Over the years, Botswana football has produced legendary goalkeepers who have flown the national flag high and matured to become national icons in their own right. Who can ever forget the exploits of acrobatic shoot-stoppers like the late Sam Sono, China Mading, Odirile ‘Biemba’ Gaolebale and Thabo Motang?
Botswana’s first goal keeper exports were Modiri Marumo and Kagiso Tshelametsi. Marumo left the country in 2008 to play for Egyptian side Haras El-Hodood SC. He currently plays for South African side Polokwane City. Before Marumo, Kagiso Tshelametsi was snapped up by Trinidad and Tobago side Caledonia AIA Football Club. Marumo and Tshelametsi were later followed by the likes of Noah Maposa who joined Bay United in 2010. Maposa currently plays for United FC in South Africa. Kabelo Dambe, another goal keeper export, currently plays for Platinum Stars.
While many local teams scout for talent outsidse the country, they have traditionally reserved the goal posts for local players. This should be a source of pride for Batswana. Only Ecco City Greens relies on a foreign goalkeeper, Zimbabwean international Chamunorwa Madamombe. So far 303 goals have been scored by all teams in the elite league during the 2014/2015 season. This should be a cause of worry for local goalkeepers and defenders because it indicates that offensive players are banging in the goals. The same problem also haunts the national team which has conceded 11 goals and scored one goal in six matches, giving it a defense record of -10.
Zebras keeper Kabelo Dambe has not been having it easy at Platinum Stars as he is often over looked, which makes him less match fit while on national team duty. Dambe has been sharing the goalposts with Marumo who has also failed to maintain a clean sheet in the few games he played for Zebras during AFCON 2015 qualifiers.
However Mwampule Masule and Wagarre Dikago are tipped to take over as Zebras goalkeepers when Marumo and Maposa retire. The two have been regularly selected by Zebras coach Peter Butler.
Commenting on the issue, former Rollers great Thabo Motang said local teams are not doing enough to develop the goal keeping department.
“Look at most of our clubs, they lack depth when it comes to goalkeepers. Whenever a goalkeeper is injured at club or national team level its very difficult to replace him,” he said.
Motang, who is currently goal keeper coach at Gaborone United, has worked with successful goalkeepers like Dambe, Marumo, Maposa, Dikago, Michael Pepukani and Basimanebotlhe Moilwa.
Motang called for greater competition among players for a place between the posts.
“Locally, I think Rollers have more depth than any other team in the goalkeeping department. Pepukani is more experienced but he still has to compete for a place with the young and promising Masule,” he said.
Motang’s observations are proven by Rollers’ impressive goal difference of +19. The team has conceded only six goals so far which makes it the best in defense in the league.