Forward on fire

Tshepo Kehimile

‘Dunga’ the goal machine destroying defences

Orapa United’s charismatic striker, Omaatla ‘Dunga’ Kebatho is a forward on fire, scoring goals for fun both on and off the pitch.

In August, before the season started, the 29-year-old fan favourite walked down the aisle with his long-time sweetheart, Manna Lebang – breaking quite a few female hearts in the process!

Forward on fire
SCORING ON AND OFF THE PITCH: The striker recently got married

Married life certainly seems to agree with the Maun native’s football!

In terms of goals, Kebatho has been twice as good as anyone else in the Premier League, scoring eight times in seven games to fire Orapa up to third in the table. His form hit new heights at the weekend, smashing in a sensational hattrick in a 4-0 thumping of Prisons XI.

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With his teammate, Lemogang Maswena, Gaborone United’s Onkabetse Makgantai and Jwaneng Galaxy midfielder, Wendall Rudath locked in second on the top goal scorers list with four strikes each, Kebatho is streets ahead of the rest.

Indeed, his tally of eight is better than the total number of goals managed by ten teams so far!

Chatting exclusively to Voice Sport this week, the loved-up footballer said marriage had made him see life in a different light.

“I want to be a better version of myself this season,” said the former Ecco City Greens star, who learnt his trade as an understudy to the Francistown team’s legendary striker, Malepa ‘King Goals’ Bolelang.

Kebatho revealed Orapa are fighting with a common purpose, united in their determination to win a trophy to honour their fallen teammate, 24-year-old left-back, Lesenya Ramoraka, who tragically died in a car accident weeks before the start of the season.

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“Our collective ambition as the Orapa United family is to honour our departed hero, Lesenya ‘Lee’ Ramoraka with silverware as evidenced by our hard work and commitment,” he said.

The humble hit-man is confident he can continue his goal-scoring exploits, noting the prestigious ‘green boot’, awarded to the league’s top scorer, is a distinct possibility if he stays fit.

“It is one game at a time and above all God has been my pillar of strength this year. I believe if I can stay injury free, I stand a better chance to win [the top scorer award] because there is immense support from family, teammates, coaches and the management which boost my confidence.”

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Now in his sixth year with the Ostriches, Kebatho is something of a cult hero in Boteti ever since joining from then Premier Soccer League (PSL) side, Vasco Da Gama, where he spent a single season.

“Playing in South Africa was a great opportunity for me, and I am thankful for the exposure I got. I had wished to stay a bit longer unfortunately I was not in the team’s plans the following season hence I had to come back home,” was his laidback assessment of his time south of the border.

Having last played for the Zebras back in September 2019 in a 1-0 loss to Malawi, a result that sent Botswana crashing out of the World Cup Qualifiers at the first hurdle, Kebatho is eying up a glorious return.

“I wish to represent my beautiful country if I ever get a chance again. It is always an honour to play for the national team,” he said.

In this sort of form, it is a call-up that will surely be coming sooner rather than later!

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