Mangolo Left back wonder with great potential

26 Oct 2023

The emergence of Benson Mangolo in the Zebras left-back position has rekindled good memories of yester year. Such a nimble-footed player reminds one of great players like Khumo ‘Shoes’ Motlhabane, Mosimanegape ‘Twizer’ Ramohibidu and Kegone ‘Shono’ Bogatsu who mastered the position with aplomb.

For some time now, Zebras followers have been missing the presence of a natural left-footed, left back and an enterprising player. Mangolo has brought hope that he can become another great left back ever to don the national team colours.

The player has proven over time that he is endowed with good skills to get around his opponents and be on a overlapping attacking mode and supply his forwards with quality crosses from the left.

Mongalo has demonstrated his prowess in the Botswana Premier League (BPL) teams he has plied his trade in such as Security Systems and Jwaneng Galaxy.

But who is Mangolo? He is just a young man from Mathathane village in the Bobirwa district born 24 years ago. Like any other kid, he grew up playing in the dusty grounds using hand-made plastic balls.

He would then continue with his football at Mathathane Primary School. Little did he know that he would be a force to be reckoned with in future, not only in his village, but also nationally.

It was at Mathathane primary  where he played in the Chappies League for the Under-12 and then proceeded to junior school where he was identified by the Botswana Integrated Sport Associations (BISA) coaches in 2015.

He was then later selected for the Under-17 to represent Botswana at the Confederation of School Sports Associations of Southern Africa (COSSASA) games held in Zimbabwe.

His performance at the games caught the eye of the then Under-20 national team coaches, Philemon Makwengwe and Tshepo Mphukuthi, who did not hesitate to give him a chance to represent the country. They gave him a run in the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier game against Zimbabwe where he applied himself well.

The year 2015 seems to have been a good one for Mangolo, as he also received a national team call-up under the tutelage of George Mogopodi to represent the country in the Under-20 COSAFA Cup held in Rustenburg, South Africa.

While he was a student at Lotsane Senior Secondary School, he was identified by the late gaffer Major David Bright and recruited him to Morupule Wanderers while it was still plying its trade in the First Division North (FDN) league.

Like most football players, he later relocated to Gaborone looking for greener pastures and landed in the hands of Gilport Lions’ coach Mandivenga Paradzayi on a six months loan from Morupule.

After completing his secondary education in 2016, his resilience and hard work also caught the eye of the then BDF XI coach, Letang ‘Rasta’ Kgengwenyane, where he started his proper premier league football journey at the team based at the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks on a two-year contract.

He was nominated for and won the Botswana Premier League Young Player of the Year award the same year he joined the army boys. Still in 2016, he received his first senior team call-up under the leadership of Major Bright.

Although he did not make it to the final squad list that travelled to the COSAFA games in South Africa, this did not dampen his spirit but instead motivated him to work even extra hard so that he could cement his position in the Zebras starting line-up.

In 2018, he was bought by Jwaneng Galaxy with five months left in his contract.

“But competition was too tough at Galaxy as the team was fighting for the league and the Mascom Top 8 honours and I did not have enough game time. I ended up being loaned to Security Systems in the 2019/2020 season,” he recalls.

In the same season, the world was then hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and everything came to a halt. His loan spell elapsed at Security Systems and he returned to Galaxy where they agreed to part ways amicably.

Mangolo then rejoined Security Systems, this time on a two-year contract where the late Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul coached him.

“After his passing, then came in Kaelo ‘Wire’ Kaelo. I think I excelled very well under his guidance and got interest from many clubs amongst them Galaxy again, Gaborone United and Township Rollers. After my contract elapsed at Security Systems, I then re-joined Galaxy last season on a one year contract,” he says.

It has been a roller coaster for him, but he did not give up, adding that even at the national team, some coaches preferred Gaborone United’s Mothusi Johnshon to him. This, however, did not dampen his spirit as he continued to work hard. It was the current Zebras coach, Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote, who saw potential in him and started using him in the starting line-up.

This year, Mangolo was given a big task of captaining the Zebras during the COSAFA tournament that was held in South Africa, a task he executed with distinction.

“I think I did well in that tournament and some teams from the DStv Premier and Motsepe Foundation leagues showed interest but the deals fell through. What do I do now? Fold my arms? No!!! I will continue to work hard and one day, I will be playing outside the country,” he notes passionately.

His dream is to play in North Africa and he is cognisant of the fact that it will not come easy, as it involves hard work and discipline.

Mangolo’s motto is that everything is possible through hard work. He grew up watching and admiring the likes of Mogogi ‘Gino’ Gabonamong, Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane, and Joel ‘16’ Mogorosi because they are all an epitome of hard work. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Anastacia Sibanda

Location : GABORONE

Event : Profile

Date : 26 Oct 2023