Almost two years ago, Koobake was a completely unknown player in football circles before his close friend Kerapetse Mosimanekgosi invited him to attend trials at the Peleng giants.
It was in July 2012 and at the time Gunners were under interim guidance of Naphtally ‘Scara’ Kebalepile. After few days of training, Kebalepile who was a left-back during his heydays recommended that Koobake sign on the dotted line.
At the time he was in the books of second division outfit Mokgosi Young Fighters from Ramotswa.
“Scara liked what he saw in me and he did not hesitate to recommend me. Some days after that China (Odirile Matlhaku) was appointed the head coach. I was fortunate that when he came in, he gave me a chance to prove myself during some friendly games. When the League kicked off (September 2012), I was handed my debut against BMC in Lobatse. Like they say, the rest is history,” said the 24 year old.
Just like any other player coming from the lower divisions, Koobake said that it was a big ask for him to settle at a big club like Gunners.
“I was playing in the lower division and all of a sudden I’ve joined Gunners. It was not an easy thing but I had to deal with it. Fortunately, the senior guys here welcomed me. The kind of support they gave me was overwhelming. Even coach China was prepared to give me guidance and I must say that I’m what I am because of his guidance,” Koobake added.
When he arrived at the club, it was during a tough period when Mapantsula were struggling financially but he did not let that disturb him. His mission was to make use of the chance to make a name for himself.
“Financially it was tough for the club but at the time, money was not an issue for me. I wanted to play topflight football and establish myself. Fortunately, things have improved over the time and the team is stable in terms of finances. As the players we’re happy that we getting our dues in time and what we need to do is to focus on doing well,” the robust left-back continued.
Unlike in the past seasons, Gunners have had a fairly impressive start to the 2013/14 Premier League campaign. Though they lost 3-0 to Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the opening match played in Lobatse, Gunners have managed to pick up the pieces.
Ahead of their home match against Police XI this afternoon, Gunners have amassed 24 points from 13 matches.
“Everything is looking promising and all we need to do is to keep our focus. Unlike other sides, we cannot dream of winning the League this season. If we’re being realistic a top four finish will be a major success then we can start dreaming big in the next campaign. What is also crucial for us as a club is to keep the players we’ve in the team,” he said.
Though he is only in his third season in the Premier League, Koobake has already attracted interest from the country’s top sides Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Township Rollers and Nico United. He admitted that he nearly moved to Rollers but decided to stay put at Gunners.
“I felt that I still have a lot areas which I need to improve on. So moving to another club was going to be suicidal hence in the end I remained here. I also wanted to continue learning from coach China who I believe that he has been very helpful,” he said.
Though some people within football circles feel that he deserves a call-up to the Zebras, Koobake said that he is not worried. He pointed out that his main focus is Gunners and if it happens that he gets a call-up, it will be a bonus.
“If I start worrying about Zebras’ call-up it will disturb me at club level. I just want to continue playing my game and if the national coach calls me then I’ll take it,” he concluded.