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Left in limbo

Ramoraka’s future uncertain amid Highlands Park confusion

One of the brightest young stars of Botswana football, Lesenya Ramoraka has a huge question mark hanging over his immediate future.

With his contract at South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Highlands Park at an end, the 26-year-old left back has no idea where he will be playing his football next season.

Adding to the uncertainty, Highlands look set to sell their PSL status to National First Division (NFD) outfit TS Galaxy.

With media reports in SA suggesting the players were furious at management for keeping them in the dark over the looming deal, Voice Sport reached out to Ramoraka to shed some light on the situation.

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“Yes, it is true, we learned about the impending sale of the club on the media – we were not officially informed!” he confirmed, before rubbishing rumours that the players had gone on strike.

‘There is another issue that is making rounds on the media sphere which says we refused to train, that one is not true as we have been training!” revealed the fleet-footed former Orapa United defender, who left the Ostriches for the Lions of the North in 2018.

As for his own prospects, Ramoraka attempted to put a brave spin on what must be a difficult time for the Mahalapye-native.

“As of today, I cannot tell you what will happen to my future because I had a contract with the club which is now left with options. But you will never know what will happen; I believe I will get a new contract as it is my greatest hope at the moment.”

Reflecting on his two years with the Johanesburg-based club, Ramoraka stressed that despite mixed fortunes, he has loved his time in Mzansi.

“I am thrilled with my stay here because I was received with a warm heart. I made a promise to myself that I was going to work really hard to be in the starting line-up and things worked out in my favour as I became a starter from the onset,” he said.

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However, last season proved more frustrating for Ramoraka as he struggled to shake off a niggling hamstring injury.

“I became a frustrated figure as I spent less time in the playing field after I sustained a hamstring injury at the 2019 MTN 8 Final against Supersport United. It kept me on the sidelines for almost four months!” he said, ruefully adding that the Covid-19 enforced break towards the end of the season hampered his recovery.

“Covid-19 caused a huge blunder to all the recovering players as they were not able to see whether they had fully recovered as there was no action. A typical example would be me, as I thought I was healed enough to be back on the pitch after the PSL restart. I played the first two games and the injury returned, I was forced the watch the remaining games from the stands.”

Highlands suffered a disappointing end to the season, missing out on a top 8 finish after they failed to beat Amazulu FC in a dramatic final round of fixtures last Saturday.

Held to a 1-1 draw, Ramoraka and his teammates were piped to the top 8 on goal difference by Bloemfontein Celtic, who beat Maritzburg United 3-1.

“We are deeply saddened by the fact that we will not be playing at this year’s Top 8 considering the fact that we are the previous finalists of this tournament. It’s every player’s ambition to play in this particular tournament!”

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It marks a low point in a career of highs for a young man who made the daunting transition from the tiny town of Orapa to the bright lights of Johannesburg with surprising ease.

“I believe moving from Orapa to Joburg was really simple for me because I knew why I went to South Africa, my ultimate goal was to play football. I was not going to be carried away by any other things that would not contribute to the excellence of my career hence I remained focused.”

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