A legend honoured

Kabelo Dipholo
HONOURED: Oris Radipotsane

Oris Radipotsane immortalised in Pilikwe

One of the country’s most decorated, widely respected football icons, Oris Boyo Radipotsane, received a befitting tribute at his home village of Pilikwe last Saturday.

The still under construction Pilikwe United Football Club ground was renamed Oris Radipotsane Sports Complex in recognition of his outstanding football journey.

Known for his wizardry on the pitch, and an uncanny knack for finding the back of the net, the man popularly known as ‘Digga Jazz’ was honoured in front of hundreds of applauding fans in the small Tswapong village.

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Nestled at the foot of the hill, Pilikwe has a proud history of producing excellent footballers. Radipotsane, however, has always been a cut above the rest.

HE SCORES AGAIN: Boyo with his new wife
HE SCORES AGAIN: Boyo with his new wife

From his early days turning up for local club, Free Burgers, there was no question the attacking midfielder was made for the big time.

Christmas tournaments were always a spectacle to behold. A derby between Burgers and Young City was a rivalry that gripped the tiny village.

With the ball seemingly glued to his dusty boots, Radipotsane was the undoubted star of the show, along with the likes of Township Rollers teammate, Moshoeshoe ‘Trigger’ Molelekwa.

Being the first from the village to play for an elite club like Rollers and later go on to captain the national team, ‘Digga Jazz’ quickly acquired legendary status in Pilikwe and indeed the rest of the Tswapong region.

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His exploits inspired a whole new generation of footballers in the area, who dared to dream that they, too, might one day sign for a big club in Gaborone.

The unveiling of the new name was graced by several football legends and royals, amongst them Kgosi Sekgoma Tshekedi Khama, Kgosi Gasebalwe Seretse and his Deputy, Kgosi Johan Rakumako.

IMPRESSED: Rollers Legends Club
IMPRESSED: Rollers Legends Club

Organiser of the event, Pilikwe United Chairman and Radipotsane’s brother, Fobby Radipotsane, told Voice Sport the fun-filled day brought back old memories when football was still the main source of entertainment in the village.

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“Remember, we’ve always had talented footballers, but my brother was the first one to make it to the top, opening gates for everyone to follow,” reflected the younger Radipotsane, whose side currently ply their trade in the Tswapomg Regional League.

Fobby said they’d considered other landmarks around the village, but reached a consensus to rename the playing ground after the Popa and Zebras legend.

“We want this landmark to inspire the youth in Pilikwe and the entire Tswapong region. Those who didn’t know much about him will certainly know that he’s our son,” he predicted proudly.

Outlining the extent of his plans, he revealed they already have a council-approved plan to start construction of dressing rooms and a conference facility with a swimming pool at the Sports Complex.

“We started with bathrooms which are complete. Next week construction of dressing rooms commences,” Fobby told Voice Sport, the belief in his voice obvious.

He said their vision as a club has always been to be financially stable before pushing to play in the Premier League.

“With this property, we’ll bring income and it will give us a competitive edge. We’ll then also build our netball and volleyball teams to turn this into a powerhouse,” continued Fobby with total conviction.

For his part, in a brief interview with Voice Sport on Wednesday morning, the man of the moment said he was humbled by what his brother and residents of Pilikwe did for him.

WRITING ON THE WALL: The new Oris Radipotsane Sports Complex
WRITING ON THE WALL: The new Oris Radipotsane Sports Complex

Radipotsane, who is currently Jwaneng Galaxy Assistant Coach, said the gesture was perfectly timed – although it did coincide with his wedding day! – as there is a mind shift in the way parents and kids now view sport.

“I’m happy that this honour came while I’m still alive, and I hope it inspires the youth in the region,” said the newly married footy legend.

Radipotsane’s illustrious history includes winning the league five times as a player, promoting both Jwaneng Comets and Motlakase Power Dynamos to the league and reaching the Coca Cola Cup final with Dynamos in 2011.

Some of the top footballing names he’s worked with include Brazil legend, Mario Zagallo, Jeff Butler, Henz Marotzke, Carlos Parreira, the late David Bright and Stanley Tshosane.

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Now, as the second in command in Jwaneng, can Pilikwe’s legendary son open another football chapter and have his name written in the galaxy?

Time will tell, but if his past glories are anything to go by, the omens are good!

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