Local players fail in SA Leagues

SHARE   |   Thursday, 15 August 2019   |   By Ricardo Kanono
Makgantai and Mathumo Makgantai and Mathumo

For the past few  years  Botswana Premier League (BPL)  exports  to the lucrative  Premier Soccer League  (PSL) of South Africa have declined at an alarming   rate  despite  local  clubs having  good  relations  with South African   teams. Although local players made a break into the ABSA Premiership in recent years, their stint is shortlived in their respective clubs except a few in the likes  of Diphetogo Selolwane and Mogogi Gabonamong during their era.

This  year alone Botswana players at the PSL  stands  at  two  being Lesenya Ramoraka  and Mogakolodi Ngele   playing  for Highlands Park and Black Leopards respectively. It has been a rough patch  for local  players since last  season   when  Kabelo Seakanyeng was  released by  his former   club Chippa United. As  if  that  was not  enough   the same predicament  befell    Mpho Kgaswane  at Baroka FC  despite  him enjoying   game  time and  preforming well. From  the  few   players who remained   the expectation  was that   Kabelo  Dambe will  stay  longer and fight for his place in the team,  however  he was released   by Bloemfontein Celtics  and returned home  to join Township Rollers while  Mwampole Masule  never  tasted action  while he was  reported  to be with  Chippa United in the  last  six months. Simisani Mathumo  is also back in Botswana after his side  Free State Stars   relegated to the National First Division  and news are rife that he will not return to SA after  efforts to secure a deal in  the premier  league proved  futile.


Yet another promising talent, Onkabetse Makgantai is back in the country after   struggling for some game time last season at Baroka FC. Although  details  are still  sketchy word on the street is that the phenomenal  attacker  is  currently   in talks  with  mining  side Jwaneng Galaxy  and he might  sign a  two year deal with  the club. However the club has been cagey with the details about their interest in the player.  “Makgantai is a good player if given an opportunity we would sign him but for now we are still preparing for our CAF Confederations Cup in Mauritius .Maybe  we will look into it next week if he is available,” said club mouthpiece Tankiso Morake when  engaged on the matter.

According  to football analyst  Monty Gagomokgwa    the issue is a complex  one, “This one is a tricky  one  because the players we normally send to South Africa   we deem them  as our  best  crop of players but   they usually  don’t become successful with their  teams. I think it’s high time we take it directly to South African   teams such that they tell us what our player’s lack. If its issues of development    we can work on that,” he said.


Just recently during the  COSAFA senior  challenge media was awash with   reports  that  Botswana players  did  impress South African teams   and scouts. Amongst those  who  were believed to have attracted scouts from PSL sides  were  Mothusi Cooper  and Thatayone Ditlhokwe amongst  others, however nothing has  materialized  at this point  in time. When  asked about  the  niche market  of smaller European countries  like Malta, Azerbaijan  where Kgaswane and Seakanyeng are currently based, Gagomokgwa said  it’s a very  good  route which local players  can  benefit  from. “Our players  have always been ready for  those  countries  because  it provides an opportunity  to  put them closer to  Belgian, Russian leagues which  can propel them to better lucrative  leagues. In addition for other local players to be there can open doors for Botswana players. But the  biggest problems is that  local  players lack  videos because in Europe a player is marketed   through a video- you recommend a  player  through  the videos  they  have. Another problem is that local players seem to be comfortable here at home. So  now  lack of players  at better  leagues  means  the national  team is affected  and we  are regressing as  a nation  because   we  don’t  have players  playing in  better  professional leagues,” said Gagomokgwa.

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