Sunday, September 27, 2020

Zebras coach on the right track?

April 4 2010: It is every player’s dream to play for the national team. Once that opportunity arrives, the players know that they have to grab it with both hands because once they let it go they might never re-claim it.

Since taking over as the Zebras mentor last year, coach Stanley Tshosane has been on what he terms a re-building exercise. This saw him introducing several players to the squad.
It all started during the COSAFA tournament that was held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in October last year. Tshosane gave ECCO City Green defenders Keabetswe Jenamiso and Ontse Ntesa a chance to prove their mettle. The duo played very well and did not disappoint. Of the two, left back Ontse Ntesa made the greatest impact. His dazzling runs and crosses on the left were difficult for countries like Zimbabwe and Swaziland to deal with.

In the recent friendly games against Mozambique and Namibia, and the two legged encounter with South Africa, several players like Sekhana Koko, Jabu Pilane, Gaopatwe ‘Shoes’ Seosenyeng, Patrick Motsepe and Kabelo Dambe were thrown in the deep end.

Koko is a terrorist player in the Premier League, but it looks he can’t really jell at the national team. It is not the first time that he was given a chance to play, as former Zebras coach, Colywn Rowe once called him up, and he failed to show the renowned form he was displaying at Township Rollers.

Last week when South Africa held the Zebras under siege in the CHAN competition, Koko was brought in to neutralize the South Africans with his runs. But he failed to live up to expectations as he was reduced to just an ordinary player. At his age, time seems to be running out for him in the national team.

Jabu Pilane is also another player who has been the pillar of strength for Chiefs in the past three years. He is the source of most of the goals that Chiefs score. But he is never his usual self at the national team. He seems to lack confidence and is never able to rise to the occasion. Just like Koko, Jabu’s aspirations of playing for the national team might wilt sooner than later.
With coach, Stanley Tshosane now looking to revitalize the national team, Jabu might find himself being sidelined in the national team.

Gaopatwe ‘Shoes’ Seosenyeng came through the ranks from the under 17 up to the under 20. He was indeed a pillar of strength at the back for the junior national teams. He however needs to be given a bit of time to fit in comfortably at the senior national team. He seems to be making unnecessary mistakes especially near the box. With age still on his side there is still time for him. He also finds himself having to fight for places with already established players like Mompati Thuma, Mmusa Ohilwe and even Ndiyapo Letsholathebe.

Just like Seosenyeng, Kabelo Dambe played for the junior national teams and seems to be improving in every match he plays.

In the goalless draw against South Africa, he proved that he is on his way to be the national team’s number one goalkeeper. Time also seems to be running out for Patrick Motsepe who has been introduced on several occasions but always produces below par performance compared to when he plays for his team BDF XI. Age is not on his side and the competition for his position is tough.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.