Q. He is the most decorated football player to have come out of this country, but despite this Diphetogo “Dipsy” Selolwane remains as humble as ever.
The Zebras all time -leading goal scorer who started his career at Gaborone United is now an icon in both Botswana and South Africa.
After playing college soccer at St. Louis University and being named first-team All-American in 2001, Selolwane was drafted 36th overall in the 2002 MLS Superdraft by the Chicago Fire.
Hewas traded to Real Salt Lake after the 2004 MLS season and returned to Africa during the 2005 season.
He has played for both CapeTown Santos, Jomo Cosmos, Ajax CapeTown, Super Sport and is currently plying his trade for Amatuks.
Capped 42 times with 11 goals for his country, the soft spoken Dipsy recently announced his retirement from national duty to focus on club football.
Voice Editor, EMANG BOKHUTLO recently caught up with him in Sandton, Johannesburg for an interview.
Q. How is life at University of Pretoria, your new team?
It’s refreshing for me in the sense that I have been in college and I have played college football in a similar kind of set up before, same kind of vibe.
The facilities are great, the coaching staff has been good so far, tactics have been on point, I guess that’s why we head the league .
Overall it’s been good!
Q. How is life in Pretoria, compared to Cape Town where you lived when you played for Santos and Ajax?
I am in Midrand but I love CapeTown more because it’s laid back and its got the beach. I guess it depends on what kind of lifestyle you are into.
I basically train, rest , go shopping and stay in doors. I am an indoors kind of person.
Q. Tell us what you miss about USA where you turned professional.
Thats a tricky question because some people might read into my answer differently but I love my country, I love Botswana, but you know the US gives you that freedom to be yourself and to be the best at whatever you put your mind at.
I miss that environment in America but you know home is home.
I love my beautiful county and I have big plans to eventually come back home and teach the youngsters what I have learnt throughout the years.
I have residence in South Africa so I am half South African but we all eventually have to return home.
Q. What happened in Denmark, you played there for six months?
Denmark was a chapter that was very difficult for me.
I put aside my studies to pursue that because I didn’t want to look back at my life and say I had an opportunity to play in Europe and I didn’t do it.
It was actually the hardest phase of my career.
The club I signed for was an OK club but when I got there, there were financial troubles , I didn’t have a good contract and they were bottom of the log.
I didn’t mind because I wanted to make a name for myself.
I guess that’s always the hope for us Africans when we go out there sometimes we have to start real low to go up.
It was good though in the sense of the experience that I got that, I learnt to develop a thick skin and survive.
It was a tough spell but worth it. We got relegated at the end of the season, I went back to the US, got injured and didn’t play for six months, which kind of stalled my career a little bit but I eventually came back to SA and joined Santos.
Q. You retired from Zebras after AFCON, don’t you miss the feeling with the boys? You played for nearly 15 years…
I definitely miss the buzz and the energy, but I I had to accept that as much as I’d like to be there and to help at that moment things were not conducive for me and that is why I decided to step back.
I felt I didn’t have the fire,the energy or the heart to do it anymore.
I felt maybe we would do it some other way, give it some time, think of new ways to help the team and help the players.
After 14 years I would have wanted to see tangible change in the administration but it didn’t quite happen that way.
Q. So you think in the past 14 years you have been with Zebras there hadn’t been been any significant change?
The tangible change was the qualification for Afcon. The team for once had 6 professional players which is why we qualified.
And for someone like me who has been there to see players come and go by far that was the most determined the team had ever been, the best mindset I had ever seen.
They believed that we were going to win regardless, we were going to do our best, we were not going to accept defeat.
For the first time the team had that and failure was not going to be acceptable.We had the best goalkeeper too I must say.
Q. A lot of football fans haven’t fully come to terms with the fact that you have retired from the national team. What do you say to people who harbour such sentiments taking into account that the team is not doing well at the moment?
I would love to tell them that I love them too, but a decision had to be made.
I really felt there was nothing more I could do or offer to the team under the circumstances.
The situation simply didn’t allow.
I get emotional, teary even when I think of incidents that led to that decision. Unfortunately that is all I can say for now without ruffling any feathers.
Q. There’s been clamour in some quarters for Stan to resign as coach for The Zebras, your comment.
Whether Stan goes or stays is not for me to say. There are decision makers at BFA, they must know what’s best for the team.
On the other hand Stan himself must be able to weigh his options and if he feels he still has a contribution to make then by all means he must stay.
Q. What do you want to do after football, you are 34 years of age surely your days as a player are numbered.
The career is beautiful but it’s short. My biggest fear is to be forgotten.
It’s amazing how quickly people back home forget those who made a significant contribution to fly the flag high up.
For example there’s Edwin Disang among many footballers that are currently forgotten and not celebrated.
I played with him. He was in the field when I scored the goal that made me the famous Dipsy that I am today but not many remember him.
There’s Kagiso Tshelametsi, there’s Phadza Butale and many many more who were talented.
Like I said I have lived my dream of playing at Afcon and now I have another dream, another plan for life after football.
My ideas are already in action and I expect everything to be set up before the end of the year and only then will I be able to speak freely about my plans.
Q. I hear you writing an autobiography, how far?
Oh that masterpiece! My mum would be the one to help me put it together.
She remembers stuff, like me telling her when I was young that I wanted to be the best footballer in the world.
Right now I have bits and pieces jotted down but when the time is right I’ll get down to writing it.
Q. Your benefit match is on hold, what happened?
It still has to happen and I am hoping to have it sooner than later.
It’s not about me, its bigger than me.
I want to change the tradition back home where our forerunners simply fade away.
We need to change such mentality. I also want to help the young and upcoming footballers. I don’t envy them , I am not jealous of them, instead I am genuinely happy for them.
That is the trait that I find lacking in many of us as Batswana, to be happy for each other instead of wanting to pull each other down and minimising each other’s successes.
I would like to help many more talented and upcoming young Batswana players get out and play for superior leagues out there where they can develop their careers and make a living from the game.
Q. What and who inspires you?
I did not become the Dipsy Selolwane that I am today all because of my sheer brilliance. There’s seniority in the game.
There are those who came before me.
Great footballers like Terence Mophuthing , Scara Kebalepile , Chandi Moruti and City Senne to name but a few who took us the younger ones under their wings when we played club football in Botswana and nurtured us.
To these football greats we should show respect.
Q. Who is your girlfriend?
I have had someone special in my life for two years now and when she feels the time is right I would love to marry her.
Q. How does a famous footballer like you spend their weekend in Mzansi?
Am I allowed to say I have a Philabao? Like I said I am an indoor kind of guy and because I miss Botswana so much I like to watch BTV. I like Flavourdome.
Q. Where do you go on holidays?
My favourite holiday destination is by far Maun. That place has a vibe like no other. It is also such a beautiful place. Makes me proud of my own country.
Q. What car do you drive?
A BMW and Iam not saying more than that
Q. Who are your football friends?
I have many friends in football and the best ones will know themselves (Laughs)