Mmegi Online :: Careers end in the twinkle of an eye and who cares?
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Tuesday 16 October 2018, 17:21 pm.
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Careers end in the twinkle of an eye and who cares?

Adored by hundreds during their hey days, they now cut lonely figures on the sidelines after a cruel end to their football careers. While they defied odds and conquered insurmountable challenges on the pitch, there was that one career ending moment, which has robbed the nation of their talent, as Mmegi writers, MQONDISI DUBE, BOITUMELO KHUTSAFALO and KABELO BORANABI trace some of local football journeys that ended abruptly
By Mqondisi Dube Boitumelo Khutsafalo Kabelo Boranabi Fri 03 Nov 2017, 10:59 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Careers end in the twinkle of an eye and who cares?








Mosimanegape ‘Twizzer’ Ramohibidu was not your consummate left back. He did not ooze the style and power of some of the country’s revered footballers who owned the left flank. But he did the job diligently. Ask Stan Tshosane and he would readily testify that Ramohibidu was your go to player, who went about his business quietly.

Despite concerted media and public pressure for Tshosane to drop Ramohibidu for a then rising and stylish Edwin Olerile, the national team coach refused to badge.

He stuck with Twizzer and was the preferred left back when the Zebras made their maiden Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon in 2012.

In the first game against Ghana in Gabon, Ramohibidu was arguably the Zebras’ best player, putting a firm foot forward with darting runs on the left. It was probably his best game in Zebras’ colours.

But two years later, the world came crumbling on the former BMC defender. Ramohibidu was involved in a life changing car accident, which left him paralysed. He has sadly traded the lush green soccer pitches for a perennial place on the wheel chair. Heart wrenching!

While intermittently football friends gather around the desolate Ramohibidu, his injury has proved how cruel the ‘beautiful game’ can be. He, like many of his other counterparts who suffered career ending injuries, has learnt that at times the toil and glamour of the game can end in just 90 minutes.

Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane, who played alongside Twizzer in the Zebras, said there is need to set up structures and measures to assist players with medical aid, a retirement fund and programmes.

“If we are willing to pay salaries, then we should spend money on protecting and taking care of the players. The transition back to the real world is not easy after retirement. I am sure it’s worse if it’s forced retirement. A great support base is needed,” Selolwane said.

Footballers Union of Botswana (FUB) secretary general, Kgosana Masaseng said they will continue to advocate for the general welfare of players including medical cover. He said the Workman’s Compensation Act in Botswana clearly talks about the issue where every employer must insure his employee in case of injury during work. He said they are disappointed that some teams continue to violate the act. “We sat down with the BFA president and his executive committee about the issue. We proposed a charity tournament so that we cater for such occurrences where players’ welfare have to be taken care of,” Masaseng said yesterday. He said they are also currently speaking to other entities on issues along the lines of insurance cover, pension and medical cover of players. He said one company has since shown interest in their proposal. “We have realised that from way

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back players have been suffering and their general welfare not taken care of. This is worrisome,” he said.

He also said as the FUB, they have been trying to organise coaching courses and other opportunities for players and former players to cater for eventualities in the case of their careers coming to an end.   

Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng said every athlete who gets injured on national duty is covered by the BNSC Insurance Policy and would receive all the required medical assistance. He also said there are incentives in place when an injury forces the athlete into early retirement. “First we have a clinic that has a medical doctor. We assess the players there and would refer them to the local health facilities like Bokamoso (Private Hospital) for further assessment. “We assist active players who are injured on national duty. But when you retire due to an injury that occurred on national duty, we have a Workman’s Compensation for the athlete. These policies are in place for the retired stars,” he said.

Reikeletseng further acknowledged that the BNSC is not impressed with the situation at the different clubs in the country. He said the clubs have decried lack of resources but the regulatory sporting body is currently working on an incentive policy that will tackle the issues as per instruction from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development. 

“There are many factors that contribute to the players getting injuries. We advise that trainers and coaches follow proper measuring when dealing with the athletes. We also like our clubs to have the spirit of Botho if a player gets injured. We would like them to take care of the people who have devoutly represented them while still active. But the issue is that clubs cry about lack of resources. We are trying to come up with an Incentive Policy. We were instructed by the Ministry to come up with such initiative,” he said.

Ramohibidu is not alone in this predicament, Boniface Makolo was injured during the national Under-23 training session and has never been active in competitive football.

A knee injury brought Kagiso Tshelametsi’s promising career to a halt, while Phenyo ‘Mzambia’ Mongala, one of Botswana’s exports to the South African Premiership, might not kick a ball again after suffering a knee injury while at BDF XI.

But some have been fortunate, managing to make a come back after a lengthy absence. Keabetswe Jenamiso made a return recently after being sidelined for more than a year, while Sekhana ‘Nandos’ Koko is yet to return after a horrific knee injury sustained last year.

Charles Mutero and Joel Mogorosi are currently sidelined after suffering fractures in the new season, which threaten their careers.

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