Mmegi Blogs :: Botswana football is a dumping ground
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Botswana football is a dumping ground

Over the years, Botswana has attracted football players and coaches from some of our neighbouring countries to ply their trade in our League. We have mostly attracted Zambians, Zimbabweans and to some extent Malawians. Other nationalities have come in dribs and drabs.
By Thuso Palai Thu 30 Jul 2015, 18:33 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Botswana football is a dumping ground








However things seem to have changed in the recent past. We have somewhat become attractive, or as some may say; we have become a bit of a dumping ground. What really is it? Are we attractive? Or are we a dumping ground? Well; the debate rages on. I for one feel we are attractive and we have something to offer.

Over the past few years our league has attracted a few ‘big’ names from the South African League. Back in the days, we did not have many coming from South Africa to ply their trade in Botswana, but they do now come.

Some would say some of the players who have come here are ‘has beens’, but if those ‘has beens’ can come here, then there is something to come to. Manqoba Ngwenya and Tso Vilakazi were once ‘big names’ in South African football and came to play here in Botswana, starting out at Notwane, which in the recent past hasn’t been such a powerhouse in Botswana football. But they did come, meaning something worthwhile attracted them here.

I tend to think that was the case. However, there are those who feel we are a dumping site and those guys came here because nobody else anywhere else or in RSA wanted them. I personally don’t think so. Maybe it was their sense of adventure that brought them here.

However, what that did for Botswana football is that it raised our profile a bit in RSA as more and more players now realise that they can actually come and play here. Most players locally have ambitions to play in RSA as the pay there is better, but why can’t we change the situation and have it the other way round. Why can’t we attract those we can from the RSA League and raise the profile of our League?

A few months back I got a call from a friend in RSA saying there were two players who were looking to come to play in Botswana. The names were familiar as they once played for the big powerhouses in Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Yes, they are not spring chicken anymore, but they are not

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too over the hill either. They can play two good season in our League. Their sudden attention and interest got me thinking. And it’s all because they see the possibility and opportunity here.

As a country we need the attention, however way it comes. And as a League we need the players, as they will get others to know about our football and teams. However one looks at it, that is a great positive for Botswana and Botswana football.  We have to start somewhere. Once other nationalities, other than the usual suspects know about our football, they will want to come here.

Last season one Calvin Peterson coached here and he is South African. At one time there were reports that current RSA National team coach Shakes Mashaba would come here. That wasn’t far-fetched and it nearly happened. All because we have a product that we can sell to people. Yes; our football has its challenges but it is not all doom and gloom. There is something to celebrate. There is something to sell.

This season we have had more coming in, and they are getting younger and younger. Centre Chiefs will most probably sign Mkhanyiseli Siwahla who has plied his trade for some big teams in RSA. Township Rollers has signed Englishman Carl Finnigan. Now that is a first for Botswana football. He is no big name but coming from the Conference League in England to Botswana is a big deal.

Some British will get to know about Botswana, Botswana football and Township Rollers through his move here. He might even attract others to come here in the future. He might have just open another opportunity for Botswana football and Botswana in general. All we can do is try and cash in on this interest.

I tend to look at this interest and moves here in a positive light and look at the benefits, rather than the negatives, so I would say; we are attractive. However, there are those who feel otherwise and they have their thinking. For me, the bigger and wider we go; that gives us more exposure around the world, and I welcome that with open arms.

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