End of the road for Juluka
Having run his heart out for the nation for nearly two decades, one of the country’s most decorated players, former Zebras captain, Joel Mogorosi is calling time on his illustrious career.
‘Juluka’, who will be 38 in August, turned out for the final time on Tuesday night, leading Gaborone United to a 1-1 draw against already relegated Notwane at the National Stadium.
In a fitting tribute to one of the finest footballers Botswana has ever produced, Coach, Innocent Morapedi handed Mogorosi the captain’s armband for his swansong.
Although he only lasted 45 minutes, the winger-turned-striker showed flashes of the old skills that have terrorised defences, both locally and on the international stage, for much of the previous 15 years.
Speaking to Voice Sport immediately after the game, relaxed and smiling with his family, Mogorosi appeared at peace with his decision.
“I have done my part, my legs are tired so I decided to retire,” he explained simply.
“I have achieved a lot as a footballer and I have no regrets. I have represented my country in international games with pride,” reflected the Kanye native.
Despite all he has won in the game, including winning an incredible nine Premier League titles, Mogorosi says the highlight of his journey remains his debut goal for the Zebras.
“Netting my first international goal against Togo [a side that included ex Arsenal striker, Emmanuel Adebayor in its ranks] back in September 2010 is my proudest moment.”
The Zebras beat their West African opponents 2-1 at the National Stadium that day, as they went on to top a group that included Tunisia, qualifying for AFCON for the first time in the process.
It is a memory/achievement tinged with slight sadness, as Mogorosi cruelly missed out on Botswana’s 2012 AFCON adventure with a broken arm he sustained in training.
“That was the most painful thing,” he admits ruefully.
Although it had been Mogorosi’s dream to retire at Extension Gunners, the team he supported as a child, the fairy-tale ending was not to be.
“Their management did not show interest in approaching me, now it’s late; I’m done with playing football,” concluded the former Voice Sport ‘The Joel in the Crown’ columnist, who intends to divide his time between his various businesses and farming.
He truly has been a jewel in local football’s crown!
* League Champion and promoted with Maletamotse
* 7-time League Champion with Township Rollers
* Mascom Champion with Rollers
* Coca Cola Champion with Rollers
* Orange Kabelano Cup with Rollers
* League Champion with Mochudi Centre Chiefs
* League champions with Gaborone United
* Telkom Knockout Champion with Bloemfontein Celtic and player of the tournament
* Orange FA Cup with GU
* Botswana Premier League Top scorer 2011/12 with Chiefs
* Cosafa Cup runners up 2016 and 2019
* Zebras qualify for AFCON 2012