GABORONE, Botswana, May 2020/ — While the entire world soccer season reels from the devastating forced break due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping across the world, Botswana Unplugged scribe, MOAGI MADISA takes a look at all the Zebras’ starting XI players who have plied their trade in foreign leagues. Botswana has a pool of players who have played in international leagues, a phenomenon that impacted both on their clubs and national team alike.
Here’s an adopted 3-4-3 formation courtesy of #TeamUnplugged…
The tried and tested Modiri Carlos Marumo is an epitome of persistence and patience. After letting many goals past his posts in the past which earned the national team a moniker, ‘The Whipping Boys of Africa’ Marumo ended up securing a lucrative career in Egypt. Marumo began his career with under the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), and later signed with the Egyptian side Haras El Hodood in February 2008, becoming the first Motswana player to play in Egypt’s top division. He later moved to South Africa in August 2010, signing with Bay United. He ended his career with Polokwane City, also in South Africa.
Pius Kologano – right wing defender
The no-nonsense and hard tackling defender was always a marvel to watch, his primary role being to defend his goal. It was then no surprise that in 2002–2003 he went to play for Dangerous Aces and 2003–2005 with Dangerous Darkies. He competed in the then Mvela National first division. Dangerous Darkies a former South African association football club from Nelspruit. The club played in the National Soccer League from 1991–92. In the late 1990s the club merged with the other big Mpumalanga team Witbank Aces to form Mpumalanga Black Aces.
Mogogi Gabonamong – central defender
Probably Botswana’s most disciplined player to ply his trade internationally. Gino’s breakthrough to South Africa’s ABSA premiership was through follow compatriot Dipsy Selolwane. Gabonamong went on to play for Supersport United and Bloemfontein Celtics. In 2011, Mogogi was the highest paid athlete from Botswana at a staggering $354,000. Now retired, Gino resides in RSA with his wife Tumi and their kids. He is full time commercial farmer.
Lesenya Ramoraka – left wing defender
In 2018, following a splendid showing at the COSAFA Cup in Polokwane, Ramoraka attracted interest from the PSL and newly promoted Highlands wasted no time in snapping him up ahead of the new season. At only 26, Ramoraka still has more seasons to prove his mettle. Interestingly, he is managed by Tumi Gabonamong of Isago Sport Management, Gino’s wife. His market transfer value is currently at around P3m.
Phenyo Mongala – left winger
His arrival came when his side then, Tuks eliminated Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup before crushing out in the final against Moroka Swallows. Mzambiya as he was affectionately known was then signed by Orlando Pirates when on his pre-season cap he scored against the visiting Manchester City. He commanded a starting berth at Pirates until joining Bloemfontein Celtics. He was an integral part of the 2012 Zebras AFCON squad.
Joel Mogorosi – right winger
His work ethic has sustained his career for the longest time. Julia is born a winner. In his two seasons in the Free State Province’s Bloemfontein Celtics he bagged a R200 000 cheque for the best player in the Telkom Cup where he was very instrumental. He was however unfortunate to break his arm prior to the start of the 2012 AFCON finals.
Otsentse Nato – defensive midfielder
The biggest size in the country! He joined the South African club Bidvest Wits in July 2012 on a two-year deal. Nato then joined Mpumalanga Black Aces on loan for the 2013–14 PSL season. In 2014 it was announced that he would be loaned to the Spanish capital, where he will join the defending Spanish champions on a two-year loan deal. However, he would be loaned to Madrid’s satellite club in the Indian Premier Soccer League, Atletico de Kolkata, for a 12-week period on his arrival, where he will be under the guidance of former Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns coach, Antonio Habas. He now plays for Township Rollers.
Dirang Moloi – attacking midfielder
Many international players who played against Zebras often were surprised by the intelligence of Moloi as an amateur player. The then 21-year-old Moloi mesmerized the then African hot property Mido at the national stadium when the two sides met. The zero-all-draw much celebrated by the then Zebras gaffer Colwyn Rowe was Moloi’s beginning. He has played in DRC’s CS Don Bosco alongside countrymen Jerome Ramatlhakwana and Phenyo Mongala. With discipline and hardwork, Moloi would have played in any league anywhere.
The left-legged player arrived in South Africa after his successful maiden AFCON finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. He joined Platinum Stars where he won several silverware before being signed by the money-spending Mamelodi Sundowns. It was at Sundowns where his career took a nose dive before resurrecting it on a loan spell at Wits University winning the championship. He returned to Sundowns before another loan spell at Supersport United. Before lockdown Ngele was keen to help his relegation-bound Black Leopards avoid the dreaded axe. He is still a fundamental figure in Adel Amouche’s plans for the national team Zebras.
The former Zebras marksman has captained all the clubs he has played for in the ABSA premiership except for his short stint at Jomo Cosmos. His first match at Cape Town Santos, Dipsy won a man of the match and the rest is history. His clubs include Santos, Supersport United, Ajax Cape Town and Amatuks before he hung his boots. He is currently heading his football academy dubbed Dipsy Selolwane Football Academy.
He played in Botswana for Mogoditshane Fighters and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, in Cyprus for APOP Kinyras Peyias, and in South Africa for Santos and Vasco da Gama. In January 2013, he was signed by Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Ramatlhakwana was meant to move from Santos to Vasco da Gama in the summer of 2010, but a transfer fee wasn’t agreed until January 2011. After his work permit was initially denied, Ramatlhakwane didn’t sign for Vasco da Gama until April 2011; he scored on his debut. In 2011 he was nominated among the best African players based in Africa alongside Ayoub El Khahiqi of WAC in Morocco, Cameroon defender Banana Yaya of Tunisian club Esperance, Zimbabwean striker Edward Sadomba of Sudanese club Al Hilal, Idrissa Laouali of ASFA in Burkina Faso and Nigerian striker Kalu Uche of Enyimba.
Substitutes: Kagiso Tshelametsi (Calendonia AIA, Trinidad and Tobago) Moemedi Moatlhaping (Platinum Stars, RSA), Pontsho Moloi (Bay United), Tumie Duiker (Dynamos, RSA), Thatayaone Ditlhokwa (Supersport United, RSA).
David Bright – coach
The nomadic Bright had a roller coaster stay in South Africa where he coached in both first division and elite ABSA premiership. He secured his first international coach stint after the success of his then Under 23’s Dream team. The outspoken coach guided clubs such as Santos, FC Cape Town and Bay United.