Visualize what you can’t see
rdinarily I would not respond to the Zebras loss for a variety of obvious reasons. Chief among these is the government’s tendency to use profanity as a disarming missile against those it differs with. Secondly I am not the one to normally engage with supporters who exude crude and excessively vulgar language towards soccer players who try their best to entertain, at the same time trying to salvage the pride of the nation by trying to get good results. The other reason is that the leaders we have are disgruntled; they believe that the nation has, out of its collective wisdom, erred in supporting the team so passionately. My opinion regarding the coach is well known, and there is no point in going back to that position. My new position is simple. Our problem is complicated; it is a combination of factors.
For example, the body language of Mogogi Gabonamong at that match signaled a plethora of problems in the camp. I have been following football for two decades now, and I know when a player is happy, hurt and disgruntled. I have not bothered to find out from him what the problem could be because it is obvious-you cannot dangle P500, 000 at a meaningless game on condition that they win the game. On top of that, you avail 10 buses at players’ expense. Why do I say players’ expense? We have always found our way to games. Simply pay the players! The government position simply tells Gino that there is money and they just do not see the need. Here is a player who has played for 15 years now for the country with unrivaled dedication. This is the only player who has played at all levels for Botswana; from Under 17 right up to the top. He was not happy; he looked very angry throughout the game. If the most senior player of his stature exuded anger and pain in a match, then how do we expect to get a respectable score line? BFA problems are deep seated, but the attitude with which my government approaches sport is parochial.
The P500, 000 promised on condition that they win the match must now go to development. It must not be forfeited to government coffers now that the lads did not get a score desired by government. Personally, I knew that this was a fraudulent promise, there is no way one can perform a miracle on a tennis court against Serena Williams without good practice, good welfare and good morale. It does not matter if you promise me a Lamborghini; you know I will not win against Serena Williams. The government knew we did not stand a chance, in fact, this was a meaningless match(to borrow from Thulani Serero) based on the permutations on the table, that we must beat South Africa with a big score line and also hope that CAR defeats Ethiopia. We did not deserve to qualify; we had been given a lifeline of 3 points at FIFA board rooms after Ethiopia was found to have used an illegitimate player against us.
The truth is, the current crop of players have served us so well under painful circumstances of peasant wages, delayed flights , self paid accommodation and being stranded at obscure airports. They have seen it all, it has not been good; look at how Mompati Thuma ended his career with a paltry P2000 allowance in Durban. A man with a family to support! I have asked both Dipsy Selolwane and Mogogi Gabonamong to write a book to chronicle for us their journey with Botswana. Let us look at the entire structure, see why we do not have a Technical Director? Where are the Under 17s, 20s and 23s? After Tumi Duiker, Dipsy Selolwane, Mogogi and Tsotso Ngele who else is of world standard? Why have we failed to unearth a player better than these players?
We have to be serious because we are competing with big dogs; we cannot pee like a puppy. If indeed our players froze on stage, like Colonel Tshoswane said, then surely we should make conditions conducive now. The journey to Russia 2018 starts now, and should not think we have ample time . Amaru Shakur once said “visualize what you can’t see.”