This time, our football journey takes us to Botswana, the Kgatleng District and into Mochudi itself, which isn’t too far away from the South-East district of Botswana, and it’s better known capital Gaborone. We chat to a Mochudi Centre Chiefs supporter named Polly Tladi, who is also a big fan of South Africa’s Orlando Pirates FC.
Umar Mathir (UM): Hi Polly, could you please introduce yourself to the readers?
Polly Tladi (PT): Hi Umar, and to all the readers of ThisIsFootball.Africa, I’m Polly Tladi, from a small village in the Southern part of Botswana called Morwa, which is just a few kilometres away from the capital city, Gaborone. Well, I’m somebody who likes football, more especially African football.
UM: What goes through your mind when the CAF Super League, intended to be launched in 2023 is mentioned, are you for or against this idea?
PT: I’m against it as I feel it will only enrich already super rich clubs, while the others will be sidelined.
UM: Your thoughts about VAR?
PT: I think it’s very much needed.
UM: “Polly Tladi, supporters of Mochudi Centre Chiefs, the third biggest club soccer team in Botswana,” (grinning) is this statement true? If not, what is wrong with it?
PT: (Laughing) Yes, it’s a truthful statement.
UM: It must have been devastating for a well supported club team, relatively successful in the past few decades, to have been relegated. How did you take it when Mochudi Centre Chiefs went down?
PT: Obviously I was disappointed, but again, due to the way the team was performing in the Botswana Premier League (BPL) prior to being relegated, I already believed it was bound to happen. Fortunately even though the League has just begun, I am much happier now as we won the very first game 5 – 2.
UM: Which is the biggest club football game in the BPL. Township Rollers FC vs Gaborone United or Mochudi Centre Chiefs vs Township Rollers or Gaborone United vs Mochudi Centre Chiefs?
PT: I believe it’s Mochudi Centre Chiefs vs Township Rollers, there is a real rivalry there. The atmosphere is always out of this world.
When the last Gaborone Derby took place (Prior to the one set for the 26th of November 2022), there was a decent crowd, however, the game took place at a small stadium and people pushed and broke the gates there.
Luckily the security at games is good enough, but there’s still much more room for improvement when it comes to crowd management and so on.
UM: On average, how much do you spend to watch a live league match in Botswana, at the stadium you frequent the most?
PT: Roughly around P100 – P150 (Botswana Pula, which amounts to around R130 – R200 approximately). They sell everything you need at the stadium but it has become expensive all over now.
UM: How much would a Centre Chiefs jersey cost me in Botswana and how does this compare to a Rollers or any other club team jersey?
PT: They cost around P250 – P300 (R330 – R400 approximately). The Township Rollers ones are more expensive, I believe it’s because of their jersey sponsor (Umbro) being an international brand.
UM: If you as a Centre Chiefs supporter had to ask me to come and watch the team playing live in Botswana, you can’t be expecting me to come so far, just to watch the game and go, what else would there be for me to do there, and what about attractions in Mochudi?
PT: Okay, let’s start with Gaborone, there’s a lion park and game reserve where you can go to rest your mind. In Mochudi, there’s the Phuthadikobo Museum, there’s also dikhoma or dikhwaere, where people sing and dance to Bakgatla songs.
UM: Tell us about the Phuthadikobo Museum?
PT: Bakgatla culture is preserved there, you can go there to learn about digosi (Chiefs of Botswana).
UM: We believe that there are magnificent hotels and lodges to stay at , in and around Mochudi itself too?
PT: Only lodges and guesthouses, the hotels are in Gaborone.
UM: Back to football, how much does a Premier League ticket cost in Botswana, is this price the same for all other matches, and what about cup games?
PT: They range between P20 – P30, a standard price for all games. The problem is that, less than a thousand fans come per match, in fact it just hundreds
UM: There was a time when Kaizer Chiefs went into your country, and it was the talk of the town. Would the same happen if Orlando Pirates FC had to come and play a match there, what do you think would happen?
PT: Pirates once came here to play against Gaborone United, and got eliminated by our countrymen. It was the same as when Kaizer Chiefs came over, mind you Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns from your country, South Africa, have official supporter branches here.
UM: Talking about Orlando Pirates FC of South Africa, you’re also a huge fan of the Mighty Buccaneers, from where do you get your Pirates jerseys and at what price?
PT: Yes I am a Pirates fan , I usually get my jerseys at sports shops like Studio 88, JB sports, or I get them via the Orlando Pirates FC online store. They courier to Botswana and other countries too. Here locally, they sell at around P800 or more (R1000 upwards)
UM: How do you watch Pirates playing, from Botswana and what about all other PSL matches? How does the PSL coverage compare against the coverage of the local Botswana Premier League?
PT: We have DSTV, so definitely we have coverage of the South African Premier Soccer League matches here, people here love PSL more than anything else.
UM: Before we let you go, relate to us, any weird incident that you may have experienced or about heard about?
PT: There was this one incident, whereby a player slapped another player, after he had been called a “Kwerekwere.” Here in Botswana people have this tendency of calling other African people Kwerekwere.
They are selective (Laughing) about who they call by that ‘name.’
Locals here don’t call South Africans or people from Lesotho that, and I think it might have something to do with the shade of one’s skin colour, but I don’t know for sure myself.
UM: Horrible behaviour indeed, Polly, thanks for taking the time out to chat to us.
PT: Thanks to the TIFA team for considering me for an interview.
Also Read: Talking Zambian, CAF, CECAFA and ASL with Faith Kaira