In the true spirit of ‘honouring Legends while they are still alive’, former Arm City players hosted a surprise appreciation session for Michael ‘Spokes’ Gaborone at his home this past weekend. Known in football circles as Spokes or Baba, Michael Gaborone has played a key role in the development of many a player, some of who went on to ply their trade in the local Premier League, while some went on to play internationally and also represented Botswana at different national team levels.
Speaking at the event Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Mr. Phillip Makgalemele lamented Spokes Gaborone’s contribution to development of Botswana football, as evidenced by the number and quality of big name players who went through Spokes’ development teams. He welcomed the move by the players to honour Spokes Gaborone while he is still alive.
One of the players, Phadza Butale, said they learned a lot from Spokes, not only on the football field, but even off the field as evidenced by the fact that most of his products have gone on to become renowned administrators, business people and executives. He said they appreciate Spokes’ role in shaping so many lives.
A surprised Spokes Gaborone said his biggest sense of accomplishment is that he sees that that he has impacted so many lives, adding that he is proud that his ‘products’ have gone on to become something in society, even away from football. In true Spokes Gaborone character, he talked about discipline and implored the former players to continue being disciplined members of the society.
For his part Batlokwa Kgosi Puso Gaborone commended the players for honoring Spokes Gaborone while he is alive so that he realizes that he touched and impacted on many lives. He said as Batlokwa, they had lent Spokes to Botswana football and they are proud to see that his efforts are being appreciated.
Michael Spokes Gaborone played for Black Peril and represented Botswana at national team level before going into coaching and ultimately coaching Botswana at different age levels. He formed a developmental football team called Arm City, which had different age categories from Under 12s, Under 16s and Under 20s side. Some of the notable names that have gone through Spokes hands include Phadza Butale, Oliver Robbo Khonzapi, Lebogang Ace Moruti, Barnes Maplanka, Godfrey Jabu Rankwe, Lentswe Chibane, Dipsy Selolwane, Seabo Gabanakgosi and the late Thero Relax Gaadingwe amongst others.
As a token of their appreciation, the former players handed over a custom made t-shirt inscribed with their names as well as a P10 000 cheque from contributions made. Stories and memories were shared, with the players reminiscing on the good old days under the tutelage of Gaborone.