Monday, May 23, 2022

Where are the goals?

In the past, foreign strikers were the toast of the elite league and normally topped scoring charts. The strikers that come to mind include the likes of Joseph Chikoti, Edison Mulubwa, Francis Chisenga, Mandla Balandla, Themba ‘Mandundu’ Lunga and Langson Phiri. A few years down the line, foreigners’ domination was eclipsed by Batswana something that still prevails to date.

For the past two seasons, however, some foreign strikers started making names for themselves as they terrorized other teams. The ones that actually captured the attention of the country were the duo of Bernard Simakwenzi (Township Rollers) and Sageby Sandaka of Gaborone United (GU). It all started with the Zambian international, Simakwenzi, at BDF XI. He came with full force and scored in almost every game he featured in. Despite the allegations that made rounds that he was a defaulter, he continued defying the odds by eluding one of the best oiled defenders to bang in the goals. Simakwenzi left for Township Rollers, during the last transfer window and things are not all a bed of roses.

Then in came Zimbabwean international, Sandaka at GU. Despite coming while the second round was in full swing, the Bulawayo Bullet, as he is affectionately called in Botswana, scored many goals and ended up threatening the leading goal scorers for the Golden Boot award. Both players have not even scored five goals and many soccer followers are wondering what could be the problem with the duo. What astonishes the most is that the two players are regulars at their respective teams. Apart from being regulars, Simakwenzi and Sandaka are still in their early twenties. This then means it is time their scoring instincts should soar. Players who are in their early twenties have incredible sharpness inside the box and are not easily contained. Currently, the local strikers that are leading the pack are Mochudi Centre Chiefs trio of Mpho Mabogo, Pontsho Moloi and Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Sekhana Koko (Township Rollers), David Makakaba (Police XI) and Tiroyamodimo Mohambi of Extension Gunners. On the other hand, failure to score goals lack can be attributed to a variety of factors. Sometimes strikers are just out of form and squander many golden opportunities. At times, the lack of adequate supply from the midfield can also be a problem and that results in strikers idling upfront. Sometimes strikers can be given an adequate supply of balls only to fumble in front of goal. Although Semakwenzi in most cases reverts back into midfield to collect the balls by himself, he has had a fair share of goal scoring opportunities which he could not convert. Sometimes it could depend on the relationship between the striker and the coach. For instance, Sandaka was recruited from Zimbabwe by former GU coach, Luke Masomere.

During his stay at GU, Masomere indicated that he worked with Sandaka from the time when he was still young and knew him very well. But since Masomere parted ways with GU at the beginning of the season, Sandaka is a shodow of his former self and misses chances that even primary school kids can easily convert.


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