While the beMobile Premier League crown is question, with official winners Township Rollers uncertain due to Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ protests over Ofentse Nato, individual accolades will not be in doubt at the ceremony.
It is expected that the outstanding performers of the football season will be rewarded by the sponsor.
The attention-grabbing, and perhaps most sought after award will be the Player of the Season award which three players – Rollers captain, Maano Ditshupo; Olekantse Mambo of Orapa United; and Chiefs captain, Lesego Galenamotlhale – as nominees.
Despite the trio enjoying a good season, observers seem to put their money on either Mambo or Ditshupo. The two will re-ignite a rivalry previously witnessed at the GICC last Thursday when they fought for the Mascom Top 8 Player of the Tournament. Ditshupo took it home then.
Aboutreika as the Rollers skipper is affectionately known has played 29 of the premiership games. He anchored the Rollers first eleven together with his partner, Lawrence Majawa.
Besides, he has been one of the hard-working and consistent midfielders in the league who helped Rollers in their quest to win the league trophy. His ability to score goals from the middle of the park ultimately winning some Man of the Match awards are demonstration that he deserves recognition.
On the other hand, the towering Mambo born defender has played 28 premier league games this season eventually making the central defence position his own.
He managed to grab some Man of the Match awards on numerous occasions, especially against Rollers in Itekeng and Gaborone United. He also became one of the few players to be bestowed with player of the month recognition.
This outstanding performance even attracted national team selection. His presence alongside Thabang Mosige saw the Ostriches conceding only 17 goals making them the least conceding team in the league.
MARK’S TACTICS VS MIKE’S SHRINKING SQUAD
This category has pitted the top three gaffers in the Premier League. The three coaches will fight for the coveted price of P25 000.
Madinda Ndlovu, having led Orapa United to position three after winning 17 games, drawing nine and losing four does not make his record any better than of his predecessor Maxwell Moyo.
Although he made the league marathon interesting by maintaining the pressure on pace setters Rollers, it should be noted that towards the end of the season, Orapa United was not the same team that started the season in August.
They lost at home against Gilport Lions – It was the first loss to a premier league side in two years. This was followed by a loss to Township Rollers in the penultimate game.
Township Rollers English coach, Mark Harrison despite entering the local football scene as a closed book – without any league honor, he went on to feed the doubting Thomases a humble pie.
Under his mentorship Popa Popa registered 70 points to make him a champion coach. They won 24 games and his technical prowess could not be underestimated as he managed to overcome tough opponents like Centre Chiefs and Orapa United. His team list consistency and giving young blood a chance was another plus for the Briton gaffer.
Mike Sithole efforts at Chiefs cannot be ignored. The Zambian mentor had a tumultuous time this season when he had to race with a very thin squad that could not be trusted to defend the league.
However he defied the odds and fought until the last match. His team almost took home after a temporary docking of points against Township Rollers.
A small squad in comparison to his counterparts puts him at an advantage because his ability to switch players also paid dividends. When Arnold Mampori was injured he called on Galenamotlhale to destroy in the middle and bring stability in the team eventually lifting the trophy.
ROBERT’S SUPERIOR CLEAN SHEET RECORD
The trio of Kabelo Dambe, Mosimanegape Robert and the youthful Anthony Gouws will be tussling to claim the best goalkeeper accolade which attracts a P10 000 prize money.
Here statistics favor the reigning Mascom Top 8 goalkeeper of the tournament, Robert. He conceded only 17 and managed about seven clean sheets this season. Robert’s command in the 18yard box has made him one of the respected goal minders this season; a factor that saw him being selected for the national team.
Rollers goalie, Dambe conceded 22 goals this season. The number of goals conceded and the fact that he had an experienced defense could irk the assessors much more so he is also the number one national team keeper.
However it should be noted that he produced some critical saves during the course of the season. Some were the difference between Rollers winning and losing match.
Dambe’s main undoing has been poor communication and failure to deal with crosses.
As for Kanye born Gouws, it was just a motivation to the young man. He has conceded 33 goals which saw his team make it to the top eight with 44 points. In the first stanza he never enjoyed game time until Philani Mabhena took over the dressing room control and anointed him his number one.
Other interesting categories will is the Young player of the season award which has Gilport Lions winger, Kabelano Mooketsane; Orapa United striker, Thabang Sesinyi; and Rollers defender Kaone Vanderwesthuizen, as nominees. The winner pockets P10 000.
Referee of the season will see Joshua Bondo, Lekgotla Johannes and Tirelo Mositwane vying for the P15 000 prize money; while the trio of Oamogetse Godisamang, Bakwena Simankalele and Moemedi Monakwane will tussle for the P15 000 of assistant referee award.
Other categories like player’s player of the season and supporters’ player of the season winners will be announced on the day.
Township Rollers Head Coach, Nikola Kavazovic, has left a note on management’s table addressing the futures of Galabgwe Moyana and Lemponye Tshireletso. The duo had their stay at the club in the spotlight as debate over refreshing the squad raged on.
It is reported that Kavazovic had scheduled talks with the attacking midfielders as he seeks to convince them to stay for one more season at the club. The gaffer wants to turn the club’s pot of gold into silverware one more time.
Moyana had already offered himself to premier league rookies, Masitaoka Football Club.However, Rollers has other experienced players and the expectation is that many titles will still be won.
However, the club has made it known that it wants to traverse a torrid passage of CAF champion’s league, reaching group stages, at the very least.It is in this regard that Kavazovic will wants Moyana and Tshireletso to stay.
He hopes their injury nightmares will be arrested hence they could take leading roles to stir the Rollers ship to victory again.More often than not during the last season, their absence left Rollers struggling.But they too, could struggle to return to full fitness missing the opportunity to drive Rollers back to glory days, alongside the rest of Roller veterans in skipper Maano Ditshupo and Ofentse Nato.
