“Sometime I Want To Cry” -Kopano Phakedi
40 years of Premier League Football by Extension Gunners
Molefhi Kannemeyer Obenne
“I joined Extension Gunners in 1992 after I won BISA Coca Cola Finals with Seepapitso Senior Secondary School. That’s where they saw me. A certain Mr Tshepho Masire and Cassim Dada orchestrated everything”, reflected Kopano Computer Phakedi.
Computer recalled that when he first arrived at Gunners they were still coached by the the Late Kenny Mwape. “Later on in 1993 came another Zambian gaffer in the Late Samuel Zoom Ndlovu, as the Technical Director. It was shortly after Kaizer Chiefs beat us 4-0 at Rand Stadium in the second leg of CAF Champions League game. They had earlier beaten us 1-0 at Gaborone National Stadium” reflected Phakedi about his early days at LCS Gunners.
Kopano joined LCS Gunners which was a force to be reckoned with, it was starting to dominating the football of Botswana. In 1990, Lobatse Cash Store (LCS), ceremoniously and officially sponsored Extension Gunners, hence the change of name to LCS Gunners, in exchange to appreciate the sponsor and give them the naming right. A new dawn was upon the Peleng Boys. The Store was owned by the Chopdat family, with the iconic MmaSabera as the mother of the family.
“I found the likes of Joe Tembo, Magwegwe Motswagae, Tummie Duiker, Scara Kebalepile, Computer Jere, Edison Mr T Sesinyi, Rasta Mosetse, Teenage Sundusa Moswai, Peter Mabile, Solly Moipolai, Edson Mulubwa(MHSRIP), Salomon Kapona, Moffat Ramasotla, Rasta Kgengwenyane,S tates Hirschfeld, Odirile Sengwaketse, Jojo Mogotsi, Pro Mauco, Lackson Manda, Solly Moipolai, Killer Kooitsiwe came in later and the late Terrence Mophuting”, said Sowa Assistant Coach Computer Phakedi.
Computer Phakedi could clearly remember was transpired when Gunners played again Kaizer Chiefs which was led by Captain Neil Tovey. “I was inexperienced,” he laughed off. “By then i had just joined Gunners in September 1992 and we played Kaizer Chiefs 5months later in February 1993.” Related Kaaps as he put the era into perspective.
“But it was a very interesting game here in Gaborone. Scara Kebalepile was on top of his game, he did everything he wanted with Neil Tovey. It was a closely contested game and they scored from a long throw in by Wellington Manyathi and Eric September flicked it over our goalkeeper, Moffat Ramasotla late in the second half. It was a goal, 1 – 0 to Chiefs.” Alluded Phakedi as he painted the picture of how the goal was scored.
He continued, “So yah, obviously I didn’t take part in those two games. Hey, in Johannesburg they almost killed us. Isaac Shakes Kungwane was all over us. He did all the magic that was there in the game to make a mockery out of us.”
Bra Kaaps as he is nonchalantly called by most people in the football fraternity spent a good 11 years at Extension Gunners since1992. He played with three generations of players at Guna Guna as Gunners is affectionately peddled. The first generation was those of Scara Kebalepile and Tummiee, which he found there. The second generation compromised of the players who joined him while he was still there. They included the likes of Teenage Tsalaile, Valdo Mogomotsi, Teenage Tshupo, Francis Chisenga, Philemon Chisala, Kabelo Ace Dikgang, Chicco Dance Nare, Buti Kgodungwe, Abbi Dibanka Moupo, Jack Gotlop, Reuben Mosweu, Pullen Busang, Fanwel Alberto, Jabu Rankwe, the late George Leungo King, Stephen Monageng, Ernest Mothei and others.
In the last generation, was a young cohort of Tshepho Talk Talk Matlhabankwe, Sphetho Mahube, Hensel Simon, Gweru Pilato, and the Bolofete brothers, Barulaganyi Jomo and Botlhe. “I had a year without playing due to a career threatening injury. I broke my right leg in 1999 while playing against Police XI at the National Stadium” shared Computer as he talked of the unfortunate incident he faced.
Fortunately, later on Computer managed to recovered and he went on to play a couple more seasons at Extension Gunners. He even participated in CAF Confederations Cup game in Mauritius alongside Talkie, Shoes Godirwang, Michael Mogaladi and others. That preceded his transfer to Uniao Flamingo Santos, before he retired in playing football. During his tenure there he helped Santos to get promoted to Premier League in 2004.
“In that team we had the then youngsters like Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Sekhana Koko, Athe Giggs Phiri, Shoes Motlhabane, Dodo Ketshabile, Godfrey Dolezar Ngele and many other youngsters,” reflected the former Masitaoka and Majweng coach about his last days as a football player. Computer Phakedi could not stop talking about his beloved Extension Gunnners. “There are a lot of things happening there. It pains me a lot every time someone talks or interviews me about Gunners, I become so emotional,” mentioned the sad former Gunners players, who won three championships with the club, during its prime time.
Phakedi further went on to say, “But in short, there’s the Gunners style of play or maybe I should call it the Culture, that they never leave behind. I believe it works wonders for the team. On top of that Gunners people differ with a lot of opinions and decisions, which never worked for the team.”
Computer was starting to reminisce about the consistent self – inflicted predicament the club usually finds itself in, season in season out. “But when things get ugly they all come together, strategize and reach a common goal, which is always to save the team from relegating. Unfortunately, after surviving relegation they start fighting all over again.”
In the end Phakedi conceded, “They never learn. But believe me, those supporters work hard for the team.” As Computer concluded our interview.
Doubting Thomases will pose a cynical question, “How long will the ‘script’ sustain the team’s status in the Botswana Premier League?” Ever since 1979, to 2019, through their trials and tribulations and that 3-year successful spell of 1992 to 1995, Extension Gunners had never relegated to First Division or lower league. They are still the last man standing in the Premier League as the only community funded and aided club in the history of Botswana Football. Happy 40 years’ anniversary of staying up in the elite league, Mogobagoba, The Peleng Boys, Ezimnyama, Kgomo e ntsho, Guna Guna. You are the only master of Botswana Football alongside Matebele a montshonyana, the Botswana Defence Force (Government) aided team. Long live Extension Gunners, long Live.