. However, George said he would like to applaud Daniel ‘Chicco’ Nare for his effort to fight this. The Security Systems coach made a public statement that he should be alerted if any of his players misbehave and just maybe, this might be what placed them in the second position of the league.
One football writer, who commented on condition of anonymity opined the country ill-discipline among local players is endemic.
He cited Orapa United as one team largely afflicted by the problem, adding that ahead of their first game this year, some of their players went clubbing on Friday while the likes of Makgantai reported late from festive break.
The commentator added that as some of the players come from the rural areas when they are suddenly thrust into the limelight, they sometimes get lost in the bright lights of city life.
“Kana some of these boys babo ba tswa ko magaeng haba tsena mo tropong ba tronkega. As for Masule, he is a worst-case scenario; even at Township Rollers he got injured breaking his girlfriend’s window,” he said.
He said the problem is exacerbated by some section of supporters who when the players are kicked out for indiscipline, accuse management of jealousy.
“How can we be jealous of players when they are messing up their own career and our sport?” he asked rhetorically.
Sports commentator and journalist, City Keagakwa, said discipline has a lot to do with development, ambition and purpose. To play football one must be disciplined, it’s a team sport and one’s ill-discipline can badly affect the progress of the whole squad.
Highlighting that if our players were ambitious, they will be disciplined. “It is not the first time we hear of this problem, we have players called CCTV and we know how that came about, others had to do public apologies thanks to their discipline,” he said.
Adding that it is a worrying issue, these guys are professionals and must treat themselves as such. Most of the players involved are top talents, earning slightly better salaries at their respective clubs, but because they are not ambitious, they fall into the trap of Fame and lose focus.
He went on to say, most of our players do not have agents/ managers and they easily get caught in situations they should not be in as a result of bad advices or influence. We have got some big fishes in small ponds and that can only be short lived. Clubs can set rules, hold workshops but it must come from an individual to aim higher, set goals and go after them.
“Orapa has already shipped out Masule, I understand he was in mix with Bophelo Kealeboga, but they are not the only ones, Adel Amrouche has strongly complained about lack of discipline and we are talking about a coach at the helm of the national team, surely this is a problem that our players has welcomed it as fashion,” Keagakwe said.
He continued to say, any professional club would not tolerate indiscipline, so if our players working abroad are not disciplined, they are bound to fail. Noting that it is upon individuals and the community to help these great talents realize their true potential
Commenting on condition of anonymity, one insider at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) said issues of ill-discipline among athletes cuts across every fibre of Botswana’s society.
He said if given a choice between work and alcohol or fun, the youth of Botswana would rather take fun, saying as football administrators, this is what they are faced with among players.
“Football is a public domain but sports on its own is filled with youth and they carry some mind set, meaning we have some mental disorder in this country and its time we realise it now,” he said.
“Failure to prepare our player for limelight when they are recruited is one of the reasons that we are in this mess. We do not prepare them for the lime light and that comes as a disadvantage.
“Some of these players come from remote places and when their careers start, they are suddenly given all these lavish things. they then lose it from that point because no one has given them a lesson on to handle that kind of life,” he concluded.