Forward on fire
Jwaneng Galaxy’s Thabang Sesinyi was a forward on fire this season, finding the back of the net 24 times to emerge as the Botswana Premier League’s (BPL) top scorer.
The well-travelled 29-year-old striker was rewarded for his goal-scoring exploits at the recent Botswana Football League (BFL) awards, ending the night P100, 000 richer.
As well as the golden boot, the Palapye predator was voted the Player’s Player of the season – an especially coveted prize as the winner is picked by fellow professionals.
Entering the twilight years of his career, Sesinyi, who goes by the nickname ‘Gauche’ in footballing circles, still has much he wants to achieve, as he explains to PORTIA MLILO…
Congratulations on your double delight at last month’s BFL Awards – you must be on cloud nine?
It means a lot to me having won two awards at the ceremony, especially with the other one being influenced or voted for by fellow players in our league.
I really appreciate it.
Well deserved too! Now let’s go back to where it all started, who identified your talent?
I think I’d say one of my friends, Baboloki Taolo is the one who identified my talent in Palapye.
He introduced me to Fobby Radipotsane’s development team, Pilikwe United in 2009 when I was 18.
That was the beginning of my career.
And what made you join football?
I think growing up watching my uncle, Bonolo Moji play made me develop interest in football.
He was very good and famous in Phikwe when I was still a small boy.
Uncle was playing for the second division side, Maclepine.
Premier league teams Satmos and Nico United were interested in signing him but he turned down their offer because he liked booze and he did not want professional football (chuckling).
I started playing football on the streets of Palapye.
In 2010 I joined Matebejana before Notwane signed me a year later.
By 2013 I joined Orapa United, from 2016 to 2017 I played for Jwaneng Galaxy.
I joined Platinum Stars in 2017.
I was unlucky to suffer an injury in 2018 that kept me out of the game for a longer period.
My club relegated, sold, and relocated to Cape Town, as Cape Umuya. In 2019 I came back home to rejoin Galaxy.
Growing up, who was your footballing idol?
My idol was Ronaldinho Gaucho, a Brazilian retired professional footballer who played mostly as an attacking midfielder, hence my alias ‘Gaucho!’ Whenever he had the ball at his feet he was so exciting to watch and I was always trying to emulate him.
What is the motive behind your achievements?
I think being written off, underrated and disregarded! As much as football fans felt I am the best, the right people like coaches hardly recognised me.
This made me double my effort and remain focused because football is a short career.
When I came back from South Africa, people said I was finished.
My first season after injury, I managed to be the leading goal scorer.
I became a better player!
Good strikers usually get all the glory and all the women, has that ever happened to you?
No, that has never happened to me.
Maybe I have turned a blind eye to it but after the game you will find them waiting by the gate to congratulate you and they will want to hug you.
Do not ignore them but try to avoid them so that you do not get tempted.
After all, ladies are the ones that cheer us most and that gives me morale.
One football moment you can never forget?
My football journey as a whole has never been easy.
All the events that happened I can never forget.
I would probably say my move to Platinum and the goal I scored against Amazulu, my first time I signed at Notwane and when I scored against Rollers in the Top 8 final when I was at Orapa.
The other moment was in 2016, again in the Mascom Top 8 final, when I won my first football medal – and a gold for that matter! It was a huge achievement and the same year I got called up to the national team.
On the other foot, what are some of your lowlights in the sport?
Losing to GU last season in the second round same night they were crowned champions of BPL.
I cried because I felt we did not do our best and that we had a chance to be the champions.
Speaking of Gaborone United, you have been heavily linked with a move to the Reds – any intentions of leaving Galaxy?
I’d rather not answer that one because I don’t want to give you a wrong answer.
I have a number of offers on the table and am still weighing my options.
I will let you know if I decide to move or remain at Galaxy.
What makes a great footballer?
A good team player, who helps the team win games by using his unique set of skills.
Always shows up when needed and available even if he is not needed.
Listening to coach instructions and using them wisely is what makes a good player and you will have great achievement.
The other thing is that you should play soccer with love, be dedicated and determined, and do not wait for the coach to push you.
Even when you arrive at the ground before the coach, continue with your practice and during the league break exercise on your own to keep fit.
What message can you give to upcoming players?
The message I can give to youngsters is to dream big, stay committed to the process of becoming great or realising their dreams.
They should know nothing comes easy.
Most of all, be disciplined and believe in God – with him all things are possible! A player can be a millionaire especially when playing professional football.
I urge them to take their talent seriously and always aim higher.
The sky’s the limit!
If you listen to every person who tells you, you are a fantastic player or a terrible player you will go mad.
I think if you always believe in your ability then that stands you in good stead and that is what I have always done.
Who is your inspiration?
My inspiration is the late Kobe Bryant because of his mentality.
He was an American professional basketball player. One would wonder why not a football player.
He was a driven, energetic self-proclaimed overachiever.
He enjoyed setting his sights on big goals and working to accomplish them.
What are your future career plans?
I’d rather not say right now but it’s another challenge for me that I’m sure I’ll conquer.
Given a chance I would play internationally.
Apart from playing football, how do you kill your time?
Spending time with my family and friends, mostly family.
Thank God It’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend?
The usual, because it’s preseason: training, gym for extras then Netflix and chill.