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The poignant contrasting story of another Moloi

Talented Dirang ‘Malam’ Moloi

Pontsho Moloi made his last appearance in a poignant send-off that will probably contrast that of younger but more talented brother Dirang ‘Malam’ Moloi. Regarded as the best of the three brothers, Dirang failed to turn the corner when the world was at his feet.

In football, sometimes things do work out the way they should. Some players, the world over are identified from any early age with clear prospects of success. Some despite those early promises end up not living up to the expectation. Dirang Moloi is one such player.

While Piro is celebrated, Dirang is mourned, not because he had bad luck in his career, but because he denied football fanatics the true perfection of football that he had in him.

At 30, his career is almost over and we know what Dirang can do in the field, but we never got to see it, at least consistently.

There are very few people who have seen his real talent; those who have indeed had a rarefied privilege.  He could have possibly become the country’s golden boy of football, but he chose to ignore that calling. He is much like the bride that kept everyone waiting-and in this case, we are the groom.

Dirang’s talent is admirable; he could easily pass as enough reason for anyone to attend a football match, even if your team is not playing or whether he is playing for the team rivalling yours.

The crafty midfield maestro, born four years after his brother Piro is touted as arguably the most gifted player to come from Botswana. History will point out at players like Mmoloki ‘BB’ Sechele and Scara Kebalepile among the greatest talent wise, Moloi will easily appear along the list.

Unlike Scara and Besto who happen to have played when prospects of playing abroad were limited, Dirang was born at the most opportune time for success. By the time he was drafted into the national team as a 20 year old in 2006, his compatriots, Dipsy Selolwane and Mogogi Gabonamong − two of Botswana’s most successful legends, were plying their trade in the lucrative Premier Soccer League of the neighbouring South Africa.

In his element, on his day, whatever he touched turned into gold, commanding and orchestrating proceedings in the middle of the park as he pleased. He had a cunning knack of splitting even the hardest defence in the world.

Many agreed that, technically, Dirang was worlds apart from the rest of his peers. He seemed to have been using an undisclosed manual from the rest of his teammates. Lofty and languid in nature, his greatest trait was ability to use the ball efficiently.

Not much of an athlete, but his ability to move the ball around the pitch with elegance and astuteness made him a rare breed. He simply had the art of passing.

At international level, Moloi’s playing style could be compared to that of German international Mesuit Ozil or former Argentina playmaker Juan Riquelme. The two are commonly known for playing football at their own pace.  

Most of the time, Dirang would dictate the tempos of the match, selfishly adjusting it to his needs. He would raise it when necessary and lower it if he pleased. None in his generation could rival his ability.

But what went wrong? Surely, his surly demeanour at an early age played some role. Dirang also cared less about football, unlike Piro, who had followed football almost his entire life, for Malam, it was the opposite; football had to follow him around in order for him to come to the party. As per his admission, he has never fallen in love with the beautiful game. Football just happened to be a sport he plays merely because he can.

Farmed and natured at former premier league giants, Toronto Boys under the tutelage of among others Lawrence Phiri and Paul Moyo, Dirang thrust himself into fame during the 2006 Coca Cola Cup tournament, which he singlehandedly led the team to the final, defeating BDF XI 2-1 − scoring the winning goal in the process.

This particular tournament was important in the sense that it came in the wake of his elder brother, Piro’s controversial move to the resurgent, Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Piro had been Notwane’s talisman and his departure created a lot of uncertainty at Notwane, but it proved to have been a blessing in disguise for Sechaba faithfuls.

Dirang was transformed in the process, his churlish attitudes toward referees improved and he had to take some leadership sort of role in the team. Alongside Piro the two became infamous for red cards in a series of games, taxing the team dearly in the process.  

Dirang became an integral of part of probably the most gifted national youth team to have been ever been assembled. Dubbed the ‘Dream Team’, the team comprised among others Jomo Moatlhaping, Jerome Ramatlhakwana, Noah Maposa, Amos Godirwang, Mosimanegape Ramoshibidu to name but a few. The team was under the tactical guidance of Major David Bright.

In 2006, Moloi joined Cyprus based team, alongside Joel Mogorosi, but their stay there was short-lived. He returned to Notwane in the pre-season of 2007 to help the team win Kabelano Charity Cup, again being mainstay in the success of the team.

Ever since his debut in 2006, under the Briton mentor Colwyn Rowe, Moloi featured regularly for the Zebras. Rowe was a big fan of Dirang, giving him platform to express himself in front of innumerable Zebras supporters.

Perhaps, his mantle was tested in first game; Rowe threw him deep into the end against defending champions Egypt at a jam-packed National Stadium in the spring of 2006.

