By Monnakgotla Mojaki
Thato Yellow Bolweleng is one of the few football players who many think has gone through proper development. He has quickly developed into one of the few right backs in the country, a darling of both the coaches and fans. At times it is his determination and to some they just love his hairstyles. Besides his love for fashion he is a determined footballer who has a dream to be one of the best players in the country in a few years time. He has recently received a call-up to the under-23 and in this interview he shares his experience in football
When did you actually start playing football seriously?
I grew up in Bontleng (in Gaborone) and played for Flamengo Desportos. I was a good player from a young age and in 2007 I was promoted from the junior team. I made my first blue book there and my fist game was against Tropical Stars in the second division.
Are you not intimidated by bully senior players on the field of play?
Truly speaking fear is not in my vocabulary, I can’t fear a player, no matter how well built he may be. Actually I get motivated when I come against a senior player. In most cases we also have senior players in our team and they are very supportive. As junior players we also stick together and encourage one another, that’s how we survive.
You have played for the under-20, what is your plan now going forward?
I never played for the under-17 and I don’t regret it, though I was still under some development at Desportos. With my first call-up to the under-23 I now dream of going to the senior team before the end of the year.
How many under-20 caps do you have and do you think you can still go far?
I currently have 18 appearances to my name and surely I am still counting. I got the latest just last weekend. I however still remember one of the first games I played against Angola, though we lost that game, I really enjoyed it as it showed me how tough international football is.
Do you believe youngsters are properly given the necessary support in football development?
I honestly don’t think it is that bad. Some of us have been going through vigorous trainings since we were young boys. I can however say I doubt the level of facilities in the country. We only learn to use the lawn late. Even from then we still train in the dusty grounds and use the lawn for competitive games. I just don’t think it is working positively for us. It must be improved.
How Important is money, game time and managers or agents in football in your understanding?
I think money comes second to playing regularly because that’s how you develop. What is important is to build a reputation. It is not like we don’t need money as youngsters, but it’s best we improve in the field first. I have been taught to work and complain later. I am still to learn the real work of agents and managers.
Do you think you are a real capable defender who can match the best strikers in the league without being dirty?
It is not an easy task to be a defender because strikers can simulate and you end up in trouble. I am a very lucky player and careful I have never committed fouls in the box that cost us. I have instead got penalties for my team. I have also never gotten a red card, so you can see that I am a clean but tough defender.
You are now in the under-23. How does that make you feel?
I am really excited and want to work hard. I think I really deserved this because I had a very good season. It has been good mixing with the big boys.