Almost seven years ago, Betsho ‘Gama’ Pius would mesmerize the opposition with his silky skills but his efforts failed to make national selectors take notice.
He would look in frustration as his Under-23 teammates like Jomo Moatlhaping, Jerome Ramatlhakwana and Moloi made it into the national team.
“I still fail to understand why I was not picked for the Zebras especially when I was at the peak of my career. Almost every player has been given a chance but not me,” said Pius.
“There was a time when it nearly affected me but I had to be a man enough to deal with it. I told myself that what is important is for me to continue doing well for my club and forget the rest. I’m happy I have achieved that and I’ve since been appointed the captain.”
The 29-year-old, now a Sub-Inspector with the Botswana Police, said that his main aim is to help his club to do well this season in both the Premier League and Mascom Top 8 Cup.
He admits that it is not going to be plain sailing for the Jungle Kings but pointed out that anything is possible in football.
“There are always favourites in the game of football. We’ll take each game as it comes and see what happens in the end. We’ve started the League well and we’ll continue fighting. As an individual I would be happy if we can win the Top 8 Cup because knockout tournaments have eluded me since join the club in 2002,” he said.
Pius joined the Jungle Kings in 2002 as a Form 5 student at Moeding College. He expressed gratefulness for the support he has gotten from the club.
He paid tribute to the likes of Dintle ‘Valdo’ Mogomotsi, Ditaola ‘Computer’ Ditaola, the late Oliver ‘Fastlane’ Pikati and Therisanyo ‘Tshutshu’ Haake who made him settle in well at the club as a youngster.
“The tables have turned now and the responsibility of welcoming new players lies with me more especially now that I’m captain. It is not easy to be tasked with such a responsibility but I’m fortunate that I’ve some of the most humble teammates in the League. So I would say my job is easier,” Pius said.
He added that he is humbled to have played for the club for 12 years under coaches who include Sthanda Mogwadi, Clever Hunda, Barry Daka and Junior Letlamoreng amongst others.
“Each coach had his own philosophy but they contributed so much to my development as a player and I’m grateful. Today I’m a mature player because of them,” he said.
For the first time, the media-shy Pius revealed that he nearly left Police XI to join Township Rollers during the 2007/08 Premier League season.
“There was a time when I was close to joining Rollers. There were so much interest in me and that was before I joined the force (he joined Botswana Police in 2009). Gaborone United and Uniao Flamengo Santos were also interested in my services but it was it Rollers who were more pushy. I looked at the lives of their most celebrated players outside football and then I decided to remain here. Football is a short-career it was important I secured my future with Botswana Police and I’m glad I made a right decision,” Pius said.
Police XI head coach, Junior Letlamoreng, said that working with a player of Pius’ caliber makes things simple because he is a most humble player.
“The good thing is that despite his achievements he doesn’t think he is a star. He still takes instruction like that young boy who arrived here some years ago. As a captain he makes my job easier because he is a leader and has a healthy relationship with his teammates,” said the Jungle Kings tactician.