Popa star sets sights on SA

Tshepo Kehimile
FILE PIC: Orebonye taking the ball from Gaborone United player

As he blew out the candles on his 24th birthday cake last month, Tumisang Orebonye made a promise to himself.

The Township Rollers striker, who has been in scintillating form this season, vowed he would one day fulfill his dream of playing in the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL).

It is an ambition the Palapye-born goal machine is convinced he will achieve.

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“Age is still very much on my side, and I believe in my abilities as a striker. I am optimistic that I can still make it in the PSL; it is only a matter of time before I start firing in SA,” maintained the ultra confident Orebonye in an exclusive interview with Voice Sport this week.

The fiery forward, who crossed the capital divide in 2018, joining Popa in an acrimonious split for Gaborone United, has certainly found his goal-scoring boots this season.

Having clinched the Mascom Top8 Green Boot with four goals, Orebonye is also amongst the league’s top predators, his seven strikes helping the Blues to second place in the table.

Proving that he’s a man for all occasions, Orebonye’s late finish against a stubborn Sua Flamingoes sealed a 1-0 win and ensured Mapalastina progressed to the Orange FA Cup quarter-finals.

Casting his mind back to his younger days, Orebonye – who despite being 24 still boasts the nickname Teenage – revealed his love affair with football blossomed early.

“I started loving football when I was doing Standard One, and played for clubs such as Palapye All Stars, Motlakase then eventually joined a big side Gaborone United.”

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Although he eventually fell out with the club in a dispute over unpaid wages, Orebonye remembers his time at the Money Machine with fondness.

“My stay at GU was successful as I was once chosen as the Footballers Union Botswana (FUB) Young Player of the Season accolade. That prompted a move to the mighty Township Rollers,” said Orebonye, who has since gone on to win 27 caps with the national team.

When he signed for Rollers, Orebonye was returning from a long lay-off. He remains incredibly grateful to Popa’s management for the patience and trust they showed in him as he fought for his fitness.

“I joined Rollers when I came back from a five months long injury. So they knew that I was still on a recovery process hence expectations were less despite what I could offer on the day. They did not put pressure on me and I started getting those goals which is what I love the most!”

Fast-forward to today, and with the country starting out on a 28-day lockdown, Orebonye explained he was keeping fit at home and following a rigorous training program set by Rollers Fitness Trainer, China Matlhaku.

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We have a training program from home by China. I am currently following it to keep body in shape so that when we return to playing I will be ready!”

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