Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Striking crisis beckons for Zebras

A striking force is seen as the most integral part of the team. A team with no prolific striker or strikers is deemed dead because they would miss the easiest of chances that come their way. Botswana has in the past produced strikers who were not really goal poachers, but they were not that far and scored some crucial goals that helped the Zebras improve their image in the African continent.

When chips were down the likes of Tshepiso ‘Sox’ Molwantwa and Diphetogo Selolwane were there for the national team. During the era of Veselin they were actually the ones who were scoring some memorable goals for the team and Botswana started beating countries they never defeated before. When they were approaching twilight of their careers it was quite clear that Jerome ‘Jay Jay’ Ramatlhwakwane would fill in their shoes with ease. It was not surprising that the Democratic Republic of Congo based player was one of the leading goal scorers on the African continent en-route 2012 Africa Cup of Nations where Botswana qualified for trhe first time. His goal poaching instincts were more noticeable at his tenure at Mochudi Centre Chiefs.

It then spilled over to the famous under 23 that was coached by Major David Bright. It was not surprising when Ramatlhakwane became the trusted man at the senior team under , Stanley Tshosane. People are now wondering on the person likey to easily fill the boots of Ramatlhakwane because he is also slowly approaching last years of his playing career. Many teams in the Premier League are mainly relying on the foreigners who are doing the job for them while there are not many local players.

On the other hand, the technical officer of the Botswana Football Association (BFA), Philmon Makgwengwe decried the situation saying it is painful for Botswana. He told Sunday Standard that in few years the senior national team would struggle with the striking force compared to the past. “To be honest with you the situation is very painful because if you do not have those players that can easily bury chances that come their way you are bound to terribly fail. We have had good players who would easily fill the boots of whatever great striker we had in the country but currently I am seeing a different picture,” he said.

Makhwengwe did not mince his words and blasted the Premier League teams for the likey predicament that would face the country. He said teams are only results orientated but careless about development. “As the BFA we used to have our own development programmes and they acted as a fertile ground for many Premier League teams. But in essence the Premier League teams should be the ones leading the way. They should have their own development structures and produce their own players and it is wrong. I am always preaching this song but it seems it is falling in dear ears.

Even coaches should make it upon themselves to have a hand in development,” he said. Makhwengwe also emphasized that local teams do not take it upon themselves to groom those players who have potential by giving them chances at their teams. He said it is painful to see substandard foreigners dominating positions that can be easily be dominated by locals. “Just look at the performance of several forein players in this country. Many of them can be surpassed by locals who are not given a chance. As Batswana we should also know that no-body can develop our players except us,” he said.

One local coach who preferred anonymity stressed that Botswana is facing a disaster in the next few years. He said there is actually no outstanding striker who would carry Botswana on his shoulders during tough times.“I am actually seeing a terribly disaster especially when Ramatlhakwane is not there or when he finally calls it a day. Players who have potential of filling his boots are not given a chance at all by our teams. Look at Aubrey Kebonnetse and even the upcoming Thatayaone Ramatlapeng. They are either sparingly used or not used at all,” he said.

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