Brightening up Botswana soccer


Gabonamong plies his trade at Cape Town-based Santos where Bright is coach. Bright was Botswana under-23 coach before he took the Santos job in February with the team lying third from the bottom on the 16-team log.

When he lost his first game 4-1 to Free State Stars skeptics wrote him off but the wily former Botswana Defence Force major went eight games without a loss, winning seven and drawing one, this includes a Nedbank Cup win. The good run of form took Santos to third on the log, six points behind log leaders Ajax Cape town.

Santos’ rich vein of form under Bright saw them beat two of the ‘Big Four’ in South African football - Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates, 4-1 and 2-1, respectively.

He also guided his young charges to a goalless draw against defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, on their own turf.

The good run continued just over a week ago as Bright did the double over Pirates beating them 5-4 on penalties and knocking them out of the lucrative Nedbank Cup.

Speaking to Botswana’s Voice Sport this week, Gabonamong said: “What Bright is doing is good. It’s good not only for Bright but for Botswana football as well. Santos is a team with no big name players and for him to achieve what he has achieved shows he is a good coach.

“As for me, I have never doubted his ability. I played under him at Mogoditshane Fighters and for the Zebras and know what I am talking about.”

Quizzed on what Bright has brought to the team, Gabonamong, who was at Santos before the arrival of the former army man said: “He has brought coordination to the team. He also understands young players and knows how to get the best out of them.”

Gabonamong is, however, worried that talented coaches will be lost to the country unless Botswana football turns professional soon.

“What coach Bright is doing will make the world realise there is talent in Botswana but unless the set up improves such exploits will be useless to the development of football in Botswana.

“Football in Botswana needs to turn professional and retain coaches like Bright to help develop the sport, especially young talent. Only then can we compete with countries like South Africa.”