The biggest task on the day was having to play against the skilful and experienced midfield duo of Mohammed Abouterika and Captain Ahmed Hassan.

Saddled by the absence of Selolwane and Gabonamong, the Zebras fans had their prayers answers when Dirang emerged hero of the day. In the stands, many who were not familiar with the Notwane lad started asking who the boy in jersey 7 was. At only 20 years of age, he managed to be the most settled in the pitch on the day.

Dirang put up his best performance, enthralling Abouterika and Hassan. While the expectation was that the Pharaos would easily brush the Zebras aside, it was Rowe’s boys who proved to be a nuisance.  The Egypt midfield had a torrid time of having to answer to Dirang’s demands on that day.

In 2009, after a contractual dispute with Notwane, Dirang joined Chiefs to team up with his brother. The team lost the league to Gaborone United on the last day of the season but it was at Chiefs that he continued enjoying football.

This was followed by a spell at Vasco Da Gama in South Africa in 2010 and another move to Don Bosco in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) followed in 2013. Dirang returned to Botswana at the beginning of 2015 to join high spending Township Rollers, but his season was disastrous.

At the beginning of 2015/16 season, he re-joined Chiefs were he featured sparsely and spent the better part of the season on the sidelines amid reports of a fall out with Chiefs management.

At national team level, since Rowe’s departure Moloi has rarely featured regularly for Zebras. He was part of the team that qualified for the inaugural AFCON 2012, having appeared in most games as a substitute. Coach Stan Tshosane’s defensive approach meant that he preferred a midfield with two defensive midfielders, therefore sidelining Dirang.

Another season has come and gone, and it remains to be seen if he will rise to the occasion. In November, Dirang will be 31, and frankly at that age, people stop expecting much from sports people, especially in football.  Dirang has done a great disservice to himself football and in the robbed the country many chances to witness his skill.

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Sport

Chiefs’ ownership talks collapse

19th October 2020
MOCHUDI CENTRE CHIEFS

Takeover talks inside Mochudi Centre Chiefs boardroom appear to have collapsed following months of intense persuasion between Chairman Thapelo Tsheole and apparent shareholders, Matshidiso Sexton Kowa and one Tsieng Ramotsha.

Both Kowa and Ramotsha are equal shareholders of Mochudi Center Chiefs PTY Ltd, as per Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) records.

It is said that the current Chairman has grown exasperated with the failure to make significant progress where he wanted to professionalize the club and turn it into a footballing company.

Sources speaking with WeekendSport state that Tsheole wants both Directors to cede 75 percent of their shares to society as he believes the transitional route from society to a company has been bypassed.

Tsheole officially raised his hand for the first time this year, in an attempt to bring an end to more than a decade spell of Chiefs’ ownership, and appeared to have pinned his hopes on reaching an agreement with both Kowa and Ramotlhwa because of their status and good standing as former Chiefs administrators.

However, he now feels he was wrong to believe he was serious in his attempt to cajole the supposed club owners and those close to him have also said he feels he is now wasting his time speaking to them.This follows unsuccessful negotiations where both Directors were alleged to have been left in utter shock concerning the approach and presentation of the Chairman.

While the two Directors would not be drawn to comment, it is said they are both hamstrung to divulge deeper details to Tsheole because of his ambition to transform the club.

Tsheole, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Stock Exchange was surprised when he tried to register a commercial footballing company on behalf of Mochudi Centre Chiefs. He deliberately chose the ‘Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ name because of its popularity as it remains a brand country wide.

He found out that the company name already exists and is under the directorship of both Kowa and Ramotsha.When approached for comment Tsheole could not field any of WeekendSport enquiries but refereed the paper to Pollen Makgane who is the club’s Public Relation Officer.

Makgane confirmed that there are ongoing talks between Chiefs’ current committee and club directors to help in transformation. He said it is not an easy exercise as a lot of understanding has to be done to appreciate the two side of the story.

“I want us to protect the status of the two directors but what is more important is that talks are not as smooth as we had expected. You will recall that Tsheole was given the mandate to transform the club but now there is a deadlock of club ownership,” he said.

While Mochudi Center Chiefs PTY LTD was registered sometime in February of this year, there was another company, Centre Chiefs PTY LTD, associated with the club which has been in existence since the early 1990s. This is the same company that acquired a 7 hector piece of land in Mochudi.

The company had 7 directors namely Victor Kowa as the Executive Chairman, Ezekiel Mooki who was appointed the Technical Director, Serake Mfollwe holding the post of director of Marketing and Public Relations, Simon Mmopi coming as Director of Development, Mac Lean Letshwiti holding the fort as Director of Finance, Sexton Kowa who was Youth Development Director and Kgafela Kgafela who occupied the post of Director of Legal Affairs and Board Secretary.

