At times, Gaborone West has been stereotyped and lampooned as the hub for criminal activities and other ills like prostitution. But beneath this veneer of unwanted vices, emerges a beautiful football story. Gaborone West Junior Secondary School has produced some of the best young players currently representing ‘G-wawa’ at national junior level. Three youngsters are arguably the cream of the emerging talent as Mmegi Sport Staff Writer, CALISTUS KOLANTSHO captures their brief, but fruitful football journey
Botsile Sakana (16)
Sakana developed interest at a young age of six. He used to play football on the streets with his peers.
At 10, he joined Re Ba Bona Ha development programme in Kanye under the tutelage of coach, Khumile Ramotshegare.
He then moved to Gaborone in 2014 to start Form One at Gaborone West Junior Secondary School. The following year, he joined Police XI development side.
“Upon arrival at Police, I met coaches that I am currently working with today. When I was in Form Three, Trevor Mabua started coaching me and we did well in the Botswana Integrated Sport Association (BISA) national finals where we finished fourth,” Sakana said.
He said his hard work was noticed by the Under-17 national team technical team who called him up to the national side. To add icing on the cake, Sakana was appointed the team’s captain and led the team to the COSAFA Cup tournament hosted in Mauritius early this year.
“There was pressure as a captain, as it was my first time but I guess next time I would have adapted,” he said. Sakana said he is hopeful that at the age of 16 he is on the right track and his dream is to play professional football.
Thapelo Mosugadikobo (16)
Mosugadikobo said he started playing football at a very young age with his friends, mostly after school. “My talent was recognised by Lovemore Mpofu and I joined Top Stars Football Club in G-West.”
Kamogelo Molemogi is one of the Premier League players to have turned out for Top Stars.
Mosugadikobo was amongst the first players in the newly established Top Stars Under-13 players in 2008.
He said when he was in Standard Seven he was selected to be part of the team that played at the Botswana Primary Schools Sport Association (BOPPSA) national finals in Lobatse.
“When I doing Form One, we competed as Top Stars in the Constituency league, which we won. Last year, I was in the Under-15 squad that represented Botswana in Sweden,” he said.
Mosugadikobo said this year he was part of the Under-17 squad, which took part
Tlamelo Kolagano (15)
The pint-sized Kolagano began his football journey at the age of four and continued interest at primary school. He joined Top Stars development side at nine years. In 2014, he was selected to be in the BOPSSA team that represented Botswana in Zambia.
“Last year June, I got another chance to be in the Under-18 squad that travelled to Sweden for the Gothia Cup. Upon my return, I was selected to the Copa Coca Cola team that went for a training camp in South Africa,” Kolagano said.
Gothia Cup is the world’s largest youth football tournament and is played in Gothenburg, Sweden. Each year, around 1,700 teams from 80 nations take part and they play 4,500 games on 110 fields.
Kolagano’s star continued to shine as he received a call-up to the Under-20 national team a fortnight ago. He is now in camp preparing to represent Gaborone district at the Botswana Games, which start on Monday.
“I am doing well in football and I just want to see myself playing abroad in future. My family was a bit skeptical about football at the beginning, but now they are supportive,” Kolagano said.
The three boys have a mentor in Mabua who started coaching them in 2016. Mabua said ever since meeting the boys, he saw their potential and the intention is to continue monitoring their progress.
“I want to see them going far in football. They are now at St. Joseph’s College but we are still in touch. At the moment, I have other players at G-West JSS that I am developing. We have to continue unearthing talent,” he said.
Mabua said they have been reaching BISA finals since last year with two teams, which is not common. He said there are many talented youngsters at G-West and football is growing at an encouraging rate at the school.