At six years of age, Tutume-born Kabelo Dambe lost mother, the very same woman she dedicated her awards to when he was named be Mobile Player of the Season last Saturday.
So soccer became his love, the affair that started as a 10-year old boy student at Monarch Primary School in Francistown, where he played his first ever-official competition at the then Voice Youth Cup.
Ten years down the line, Dambe beats the best to take home P100 000 in one weekend, in fact the richest Botswana ever got at soccer awards. He won the be Mobile Player of the season, Coke Cup goalkeeper of the season and the Players’ Player of the season. In this
Where did you first start your real official tournament and how was it?
As a standard-4 pupil in Francistown at Mornach Primary School I was a goalkeeper at the Voice Youth Cup. The following year I went to the regional competitions.
Why are you not in the Zebras camp right now? You were called, but didn’t pitch? Is it because of the overnight riches?
No, it is not about the money I won. I went for circumcised on Monday and am still healing. I had made a booking in April because I didn’t know about this camp, which was necessitated by Togo’s inclusion in our group. I only went to camp on Sunday and came out on Monday for the operation, which I think is going well.
When did your mum pass away and what made you dedicate the award to her?
I was six years old when she passed away. Together with my elder sister, my grandmother brought us up. My granny told me that whatever I win, it will be for her and not the old lady and I can’t agree more.
To be honest how many awards did you expect?
The goalkeeper of the Coke tournament I was sure of. At be Mobile I expected the Supporters’ one because a lot of people phoned me and said the had spent lots of money voting for me. When Edwin Moalosi won it I shifted focus and thought I will get the Players’ Player and as they say the rest is history. I did the unthinkable and won the big one.
What went through your mind when your name was called as the Player of the season?
I remembered my grandmothers’ words. She is a Christian and had been praying for me the whole season. She was always in touch with me every day before our games. I just thought she had seen it coming from the spiritual way.
What will you do with the money?
I have a plot in Francistown at Mornach location, which I was given by my grandmother. I will make a plan of developing it so that I have my own house. I will also sit down with family and discuss the way forward.
What did you teammates actually say to you after you won?
They really congratulated me, they were happy for me. The senior players like Pius Kolagano and Tebogo Mothusi had to remind me not to behave like bigger than them just because I have won. They advised me to remain levelheaded and not be over excited. They also told me to consult the family and se how they can help me put the money into good use.
What is the plan for next season now that you won everything?
I have raised the bar and it is really up there. I realise now that I have to work really hard. In Botswana we lack consistency and my aim is to break the circle and stay on top.
How will you sum the past season it up, was it really that difficult?
Eish! To tell you the truth, winning the championship is difficult and really tough. We were everybody’s target and each game was tough. We were determined and that’s how we managed to go through. It needs a lot of determination and discipline.
Was there a point you thought the league was gone?
Yes, when we lost 3-2 to Centre Chiefs. I told myself that it was all over and we were out of the race though we still were two-points ahead. I even told Joel Mogorosi and Itai Gwandu that, but they told me that if it was meant to be it was. So when Chiefs lost to ECCO and we won 7-0 against Motlakase, my hope was renewed.