In 2006, Emmanuel Ramoshebi’s basketball dream was still at its infancy, as he bounced the ball around Mma Masire courts in Gaborone West.
Little did he know that 14 years later, he would be on the verge of playing in the sport’s capital, the United States.
Only the outbreak of the COVID-19 has stood between Ramoshebi and his dream appearance in the sparkling, renowned basketball courts in the US. Ramoshebi survived the temptation of playing volleyball or football as a goalkeeper, with his peers encouraging him to take up the two sports.
His brother, Thero Setlamelo encouraged him to play basketball instead and today, Ramoshebi stands out as one of the country’s brightest prospects. He has been offered a scholarship to study at Maryville University in St Louis, Missouri.
“I have graduated at Limkokwing University where I was doing Broadcast Journalism. I could have left (for the US) but had to postpone due to COVID-19.
I received the scholarship from Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) through the assistance of Botswana Basketball Association (BBA). My plan is to get experience from America where the sport is on very high level and bring the experience back home,” he said.
Ramoshebi said he never had any interest in playing football unlike other boys he grew up with, though the sport was popular.
The 27-year-old was born in Molepolole but grew up at Gaborone West which is commonly known as ‘G-Wawa’. “To be honest, basketball kept me out of harm’s way. I could have turned out to be a menace to the society if I had not played the game. You know how the hood could be influential. I was raised by a single mother (Keatametse Ramoshebi) and it was difficult for her,” he said.
Ramoshebi would then discover ‘brotherhood’ in basketball and that gave him guidance and comfort. His talent did not go unnoticed as Troopers club signed him up when he was 15 years in 2008.
“That is where most of my basketball growth came from. It was a club of veterans and all I did was sponge everything they taught me,” Ramoshebi said. He singled out Troopers’ Ratanang Tsayang for praise, adding he was like a father figure to him. He said Tsayang handled all the costs to enable Ramoshebi to play. “Tsayang has been one of the best basketballers in the country and longest serving member of Troopers,” he said. Ramoshebi later joined Dolphins where he got opportunities under coaches, Trynos Moyo and Tirafalo Matsetse, who believed in his craft. Ramoshebi is also inspired by Churchill Barrows, who had stints abroad.
“He is by far the most hardworking player I know. I have three role models, Toko Shengelia (Euro league), LeBron James (NBA) and Ratanang Tsayang (locally),” he said.
Ramoshebi was part of Maikano JSS team that competed in the BISA junior
He was nominated as the best athlete in the school. In 2009, he was invited for the Under 17 national team camp. He was selected to represent South East region during the Botswana Games. He made his national team debut in 2012. Ramoshebi won the national league titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015 where he was also the most defensive player.
In 2015, he was in the senior national team that competed in the Africa Zone IV qualifiers, finishing in second position in Mozambique. He continued to shine in local tournaments including the FIBA 3 on 3 (gold medal), and FIBA rated him second best player in the country in 2016. The following year, he scooped gold with
Bluebloods team during the FIBA 3 on 3 tournament. He was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament. In 2018, he scooped a gold medal with Troopers in the basketball national league.
He went on to bag silver at the 2018 CUCSA Games held in Gaborone. Last year, he reached the semifinal of FIBA 3 on 3 Africa Cup in Uganda. He also qualified for the Basketball Africa League with Dolphins.
Ramoshebi signed a contract with North West Eagles in Potchefstroom where he played in the semi professional Basketball National League (BNL). “I also do part time coaching to implement and teach upcoming players what I have learnt,” he said. In 2018, his team Rainbow High School walked away with a silver medal during the Independent Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA).
“To excel in basketball or in life, one has to be relentless. Put in maximum effort in all you do. The support I got from my friends and family kept me going. I was never in a race with anyone, as you know basketball is struggling in our country. I stayed working, I stayed sacrificing, I stayed hoping, inspired and motivated,” Ramoshebi said. He believes that he has given his all to the sport and achieved a lot.
“I grew in spirit, flesh and all aspects of life. With that, I appreciate my mother, my sister (Motshidisi) and my brother, Troopers, coaches, supporters and BBA for opportunities. They believed in me.”
Meanwhile, Moyo who worked with Ramoshebi at Dolphins said Ramoshebi is a great player. “I have had a chance of coaching him at national team. He is an all round player and definitely in the top five basketball players in the country,” Moyo said.
Full name: Emmanuel Ramoshebi
Date of birth: December 12, 1993
Position: Guard/Small forward
Leadership achievements: B1g Play ambassador (a global social website for athletes
Appointed senior men’s team captain
Awarded university colours award for University Ambassadorship