Mmegi Online :: Cruel end to a deadly foot
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Last Updated
Thursday 20 September 2018, 12:14 pm.
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Cruel end to a deadly foot

A foot that dribbled past countless defenders and was instrumental in taking the Premier League trophy across Dibete for the first and only time in 2007, met a cruel and heart wrenching end this week. A horrific crash on Sunday night left Malepa Bolelang without a foot that catapulted him to stardom, writes MQONDISI DUBE
By Mqondisi Dube Fri 02 Mar 2018, 16:35 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Cruel end to a deadly foot








Malepa Bolelang arrived on the Premier League scene with then little known ECCO City Greens in 2005.

Local football was at crossroads then, after a protracted move to increase teams from 12 to 16.

This was after, two giants, Township Rollers and Gaborone United were wallowing in the First Division and the decision was seen as a rescue package for the two Gaborone sides.

ECCO joined and were part of a new expanded Premier League. The green outfit was seen as just another new addition, joining a Francistown turf then dominated by TAFIC, TASC and Great North Tigers (GNT).

ECCO, bankrolled by BMC, was seen as making up numbers, and dismissed as immediate relegation candidate. But prior, ECCO had already served a notice of intent when they reached the semi finals of the now defunct Coca Cola Cup in 2003.

Through the financial support from BMC, ECCO managed to retain some of the most exciting, yet underrated talent the top flight has ever seen.

Powered by a midfield teeming with the talent and aggression of players like Mmilidzi 'Zecco' Makafiri, Trinity Nko, Mandlenkosi 'Sukunyetsa' Sibanda, Bonolo Fraizer, Nicholas Mathare, Booster Magola and Tebogo Sembowa, amongst others, the team grew in leaps and bounds.

It became the darling of many neutrals, partly due to their evident ability to challenge the status quo and tilt the football balance of power northwards.

The south had been brutally dominant and no team had ever taken the Premier League title across Dibete to the north.

Mamoja Diskie evolved into a colourful brand, and the catchy names of the likes of Makafiri and Nko, and  Sukunyetsa's nickname, were the cherry on top, which was a

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crucial marketing tool.

Their exciting brand of football gave particularly Mochudi Centre Chiefs sleepless nights. Chiefs were the new sheriff in town then, but ECCO presented the biggest challenge to their newly-acquired status.

Everything worth writing and reading about would occur whenever the two sides met. ECCO once embarrassed Chiefs 4-1 in Gaborone, at a time the Kgatleng giants had arguably their best squad.

While ECCO had unheralded but worthy names, there was one player who stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Stocky Malepa Bolelang quickly established himself as a fiery number nine and his deadly right boot always struck with chilling precision.

It did not take too long for fans to rightly paste the 'Mr King Goals' nickname on a player who epitomised the new side's vigour and determination.

He banged goals willy nilly and was named the 2006- 2007 footballer of the year as well as finished as the top goal scorer the previous season with an impressive return of 25 goals.

His stoke rose significantly but he stayed humbled and loyal to his side, ECCO. He had a stint at Motlakase Power Dynamos but later returned to wind down his career at ECCO, before he joined the bench.

His right foot had been instrumental in propelling Bolelang to stardom, but on a cruel Sunday night, a car ploughed into Bolelang, and crashed the goose that had over the years, laid the golden egg.

It was a crushing conclusion to a story that had begun, and moved along, so beautifully. But Bolelang, in an interview with a local publication this week, vowed to rise and return to his favourite turf; the football pitch.

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