The positive implications for the nation came under sharp relief when The Mares’ striker won the Golden Boot Award and her team the championship of the CAF Women’s Champions League
Botswana’s national women’s football team striker Refilwe ‘Seven’ Tholakele has garnered widespread acclaim for her standout performance that earned her the Golden Boot Award after she contributed the most to the success of Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies in CAF Women’s Champions League tournament that ended last Sunday.
The award was the culmination of her team’s campaign in the continent-wide competition that ended with Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies crowned champions, marking a historic achievement for both herself and Botswana.
Triumph over SC Casablanca
The team’s resounding 3-0 triumph over SC Casablanca of Morocco, played out in Ivory Coast, was thanks to Tholakele’s brace and teammate Boitumelo Rabale’s one goal.
Goalkeeper Sedilame Bosija, who is also a crucial member of The Mares, played no less pivotal a role in securing the title even as an unused substitute.
Renowned sports journalist-turned football-administrator, Tshepo Molwane, lauded Tholakele’s remarkable growth since joining Sundowns Ladies in a telephone interview with this publication.
He emphasised her improved concordance, finishing ability and strategic gameplay before attributing her success to the astute decision-makers who facilitated her move to Sundowns.
Molwane expressed optimism about Tholakele’s impact on the upcoming Mares away game against Kenya, foreseeing her CAF Champions League experience being a catalyst for the success of The Mares.
“Her performance is going to benefit us as a country,” he said, underlining the positive implications of the achievements of what is Africa’s most outstanding woman footballer at the moment for women’s football in Tholakele’s native country.
The time of her life
Football analyst Jimmy George echoed similar sentiments, describing Tholakele as “having the time of her life” after clinching the Golden Boot Award over the weekend.
Reflecting on the broader national significance, George emphasised the inspirational roles that Tholakele and Bosija play, saying they serve as a reminder of what happens when young people believe in their dreams.
As the spotlight shines on Tholakele and Bosija as integral components of The Mares, the focus shifts to their crucial roles in the team’s quest to qualify for the TotalEnergies Women Africa Cup of Nations.
Tholakele’s mettle in Nairobi
The upcoming clash against Kenya at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Wednesday 29 November 2023 is poised to test Tholakele’s mettle further on the international stage.
The return fixture at the National Stadium in Gaborone on 5 December promises to be a defining moment for her and her compatriots whose aim is to solidify their place among Africa’s football elite.