Local footy stars to join Moroccan first division

Portia Mlilo
OFF TO MOROCCO: Seakanyeng, Mathumo & Orebonye (L-R)

Following a gallant performance against The Copper Bullets of Zambia last week, the three players who masterminded the stealthy smash and grab at the Itani Chilume Stadium have now turned their focus on conquering North Africa.

Township Rollers duo of central defender Simisani Mathumo, and forward Tumisang Orebonye, as well speedy winger and free agent Kabelo Seakanyeng will jet out of the country this Friday to join Moroccan first division side Olympique Club de Khouribga (OCK).

Founded in 1923, OCK is one of the oldest clubs in Morocco.

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The outfit is based in the mining town of Khouribga, located 154km from the capital city, Rabat. The town, which owes its growth to the phosphate deposits, has a population of a little under 200, 000.

They are currently in the Moroccan second tier (Botola 2) after relegating from the top league (Botola) last season.

In a 16-team division, OCK won only six matches out of 30 and finished 15th with 28 points, four points from safety. Together with Raja Beni Mellal, who won just one match all season, OCK dropped down to Botola 2.

The team kicks off their campaign against Olympic de Cheira next Friday (4 December), when Mathumo, Orebonye, and Seakanyeng will be desperately hoping to feature.

The club has tasted victory before, winning the Moroccan league twice in 1989 and 2007. OCK also finished as runners up in 1984 and 1996 and have made one appearance in CAF’s Champions League in 2008. Two years earlier they made it to the group stages of the CAF Confederations Cup.

Looking to bounce straight back to the top division, the club have cast their net wide for players who can help revive the glory days.

24-year-old Orebonye scored for Botswana in a 2-1 AFCON qualifier loss to Zambia ending the Zebras six-game run without a goal.

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Last season’s Mascom Top8 top goal scorer is one of the most lethal strikers in local football. Good in the air and packing a stinger of a shot, ‘Teenage’ will be a good addition to coach Ahmad Al-Ajlani’s side.

His teammate, 29-year-old Mathumo is a versatile and seasoned defender who has over the years given Rollers and indeed the Zebras defense a good shape.

Mathumo re-joined Popa last year on a two-year deal after a six-month stint with South Africa based Free State Stars under current Rollers coach Nikola Kavazovic.

In Seakanyeng, the Moroccans have got a complete player who has matured like wine since turning up for Malta’s first division club Lija Athletic.

The 27-year-old turned down an offer to extend his stay in the Southern European Island, opting instead to try his dazzling skills against the equally talented North Africans.

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The trio got their Botswana Police clearance on Tuesday and are currently awaiting their Covid-19 test results before traveling to start a new life in North Africa.

Voice Sport has learned that the deal was made possible by Moroccan football agents close to National team coach, Adel Amrouche.

The agents reportedly watch all Zebras matches and that is how they stumbled upon the trio.

Speaking to Voice Sport on Monday, an excited Mathumo said playing in Morocco is a great opportunity for him to grow as a player and elevate his career.

The no-nonsense defender said the experience is vital especially for them as the national team players.

“We did our Covid-19 tests on Monday. Unfortunately, 72 hours elapsed while we were still dealing with the fingerprints process and we had to test again on Wednesday. I will do my best, put more effort to prove myself as this deal can be a gate pass to greater things,” said Mathumo.

When reached for comment, Rollers Manager, Motshegetsi Mafa said the two clubs are still negotiating compensation as the two players had running contracts with Popa.

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Mafa further revealed the Blues are also in the market to find two suitable replacements.

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