Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Paymaster Dennison – Botswana’s biggest soccer legend ever is “missing to the world”

Type William “Paymaster” Dennison on your internet search engine and the World Wide Web respond with: Your search William “Paymaster” Dennison did not match any documents. This is internetese for William Paymaster Who?

As the Dennison family gathered in Mahalapye over the Independence Day Holiday to unveil the tombstone of the man roundly described as, “the greatest footballer the country ever produced”, the World Wide Web was suffering from a bad case of amnesia.

A thorough search of the World Wide Web later turned up a single story announcing Paymaster’s death, and a passing mention in three sentences by the late multitalented Rampholo Molefhe in an editorial piece where he was reminiscing about his time as captain of Black Peril Football Club. States Rampholo: “One of the sweetest victories was against Notwane at a Botswana Federation of Trade Unions sponsored soccer contest at the national stadium. I played opposite one of the greatest footballers the country ever produced, the great Willie ‘Paymaster’ Dennison. My only prayer was to get to the ball first. Once Willie gets it, forget it.”

Paymaster was voted best player on the top all-time best players in Botswana survey published on the “Football through the years 1966-2006” book. He also received a posthumous award from the CAF for “Best Player in Botswana within 50 years” on the CAF 50th anniversary in 2007.

That Botswana’s biggest soccer legend ever is now “missing to the world” raises serious questions about Botswana’s position in the digital divide. The ‘digital divide’ is usually thought of in terms of the gap between those who have access to digital information and those who do not. Very little attention is paid to the divide between the providers and the users of digital information.

Within this context of the information society, countries that provide information are shaping our current views of the world. There is an enormous lack of online information that is premised in the insight and experiences from countries like Botswana. Providing increasing access to information for Batswana is not enough. Batswana should not only be at the receiving side, but should also be heard.

By articulating the country’s knowledge and making it part of the information society, a part of Botswana becomes visible that up till now remains unseen. Simply put, many generations from today, Batswana children will still be reciting Sir Seretse Khama’s famous quotation: “A nation without a past is a lost nation”, which turns up 124 000 000 entries on Google, but when the conversation turns to sports, it will be sporting legends from other countries that they will be talking about, instead of our own legends in the likes of William Paymaster Dennison. Born on September 30, 1954, in Mahalapye, Paymaster started his primary education in Zimbabwe in 1958 and completed at Thornhill Primary School in Gaborone. He then proceeded to do his secondary education at Gaborone Secondary School (GSS) where he completed in 1971.

He captured the hearts and minds of many soccer lovers as an accomplished Notwane Football Club player in the early 1970s.

Paymaster’s skilful play as Notwane captain and assistant manager earned him a call up to play for the Botswana national squad in 1972.

He caught the eye of most soccer lovers at an early age while playing for the Matshwane Secondary Schools National select team in the late 60’s and early 70’s. While at Secondary School he played for Real Swingers and Mahalapye Queens park Rangers. He Joined Notwane F.C in 1972 and also played for the National football team, captaining both teams simultaneously at some point.

He then formed his team, Paymaster Spurs based in White City in 1983 which is currently campaigning in the second division. He was later appointed as the Social welfare national football team manager in 2000 and accompanied them to the four nation’s tournament where they won in Swaziland. He played for Pula Masters (Senior national team) for a short while in 2003.

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