Injuries, lack of form or sabotage?
Platinum Stars coach Alan Freese gave forward Mogakolodi ‘Tsotso’ Ngele limited first team opportunities during the first half of the current 2014/2015 season. Gazette Sport observations have revealed that the player was relegated from his position as Stars’ marquee player in the last two seasons to a fringe player.
The club has so far taken part in 20 games, including all cup and league competitions. Ngele has participated in only 10 of his club’s games so far this season. This includes only five starts and five substitute appearances.
A recurring knee injury also contributed to Ngele’s absence in the first few games of the season. However, the player was given limited first team opportunities even after his return. The same injury troubled him last season and resulted in his absence in Botswana national team’s first game of the 2015 AFCON Qualifiers.
Players troubled by knee injuries are often given limited play time as a precautionary measure to avoid a relapse that could delay recovery. Platinum Stars could also argue that they restricted Ngele’s playing chances due to his lack of match fitness.
Lack of form
Ngele is now behind Ndumiso Mabena, Eleazer Rodgers and Robert Ng’ambi in Freese’s list of preferred front three attackers. The trio has flourished in Ngele’s absence; Mabena is the club’s top scorer with seven goals, followed by Rodgers with four goals and Ng’ambi with three. Ngele has registered only one goal so far this season, his goals to games ratio is the lowest among his fellow forwards at Stars.
He normally starts each season at a slow pace and usually saves his best for the second half of the season. A repeat of the scenario would increase his chances of cementing a spot in the coach’s first choice team.
Unconfirmed rumors suggest that relations between Ngele and his employers have soured. Stars’ management and technical team were allegedly disappointed by the manner in which the forward supposedly signed an agreement with Mamelodi Sundowns. The Pretoria based club prematurely released photos of Ngele in a Sundowns jersey to signify the legitimacy of his transfer despite the absence of an agreement between the clubs.
Ngele is expected to move to Downs next season and Stars could be preparing for life without him, hence their reluctance to give him game time. Football pundits have criticized this as a form of punishment for the way his Sundowns transfer was handled.