- Boniface Makolo ready for action after 3 year absence
After more than three years watching his mates from the stands due to a nagging knee injury, former Young Zebras skipper Boniface Makolo is fit and ready to play again.
The former Township Rollers right-back has no doubt in his mind that he will be competing in the 2012/13 be Mobile season
An off the ball incident in 2008 between the then Township Rollers right-back Makolo and Gaborone United holding midfielder Ofentse Nato ended with the former needing knee surgery. It was the last match of the season that ended 1-all after Ronald Chikomo equalized for GU from a penalty spot and it was a foul that Nato was never punished for and one that put Makolo out of action for more than three years.
Rollers immediately terminated his contract when Pio Paul was ushered in as caretaker coach. Though under normal circumstances the hardworking defender was supposed to get money as he still had over a year left in his contract, he left empty handed probably due to bad advice or ignorance.
He later joined GU in 2009 on an earn as you play contract but that had to be terminated after he featured just four times for the Reds.
“I told them that I could not go on anymore as my knee was really in bad shape,” Makolo told Voice Sport.
Chico Dance Nare who was just appointed Extension Gunners coach invited Makolo to join the Lobatse giants. He never played a single match; the closest he came to playing was a place on the bench just once.
“I decided to leave Gunners and focus on getting fully fit,” he said.
The knee injury was his second major one. In 2004 Dirang Moloi broke his sheen during practice; in the last preparatory practice before the national Under 20 in which he was captain left for the COSAFA games in South Africa. He missed the plane to SA, and just like the likes of Kagiso Tshelametsi, Michael Mogaladi and Mogogi Gabonamong who said were neglected after sustaining injuries on national duty, Zolo learnt the hard way.
“I have knocked on BFA and BNSC doors since 2004 and I have never received any help. I believe I’m entitled to a workman’s compensation that is why I registered the issue with the Obundsman,” he said.
Makolo who turns 27 this August has played and captained all the junior national teams and was a core member of David Bright’s Dream team. He captained most of the young players making the core of the Zebras at the moment; the likes of Noah Maposa, Musa Ohilwe, Dirang Moloi and Twizer Ramohibidu.
He was captain of the Under 23 side that made history defeating Cameroon 1-0 in the group stages of the Sasol 8 Nations tournament in 2007 in South Africa. The team then went to China where they won the Four Nations tournament.
“Sometimes I look at them and think I should be on the field with my boys. I know it will happen, I’m fit and ready to compete again,” he said.
His friend and former Under 23 teammate Dirang Moloi said Makolo would be a very valuable player for any team that he chooses to play for.
“He has gone through all the developmental structures and has played many international matches. He doesn’t even need to put any effort, he has the experience and knows what is needed to win a match,” said Moloi.
Moloi was adamant that the coming season will see the return of one of the most talented right-backs in the country.
“Trust me he is coming back. Players like him including myself are usually misunderstood. Coming from a township it is easy to get bad advice and influence but that does not make one a bad player overnight,” said Moloi without elaborating further.
GU caretaker coach Philemon Makhwengwe; the man who directly dealt with Makolo during his developmental stages showered praises on him or “my player” as he repeatedly referred to him.
“I have always believed he was one for the future. There are few defenders like him in the country, he is a soldier who needs no instructions from the coach,” said Makhwenge.
The BFA man likened Zolo to Pius Kgolagano, Jenamiso and Michael Mogaladi who are known for their hard tackles and no nonsense approach to matches.
“He is still young and can play up to the age of 36 as most defenders do,” he said.
Kgolagano also hailed Makolo’s abilities and revealed that he is one of the few defenders that he regularly had personal talks with.
“I could see potential in him. He is tough and fights until the last whistle. I rated him highly and still do and just pray that he comes back to competitive football,” said Kgolagano.