‘Mr Rollers’ turns 60
One of Botswana’s greatest footballers, Oris ‘Boyo’ Radipotsane celebrated his 60th birthday in style at his home village Pilikwe last Saturday.
Arguably the best attacking midfielder the country has ever produced, the seven times league winner with Township Rollers is as humble as they come.
The event was graced by the country’s football legends, past and present, amongst them former national team players, Zebras coach Major David Bright, Botswana Football Association President, Maclean Letshwiti and current Premier League stars.
“I invited my old friends, most of whom laid the football foundation in this country,” explained Radipotsane, who was known for his creativity on the pitch.
The legend said he was humbled by the huge turnout, especially of former teammates, some who he had not seen in a while.
“It just shows what football can do for an individual. It has helped me to foster eternal relations with a lot of people in the four corners of this countries,” he said, adding it was his wish was to have current players at the event as he had a message for them.
“I wanted them to understand that although football is a career, it is far more important than money. It is also about love, relations and legacy.
“I’m just glad that we managed to have all these legends in one place and I’ll go to my final resting place a happy man,” Radipotsane stated in an emotional speech.
The current Miscellaneous Head Coach has had a stellar career since joining Township Rollers in 1978.
As a teenager, Radipotsane’s reputation as a skilful dribbler and clinical goal-scoring machine grew in the central district.
He was snapped up by Palapye United, who couldn’t hold on to him for long as Rollers soon came calling.
Like a hand to a glove, ‘Jigger Man’ was the perfect fit at Rollers.
It didn’t take him long to establish himself as the top attacking midfielder in the country.
It is no coincidence that his arrival at ‘Popa Popa’ marked the beginning of an incredibly dominant streak for the club.
From 1979 to 1987 Rollers won the league a staggering seven times, only missing out in 1981 and 1986.
“We won it four times in a row from 1982 to 1985,” he recalled with a fond smile.
Due to Mapalastina’s dominance in the league and his importance to the club, supporters nicknamed him ‘Mr Rollers’, a name that has stuck to this day.
“There were times I carried the entire team on my shoulders. One moment of brilliance was all it took to get maximum points,” remembered Radipotsane fondly.
His exploits attracted scouts from South African side Mamelodi Sundowns, who came to watch him as he tore Malawi apart in an Independence match in 1986.
“We won that game 2-0 but since the transfer window had already closed I had to wait for January. I never went back to South Africa to formalise with Downs; remember it was during the apartheid era,” he explained, without a hint of regret.
After 12 amazing years with the Blues, ‘Boyo’ brought a sudden end to his playing career to focus on coaching.
He had already learnt the ropes as a player coach assisting Kaizer Kalambo.
Amongst his coaching credentials are the Under 20 team, which included players like Tsotso Ngele, Kabelo Dambe, Mirror Shimanyana and Galagbwe Moyana which was regarded as the best junior team in the country.
“Coaching keeps evolving. I learn every day and the only way to remain relevant in the game is to read, plan and keep learning,” was Radipotsane’s parting shot.