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Sport

Sebego lieutenants protest election results

19th October 2020
Maokaneng Bontshetse

Fresh from losing the Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee elections, Tebogo Sebego’s aspiring Vice Presidents, Maokaneng Bontshetse and Senki Sesinyi have immediately lodged a protest, arguing that elections were not free and fair.

Of particular interest, the two rejected vice presidents question the involvement of BFA staff members in the counting and verification of ballot papers.

Their arguments rest on Article 20 of the electoral code which reads thus; “only members of the electoral committee may take part in the count.”

Furthermore, Sesinyi, who lost the elections to the eventual winner Masego Ntshingane, argues that Article 16 of the electoral code was flaunted especially during run-off.

The article states that the ballot paper shall be of a different colour for each round of elections.According to Sesinyi’s observations, BFA electoral committee did not use a different colour when the election went to second round.

“The above was not followed as BFA secretaries [sic] was conducting elections which contravened the above section as evidenced by the observers and submitted on the day of elections to the elections officers present. Evidence shall be provided if needed,” Sesinyi wrote.

Sesinyi also submitted that there were allegations of bribery which were doing rounds on the day of elections and even after, something which might have impacted on the outcome of election. In conclusion, Sesinyi seeks fresh elections for all candidates as all processes were not followed.

On the day of the elections, Sesinyi was stationed at Jwaneng where he was eventually voted by 23 delegates out of possible 60.On the other hand, Maokaneng submissions are somewhat similar to that of Sesinyi especially on arguments of Article 20. But he built his case around an alleged spoilt vote that appeared to have cost him the win.

Maokaneng argues that article 21 of the electoral code was violated because, by his own admission, there was no invalid ballot paper as per the definition of the article.“My vote was not counted, reasons known by the secretariat who was verifying and conducting elections by helping the electoral committee member and further ignored Mr Leaketsa’s advice,” Bontshetse submitted.

He further argues that his ballot paper did not have any distinctive marks as defined by the electoral code. The ballot paper did not also bear any words except that of the candidate and could not be labelled as spoilt vote.

It turned out that Bontshetse’s vote was mistakenly thrown into a different box by a delegate but the electoral committee took a decision that it must be regarded as a spoilt vote. This occurred at Palapye voting centre.

“I refer you to the verbal protest that was lodged by an observer at Palapye regarding the counting of the ballot on which a vote under my name was disqualified without any valid reason, therefore contravening the electoral code,” he further submitted.

In conclusion, just like Sesinyi, Bontshetse seeks fresh elections for all candidates. He lost the post to Marshlow Motlogelwa. Bontshetse was voted by 28 delegates while Motlogelwa got 29 votes.

 

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Sport

Ngele to stay in SA

19th October 2020
MOGAKOLODI TSOSO NGELE

Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele will continue to be a resident at Limpopo Province after penning a two year deal with Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila Football Club. PIC: BACKPAGE

Ngele was formerly with Black Leopards where he endured a trophy-less season under different coaches.
Leopards is also based in Limpopo province and will share the Thohoyandou stadium with Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.

Tshakhuma purchased the premier league status of Bidvest Wits few months ago.Ngele is expected to be unveiled alongside mega signings in the mould of former Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates midfielder Oupa Manyisa and Thabo Mnyamane of Supersport United.

Ngele left Black Leopards during the bio-bubble after it was discovered he had signed a pre-contract with Wits before the club was sold.Before agreeing a deal with TTM, Ngele was said to be torn between playing for one more year at South Africa and coming to Botswana to play for high paying Township Rollers.

The Rollers decision was to hinge on his private business where he wanted to monitor it closely. He owns a sporting clothing label and has already signed a two year deal with Notwane FC.Ngele’s career at Leopards blew hot and cold.

He only enjoyed his stay when his former coach Calvin Johnson was at the helm. He played crucial matches and his stunning free kick against Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs is still remembered by his followers.However, there have been many other factors at play.

It is said Ngele’s future at Black Leopards encountered problems of many kind. His future was believed to have been dulled by injuries and a confidence that strangely refused to bloom.The player was also said to have broken ranks with Leopards management where he shocked them when playing for the senior national team late last year albeit claiming to be suffering from a thigh injury.

Ngele went to South Africa on the books of Platinum Stars. His marvellous seasons with the club left Sundowns impressed and they wasted no time to sign him on a five-year contract deal.

This was after winning himself a couple of Man of the Match accolades before scooping the Telkom player of the season in the 2015 season.

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