The inability to work extra hard in training is the reason why local strikers do not excel, former Botswana Football Association (BFA) Technical Officer Philimon Makwengwe, has said.
Makwengwe said this answering to a question from Gazette Sport which sought to understand why it is difficult for local strikers to score 20 goals or more in the league. Of which according to him, local strikers have low conversion rate because they do not work hard in training.
“They must refrain from depending on coaches, they must work extra hard on their own ,” he said in an telephonic interview with this publication. “ We always hear stories that world class players like Ronaldo (Cristiano)and Messi (Lionel) remain behind after training to perfect their skills but that is not happening in Botswana. Local players always want to rush home after training; they never strive to develop their talent.”
Over the previous five seasons, Thatayaone Kgamanyane of Gaborone United remain the only local striker to have reached the 20 goal mark.He achieved the feat during the 2017/18 season. Retracing back to the 2014/15 season, local striker Lemponye Tshireletso became the top goal scorer with a mere 15 goals before Tendai Nyamadzwayo (foreign striker) netted 19 goals the following season.
Terrence Mandaza ( another foreign striker) then claimed the league top goal scorer during 2016/17 after he found the back of the net 17 times then followed Kgamanyane in 2018 before Thero Setsile scored 18 goals last season.
With that, Makwengwe said the reason other reason why local strikers fail to score more goals is because they are not good in positioning themselves.“ They do not position themselves at the right place and time to execute the adequate technique,” he decried. “ Their mental strength is also not up to scratch.” He said the local yesteryear strikers used to utilize chances because they worked harder as compared to recent marksmen who are talented but are not working hard.
Makwengwe noted that the problem with Botswana football is that it is dominated by ball players but not lethal strikers. “ We need such kind of strikers who will get the ball and go straight to the goal post to score without any fear,” he noted . “Strikers should not be ball players, they should be hustlers and have hunger to score goals consistently .” To him the latest lethal striker to have graced local football is former Zebras marksman Tshepiso ‘Sox’ Molwantwa.
To that end, Makwengwe think they (as coaches) should on the other hand be blamed for not developing players in front of the goals from an early age.
Even so, the former Prison XI coach is of the view that the strikers cannot be entirely blamed for the poor conversion rate as they lack supply. “ They most of the time do not have feeders. Remember how the likes of Joel Mogorosi and Kekaetswe Moloi used to score more goals at Mochudi Centre Chiefs, they did that because they had supply,” he recalled. “ They had enough feed from Elvis Meleka and Dirang Moloi, enough supply is essential for strikers.”