But the team’s insistence and promise to make a loud impact in the coming season is still awaiting confirmation. The duo in particular will have to stand strong otherwise the ambition mirrors a tomorrow that will never come.
Engendered into the multi-million project of Jagdish Shah, the players were recruited to embody the present and future of the club and true to that testament, both have played a pivotal role for Rollers to win more silverware.
The talent of the duo, after reuniting with Kavazovic, should make the case for Rollers to once again make headline impact, particularly in the CAF competition starting next year January. Kavazovic agrees that as a unit they could find an edge as clubs are preparing for a return to the field.
Away from the Rollers stage, both players have won many titles with Mochudi Centre Chiefs and are still loved by their followers.When reached for comment, Rollers media liaison officer, Phempheretlhe Pheto, said there are in fact four players who were supposed to leave the club.
He said all will be decided after talks are completed as each player will face the management about the way forward.“It is not only the two guys, they are about four players whose contracts have expired but each one of them is expected to negotiate with management. Their future will be determined by the outcome of the talks,” he said.
The other two players are Kaone van der Westhuizen who is playing as a left back as well as Bogosi Nfila who was signed to bring goals.
Botswana international defender, Lesenya Ramoraka’s situation at TS Galaxy has been explained by his agent Tumi Gabonamong.
The 26 year old defender found himself in a tight situation after his club; Highlands Park’s status was bought by renowned football agent Tim Sukazi of TS Galaxy.
The sudden changes meant that some players were to be released by the team to accommodate new recruitments and changes at the club. As the club status was acquired, Ramoraka’s contract at Highlands was left with a year and the club opted to keep him despite spending much time on the side-lines due to injuries.
According to Gabonamong the lanky left back is part of the new TS Galaxy team although he was not included in the team list for this season. As per information gathered, Ramoroka will only be registered with the team in the next transfer window slated for January.
“He is very much still part of the team. He is currently nursing an injury he sustained during the bubble games. He will of course start training end of November or beginning of December. They’ll only register him in the next transfer period, he’s part of the team,” said Gabonamong.
Ramoraka has proven himself since joining the team in 2018 from Orapa United. Lee as Ramoraka is known in football circles has so far played 29 games for the team, netting only once.
“Ramoraka is one of the players that survived the changes at the team, remember the team doesn’t have many left backs and he is a quality player having so far cemented a place in the starting line-up. I believe after his injury he will fight for a place as usual.
That is why the team kept him therefore people shouldn’t worry that he is not registered this season.There is no need to register a player when you know he will be out for some time. It is only advisable for you to offer him more playing time more especially that he is a foreigner this side.
Again, his injury is healing and he will come back sooner than later. The aim is to keep him this side even when he might not renew his contract but chances are he will be with the team for some time because they have shown much value on him,” explained the wife of former Zebras midfielder, Mogogi Gabonamong
RECONCILED? Former Zebras Coach tshosane and former BFA President Sebego
In the build up to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee elections, former Senior National Team Coach, Stanley Tshosane had threatened to sue presidential aspirant, Tebogo Sebego, after the latter made suggestions on national radio that the performance of the national team was appalling during the former’s tenure.
Tshosane, who claimed reputational damage, said a number allegations made by Sebego were baseless and unfounded. Sources say Tshosane was livid that Sebego tarnished his reputation and integrity when he deposited averments on national broadcasters to the effect that the national team performance had reached its lowest ebb before the appointment of Brighton Peter Butler.
The Englishman came to supplant Tshosane just a year after The Zebras returned from their maiden African Cup of Nations edition of 2012.Tshosane was therefore ready to draw first blood and demanded retraction, further threatening a legal route in the event Sebego did not act as prescribed.
According to sources close the developments, Sebego however demonstrated leadership qualities and apologized, letting bygones be bygones. Sources say the former BFA administrators have smoked a peace pipe especially that Sebego’s ambition of becoming president disappeared a fortnight ago when he lost again to MacLean Letshwiti in a tightly contested election.
The animosity between Tshosane and Sebego first played out in 2013 when Sebego’s administration sacked the former coach, giving one simple explanation that he was failing to inspire the collective belief within the national squad.
It is said that Tshosane never forgave the past administration for firing him especially that he was on sick leave at the time the letter was delivered to him by the then Chief Executive Officer, Keith Masters. Tshosane was fresh from penning a new deal when he was terminated. At the time he sought legal redress claiming prejudice.
It is not yet clear if Tshosane and the BFA administration have ironed out their differences. When his situation grew precarious in 2013, he felt he was sabotaged by the people he trusted.But sources say the Jackalas number 1 born coach now enjoys a healthy relationship with the association and that is why there is talk suggesting his possible return.
Tshosane was not available for comment as his phone rang unanswered while Sebego refused altogether to share details saying; “I cannot respond to allegations, I mean we need to be respected, this is just senseless.”
Stan, who is now over 60 years, was first appointed to the position of Botswana Senior National Team Coach in 2008, following a short spell as caretaker coach. In 2012, he led the Zebras to their first appearance in AFCON 2012 co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
A year later, in October, after BFA new leadership assumed power and he was sacked for failing to re-write his 2012 success football story. Critics then suggested he was only offered the job because the football association could not afford to hire a better reputable “name’’.
Stan had previously been assistant to the Serbian mentor, Veselin Jelušić, as well as English manager, Colwyn Rowe, for the national team.
Whilst working as an assistant for the national team, he had also been manager of the Botswana Defence Force XI (BDF XI) for a lengthy spell. Stan had also played for BDF XI in his glory days as a football player.