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.
With just three weeks left before the World Athletics Championships kicks off in London, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has set a modest target for its athletes, demanding a paltry two medals.
The members of the team that will be participating in the event are currently training. They are expected to leave on July 10. The Botswana team, which was composed of young athletes, was able to secure seven medals at the recently concluded Africa Senior Championships held in Mauritius. They were placed sixth out of 44 participating nations.
According to Oabona Theetso, the Vice President of the Botswana Athletics Association, the team’s goal is to secure two medals at the World Championships. On the other hand, the under-20 team’s goal is to bag at least four medals.
Nevertheless, Theetso said the team which is currently on training camp encompasses of Isaac Makwala, Nigel Amos, Anthony Pesela, Bayapo Ndori, Letsile Tebogo, Isaac Makwala, and Thalosang Tshireletso of High jump just to mention the few. Theetso noted that the training camp was not able to produce a female athlete due to the failure of the female athletes to secure a ticket to the event.
Theetso also noted that the BNOC gave the BAA about P500 000 to help fund the team’s preparations for the event. Besides the training camp, the organization additionally received the same funding for the Oregon World Champion team.
When asked about the presence of renowned athlete and 800m world record holder, Nijel Amos, at the training camp, Theetso revealed that he has never officially communicated his intention to become an independent athlete.
When further pressed about the outcome of the meeting between Amos and the Minister – Theetso said, “We are unaware that he ever meets with Rakgare. If they met without the presence of BAA official, it will be wrong and highly regrettable,” he said.
When contacted for a comment Tlhobo Tlhasana who is Public Relations Officer at Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture confirmed to this publication that Amos met with Minister Tumiso Rakgare a few weeks after the 2012 Olympic silver medalist made known his intention to go solo.
“The minister is at liberty to meet any sport personality from different codes in his capacity as the minister. He doesn’t need the permission from BAA or let alone BNSC to have a meeting with Amos,” he noted. Meanwhile in 2019, BAA sent a strong team of 13 athletes, with five focused on individual categories, while others were to form part of relay team.
During that time two out of five athletes who were to represent this country within individual events were relegated to spectators owing to injuries. But the injuries on the two athletes had left one question on the lips of many within the athletics fraternity.
The duo of Nigel Amos and Galefele Moroko, who were undoubtedly team Botswana poster kids, saw their dream of sailing through in the competitions halted as they were forced out of tournament owing to injuries. Botswana eventually came home empty handed after failing to secure podium finish.
Botswana Football League (BFL) Chairperson Nicholas Zackem who is also a Gaborone United financier and director says Township Rollers should instead of being a hard-nut be remorseful on the Onkarabile Ratanang marathon case.
In an interview with WeekendSport this week, Zackhem says he has always had a good relationship with his Township Rollers counterpart, Jagdish Shah. However things took a nasty turn early this year when it surfaced that their left back Onkarabile Ratanang was not registered accordingly.
Again, the Rollers home game against GU played in February which resulted in a near stampede left him agitated such that Rollers should learn a lesson. “So with all these I think they should be remorseful and stop being militant,” he said.
His contention is, “this is recurring and with only one team – Rollers. Remember what happened in 2014 when BDF X1 was leading the log and they were docked points which in turn allowed Rollers to win.” In 2016 there was Ofentse Nato (Rollers player) saga where he was also not duly registered and now we are here again with Ratanang. This should be corrected to better our football.”
The Ratanang case has been dragging for months now and has created unnecessary chaos in local football. Of late the football league awards ceremony had to be postponed with those in the know saying it is because of the matter. A statement from BFL however says the postponement is a result of logistical challenges.
The BFL boss says he does not care what should happen to Rollers, which is arguably the most followed football team in the land. “Even if the relevant structure could fine the P100k or relegate or even be docked points I don’t care but I want them to respect football. My worry is they should be disciplined because they committed a heartfelt mistake.”
Some football commentators say there is high possibility of Rollers be axed from the elite league because they are facing a misconduct charge which means they can only plea for a lighter sentence like points docking.
When asked about reports of some players from other teams not registered accordingly just like Ratanang, Zackhem said it will be up to the relevant structures to decide because as far as he is concerned, the Rollers case is the only one that has been reported at Botswana Football Association (BFA).
ZAC ON BRIBING REFEREES
The 2021/22 football season was exciting but here and there it was blotted by allegations which were pointed at Zackhem himself as the league Chair of buying referees. He has vehemently dismissed those reports and rumours saying the current GU arsenal does not need any favors.
“We invested heavily on this team and if you have invested surely you are poised to win everything on offer. Look at the players that I have do you think I would need referees to win matches? Most of the players have also been called to the national team and that alone proves their mettle. I don’t remember the last time GU was awarded a penalty this season, it has been a team work and those referee talk is baseless.”
“I am a dreamer and perseverance is my name because after writing my Cambridge examinations a few years ago, I grouped young footballers in Francistown and started a youthful unregistered football team with them.
It was a difficult thing to do because the players were students and parents were not letting some of them to play football as they believed it might negatively affect their studies and some of the big clubs in the elite league will come and take my players.”
This is how Seemo ‘Sixteen’ Mpatane, a coach and founder of Eleven Angels football club which gained promotion to the elite league last weekend describe himself and the journey thus far. Barely two weeks ago, Mochudi Center chiefs failed to pluck Angels’ wings when they hosted them at Riverplate grounds during the first leg of the Botswana Football league promotional playoffs but this past Saturday Angels soared to a 5 – 0 win over them to reach the promised land.
The win meant Lekgamu la Bananyana (youthful side) as they affectionately known will now make a debut appearance at the apex of local league football. For a match characterized by a long stoppage time following clashes between Angels and Chiefs supporters, it was Angels who showed more battle to convincingly beat Chiefs and attain promotion.
Nevertheless, Mpatane said, “I continued to coach my team even when I was still studying at Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) in Francistown and it was a difficult journey because I had some school projects to do and I will divert my monthly allowance to some of my players; to feed them, provide transportation for them and also to buy them soccer boots,” he stated.
In 2013, he says, he decided to register the team officially with Botswana Football Association (BFA) in order to protect the players from other teams and to make income out of the team. He further said Lekgamu La Bananyana started in Third Division league when they got position one and gained automatic promotion to Second Division league although it was only their first season to play there.
“We struggled at Second Division because I had inexperienced youthful players and had limited resources like transportation, soccer boots and most of our players were sitting for their examinations, but we managed to avoid relegation as we finished in position four,” he alluded.
In 2017/18 season, he said the team won the Second Division League and qualified for the Debswana First Division North playoffs. During the playoffs, the team represented Francistown region, against other three teams from other regions, to be precise Chobe United, Maun Terrors and White Diamond from Boteti region.
In addition, the young tactician managed to produce quality players like Norman Mabaya who plays for Orapa united, Doctor David and Fortunate Thulare of Jwaneng Galaxy and Molaodi Tlhalefang of Security Systems who went and made their caps at the senior national team.
“I achieved one of my dreams; that is to take my team to the elite league and I’m left with one that is coaching at national level and I think after getting my license I will be ready to lead under 17, 20, 23 and even the national team cause it just requires humility, love, perseverance and commitment, but right I can offer my services cause football is in the heart,” he said.
Mpatane revealed his intention is to see more of his players participating at national level and overseas, as this week Zebras interim coach Mogomotsi Mpote called the 18-year-old Monty Enosa to be part of Zebras team which will compete for COSAFA tournament that is set to kick off next month.