Former Botswana national team coach Peter James Butler, who had a brief stint with Platinum Stars, says it is a shame Botswana’s players have not kicked on in South Africa.
The PSL is an attractive destination for a lot of Botswana footballers because of its proximity and financial lure. In the past, the likes of Mogogi Gabonamong, Modiri Marumo, Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane and Mogakolodi Ngele, excelled in the Absa Premiership.
However, at least 10 of the Zebras’ current crop of stars have struggled to hold their own in the local League. Simisani Mathumo (Free State Stars), Mampule Masule, Thatayaone Kgamanyane (both Chippa United), Kabelo Dambe (Platinum Stars, Bloemfontein Celtic), Thabang Sesinyi (Platinum Stars), Lebogang Ditsele (Highlands Park), Thero Setsile, Kabelo Sekanyeng (both TS Galaxy), Ntesang ‘Mirror’ Simanyana and Galabgwe Moyana (both Polokwane City) all had botched stints in the country.
Only three Botswana internationals are now plying their trade in the PSL.
Ngele, who has been in the PSL since 2012, plays for Black Leopards, while his compatriots – Lesenya Ramoraka and Thatayaone Ditlhokwe – are with Highlands Park and SuperSport United, respectively.
“It’s a shame Botswana players have not really kicked on in SA, like other players from neighbouring countries like Khama Billiat, who I think is a good player,” the Liberia coach told FARPost.
“I think most Batswana would agree with me that the players that have gone to the PSL have not really lived up to the hype when they left Botswana.”
The former West Ham midfielder, who made over 450 appearances in the Football League and English Premiership, warns the future will be challenging for Botswana stars and hopes talented youngsters, who move to Absa Premiership, get the right guidance on and off the pitch “as Europe is a pipe dream” for them.
The Englishman believes the struggles could be down to the standard of coaching. He, however, says the emergence of young coaches in the beMOBILE League is certainly positive for Botswana football.
In his view, the secret is to create a culture where players are motivated about opportunities and challenges rather than money.
The 53-year-old is convinced the Absa Premiership is a decent League producing some very good players.
“There are some very well-run clubs there, but still sadly don’t produce topflight players like Senegal, Egypt and West African leagues. Still, it is a good product and very well run.”
Butler is managing Liberia after signing a one-year deal last September. He made a successful start by guiding them to the second round of 2022 World Cup qualifying after beating Sierra Leone 3-2 on aggregate.
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By Mthokozisi Dube