A majority of Botswana’s South African based players have endured a slow start to the season due to limited first team opportunities. Four clubs that consist of Zebras players have experienced changes in their coaching department; this has resulted in a change of fortune for most players who had previously been regular starters.
Joel Mogorosi (Bloemfontein Celtic)
Under the tutelage of Clinton Larsen, this season the speedy winger featured in all eight games; he completed the whole 90 minutes on all eight occasions. However, Larsen resigned from his post and was swiftly replaced by Ernst Middendorp. The former Mochudi Centre Chiefs star has started only one game since the German coach’s arrival despite being the club’s joint top scorer with two goals in all competitions so far.
To date Mogorosi is yet to complete a full game under Middendorp. Mogorosi was substituted for the first time this season during the German’s debut game against Moroka Swallows. In the following two games, he made two substitute appearances. Mogorosi was benched again for the club’s Sunday fixture against Amazulu.
His current situation suggests that the Zebras winger may struggle to find a regular place in the side; Middendorp is renowned for making unpopular decisions in every club he has coached in South Africa. Benching Celtic’s fan favourite, Mogorosi is amongst a long line of unpopular decisions he has made so far.
Mogogi Gabonamong (Supersport United)
Last season the veteran midfielder was an undisputed starter in Gavin Hunt’s line-ups, especially in the second half of the 2012/2013 term. He wore the captain’s armband on numerous occasions and helped the side reach the final of the Nedbank Cup. Hunt left the club in July and was replaced by Cavin Johnson. Gabonamong has started only five of the club’s 12 games of the season to date.
His other appearance was as a substitute in the MTN 8 quarterfinal against Orlando Pirates where he also scored a goal. Johnson made numerous signings during the off-season and they seem to be his first preference so far.
Kabelo Dambe (Platinum Stars)
Dambe is yet to feature in an official game for his club this season. After initially struggling to earn a place in the side, he featured in four of Dikwena’s last five games of the season. He had displaced Siyabonga Mpontshane as the club’s first choice goalkeeper. Cavin Johnson had been impressed by Dambe’s performances and he was rewarded with a contract extension. Alan Freeze took over the reins after Johnson joined Supersport United. Former Zebras goalkeeper coach, Thabo Motang, told Gazette Sport that the new coach would determine Dambe’s first team chances.
“His inclusion depends on the coach’s plans. It will be difficult for him to regain his place because the team is already performing well. It is hard to change a winning team and Kabelo should be patient and grab his chance when it presents itself,” said Motang.
He also stated that Dambe sustained an injury during pre season and that has contributed to his lack of first team chances. “His injury prevented him from showcasing his ability to the coach and Mpontshane took advantage of Dambe’s absence as he is now in top form,” added Motang.
This publication has also established that Dambe has been put on a training regime that targets his upper body strength, with experts having argued that his physical presence can help him become a better goalkeeper if he has a larger body frame as it would help him intimidate his opposing strikers.
Kekaetswe Moloi and Ntesang Simanyana (Polokwane City)
Kekaetswe ‘Mara’ Moloi has featured in only three games this season. He scored on his debut against Celtic and was also featured against Dikwena and Golden Arrows. A toe injury sidelined him for the next few games, after recovering from injury he has since struggled to make another appearance. Ntesang Simanyana on the hand has only made one appearance against Celtic so far and has also struggled to impress the club’s technical team.
The players were signed by former coach Duncan Lechesa during the off season. His departure resulted in the appointment of Bobbie Solomons who seems to be eyeing other players ahead of the Zebras duo.