Even though it is too early, the race for the be-Mobile Premier League championship hots up every week.
So far, four teams are almost neck and neck and people are watching with great enthusiasm.
Considering that the league is going to be played concurrently with the prestigious Coca-Cola tournament, it is indeed going to be tough and those teams without depth are in for a terrible challenge.
The league battle has also seen many young enterprising players taking the centre stage and even sending a clear message to national team selectors for consideration.
Most of such youngsters are from teams that are fighting for honours. Players like Ntesang ‘Mirror Simanyana, Gabriel Bokhuto, Ofentse Nato (Gaborone United), Edwin Moalosi, Monageng Thaele, Tebogo Dambe, (Township Rollers), Thatayaone Gaokgore, and Lemponye Tshireletso (BDF XI) are, without doubt, players of the moment.
So far, Bokhutlo has only played for the youth teams. Despite the world’s trend of using short players as quarters, Bokhutlo has never been considered but he is one player whose work rate is second to none.
GU are on course to win their first ever league medal and much of the contribution is from Bokhutlo. He has been a revelation and several of the goals his team converted were from him. He was outstanding in recent games against Tafic and Extension Gunners. What gives him an edge is the fact that he easily overlaps and covers his position quickly and does not easily lose possession. He has the ability to perfectly man mark strikers with ease and is not easily intimidated. Any future national team without the Tswapong-born defender would be a huge disappointment.
Another player of the moment is short and tough Simanyana. Despite at some stages having to compete with seasoned players like Tshepo Molefhe, he has proven to be up to the challenge. Other industrious midfielders, like Kebatlogetse ‘Go Man’ Batsweletse, are finding themselves playing second fiddle to Simanyana. The lad has ability to fight for possession, but when he receives enough support, he tears teams to smithereens.
Having proven himself at the under 20s, he is a possible future Zebras anchor man.
Nato is also another youngster at GU who is in excellent form it was not surprising when he was voted Man of the Match against Extension Gunners last week. He easily absorbs pressure from torrential attacks and makes the job easier for those around him.
Late last year when the Zebras played a friendly game with Lesotho, coach Colonel Tshosane called Moalosi to the national team. Every time he dons Rollers’ blue and yellow colours, the opposition knows they are in for big battle.
Nato is a rare kind of player. He has the skill to open up the defence and create space for his fellow teammates. He is also one player who can make the opposition concede penalties because they cannot keep up with his pace and skill. He falls in that skillful category of local players, like Pontsho Moloi and Phenyo ‘Mzambiya’ Mongala.
Players that are naturally left footed are not easy to find and most of the players in their position are right footed. One player who is an effective left winger is Thaele.
Former Under 23 coach, David Bright, never used him at the team but always called him when he was in the first division. This then means Bright saw something in him.
Now at Rollers he is balancing the team and is maturing into a force to reckon with. Thaele might, in the not so distant future, dominate that position in the national team.
Dambe is also maturing despite stiff challenge at Rollers. He is one goalkeeper likely to be the country’s best ever goalkeeper after Modiri Marumo, who is currently playing in Egypt.
The goals that Gaokgore is banging in at BDF XI show that he can be deadly once exposed to high level football. He lppked promising at both Prisons XI and Mogoditshane Fighters but is now a revelation at BDF XI.
One player who is not being taken care of but who is developing into a deadly weapon is Tshireletso. The former FC Palapye player has all the qualities of an enterprising player and is the reason BDF XI are excelling.
Physically tough, strong in the air and sharp shooter, he is destined for a great career.