FRANCISTOWN: Gagobotlhale ‘Gee’ Selebo has managed to overcome stereotypes surrounding women’s involvement in football.
The 26-year-old Mahalapye woman is chasing a passion, which began at a young age. She now coaches young boys in Mahalapye as she thrives to nurture young talent early.
When she started as a young girl playing with boys she faced a lot of ridicule and became a laughing stock in the village.
But that did not deter her from pursuing her dreams.
She joined a football team when she was at secondary school and was elected captain. Selebo then joined Golden Girls, but was later to leave due to a medical condition.
“After playing football, I found it fit to mentor other children who wanted to pursue their dreams in football. I then became a football coach,” she said.
She said coaching Junior Bucks has created many opportunities for children. Their involvement in football helps them realise their talent while at the same time keeps them away from social ills. Additionally, she started a development centre using Junior Bucks grounds in Mahalapye meant for boys between ages 12 and 20.
She said seeing youngsters roaming the streets during weekends prompted her to take up coaching. Selebo believes for football to grow in Botswana, it has to be nurtured at grassroots level.
She has a certificate in coaching, which she explained came in handy in her project. “Football is not just a game to me, but a way to reach out to the community,” she said, adding that she already registered about 60 boys who train under her although she has only three balls. She noted that she faces challenges; some of which include parents withdrawing their children from training due to lack of equipment.
She added government is supportive as it provides grants through the Botswana National Sport Commission unlike the private sector, which does not care much about football, but is after established athletes. She indicated that some of the potential investors do not sponsor teams due to lack of transparency and accountability.
“I will push hard so that I own a football academy in future,” she said.