Sizzling for The Reds

Tshepo Kehimile


Last week Voice Sport ran a special feature on Gaborone United’s caretaker coach Pontsho ‘Piro’ Moloi, focusing on the 38-year-old’s perfect start to life in the GU hot seat.

Having guided the Money Machine to six wins in his six games in charge, Moloi’s managerial reputation is rising fast.

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Another to enjoy a successful ‘GU baptism’ – albeit slightly less high profile – is the club’s lanky new addition Misani Thupa.

The speedy 22-year-old striker, signed from Extension Gunners in dramatic fashion on the last day of the January transfer window, has hit the ground running with Moyagoleele.

In his four appearances to date, most of them from off the bench, Thupa has bagged a goal and two assists as well as impressing with his work rate and clever movement.

A lifelong Gunners fan, Thupa fulfilled a boyhood fantasy last year when he joined the Lobatse side, scoring six times in his six months with Mapantsola.

“Playing for Gunners was a dream come true because they gave me an opportunity to play in the elite league when I almost thought of quitting the sport. I started playing football at a very young age and my skills was crafted by Re Ba Bona Ha in Gaborone Phase 4, spent nine good years there. Eventually, the team registered in the league and I played for four years before ultimately joining Gunners,” the talented forward told Voice Sport in an exclusive interview this week.

However, signing for Gunners was just the start. Thupa then had to fight for a place in the first team.

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“It was really hard for me to gain a starting berth. Eventually, I made a deal with the coach, Stanley Mwaanga, that if he gives me a chance to play I would score and it came to pass. Furthermore, that is what motivated me to keep working hard to stay in the starting 11 and bag those six crucial goals in my Gunners career,” he said, his eye lighting up with obvious pride at the memory.

Quizzed on what prompted his move to GU, Thupa responded immediately, “There was a lot going on at Gunners, including financial strains. That upset my parents because I was risking my livelihood. They demanded I leave football altogether and forced me to terminate my contract with Gunners. I was heartbroken.”

Fortunately, salvation was to come swiftly.

“I was ready to give up football, but GU re-surfaced on the last day of the transfer window asking for my services. I jumped at the opportunity to play what I love the most!”

Two months into his GU adventure and, despite his impressive start and unwavering confidence in his own abilities, Thupa is not getting carried away. The raw young striker is far from the finished article and knows there is still a long way to go but he is hungry for more.

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“I have always dreamed of myself playing in one of big leagues one day and being at GU will help me achieve that. My plan is to work hard and cement my place in the starting 11.”

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