SEROWE: With Bangwato Paramount Chief, Ian Khama having ascended to the presidency of the Republic of Botswana last month, residents of Serowe are confident that by tomorrow, they will once again be ululating after Miscellaneous FC have gained promotion to the Mascom Premier League.
After years of struggle, Miscellaneous have only 90 minutes of football and their dream of playing in Botswana's elite league might come true. All they need to do is to beat visiting BR Highlanders from Mahalapye and results for FC Satmos, Motlakase or Great North Tigers (GNT) will be inconsequential.
The mood in the Bangwato capital this week has been out of this world and if you are a football supporters, you could tell that something special might be heading to the village. For once in a long time, Bangwato are united and it seems the celebrations that would erupt in the village tomorrow might go into the wee hours of the morning.
At their training ground this week, supporters have been coming to watch them and this seems to give the players some confidence that they can do it. There is no doubt that the current crop of players would want to make history and be remembered as players who led the side to the Promised Land. The last time Miscellaneous competed in the elite league was in the 1970s when there was only National First Division. That was then and since their demotion to the lower ranks, the Serowe side has struggled to make ends meet.
Interestingly, the first President of Botswana, late Sir Seretse Khama when he returned from exile, formed Miscellaneous in 1962. At the time, Khama is reported to have found Motherwell being the only side in the village. "He formed Miscellaneous and recruited some players from Motherwell. Khama found it strange that there can be only one team in Serowe and wanted Miscellaneous to challenge Motherwell," said Central District Council (CDC) chairperson, Lesego Raditanka.
According to Raditanka, who happened to serve as a chairperson for the club in the past, Miscellaneous became a household name and produced a number of players who have gone to shine at other Gaborone sides like Township Rollers, Gaborone United and BDF XI. "Since the formation of Miscellaneous, I have known it to be the only side in Serowe.
If you look at the history of Serowe, the royal family led all the teams. Seretse handed the team to his son Ian in the 70s and has since remained the life president of the club," he said.
Raditanka told Mmegi Sport that Miscellaneous has always produced brilliant players but were disadvantaged by lack of job openings in the village. The likes of OG
"Miscellaneous have a massive support in the village and I have no doubt that they will pack the stadium in large numbers. I do not see Highlanders getting a result here to stop us on our tracks," he said. Raditanka further said that it is important if Serowe elders can stand up and give the team all the necessary support, as this will motivate other people in the village. The CDC chairperson paid tribute to the current executive committee for a job well done saying they would not be smiling if it were not for their hard work. Raditanka's only concern is that if they win promotion to the Premier League, they will be forced to play their home games either in Mahalapye or Orapa. This comes after the Serowe Sports Complex was closed last year after realising that it was built in an unsafe area. "We will not be able to generate enough funds as compared to when we were playing home. But hopefully we will come up with a plan," he said.
Another former Miscellaneous chairperson, Goabamong 'Steady' Setlhaba said that everyone is delighted at the turn of events. Just like Raditanka, Miscellaneous has become part of his daily life and believes that nothing will stop them from reaching the Promised Land.
It is Setlhaba who brought the current coach, Mogomotsi 'Teenage' Mpote to 'Matswakabele' after he resigned from the army in 2006. This is despite the fact that some members of the team were against his recruitment. Today, Setlhaba stands tall that the man he brought to Miscellaneous is about to hand them the best result in their history. "The arrival of Mpote changed everything in the team and the players started to believe in themselves.
The supporters also have been fantastic and there are plans to make noise in the village ahead of the big game," said Setlhaba. Though he was not aware that Miscellaneous were 90 minutes away from the Premier League, Bangwato regent Sediegeng Kgamane said that all those in the village must rally behind the team tomorrow and encourage them to go for broke. "If they win a place in the Premier League, Serowe will be put on the map," he said.