The Joel in the crown
Harare – It has been an explosive year for Botswana international Joel Mogorosi, making his debut at the Africa Nation Cup final, getting married to his long-time sweetheart and lately, making huge waves in the South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL).
If things had gone according to plan, the big forward would have been plying his trade in the Zimbabwean Premier Soccer League with Zvishavane-based FC Platinum.
The Zimbabwean league ended on Sunday and Mogorosi would have completed the first six months of what was supposed to be a two-year contract with the country’s richest football club.
Mogorosi signed a US$60 000 transfer deal with FC Platinum from former club Mochudi Centre Chiefs in Botswana but never featured for the Zvishavane team, as he ended up signing for PSL side Bloemfontein Celtic in a deal worth around R3 million.
For that deal to go through, a compensation mechanism had to be worked out between Mochudi Centre Chiefs and FC Platinum, who now held the rights for the player but were never involved in the negotiations that took him to Celtic.
But all that controversy has now been pushed into the shade as Mogorosi’s star begins to shine brightly in Super Diski, to bring a fitting close to what has been an eventful year for the 28-year-old forward.
Known to his fans as ‘16V’, because of his pace, Mogorosi has become the ‘Mr Fix-It’ at Celtic, the striker that the team turns to when the going gets tough and, in two Telkom Knockout matches against Orlando Pirates and Free State Stars, he has responded in sensational style.
A beautiful overhead kick, with the last touch of the game, helped Celtic salvage a 3-3 draw against Pirates, in a game they had trailed 1-3 with minutes left on the clock, and incredibly, they went all the way to win the quarterfinal showdown on penalties.
Mogorosi had come in as a late substitute but justified his presence with an equaliser.
He then kept his cool during penalty shootout, as Celtic converted all their spot-kicks.
Celtic will face Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final on December 1.
Celtic went to lengths to secure Mogorosi, after FC Platinum had bullishly held on to their new acquisition, and it is good that the big Botswana international is beginning to justify that investment.
South African tabloid newspaper, Sowetan has ranked Mogorosi's transfer to Celtic as one of the Top 10 transfers in the Super Diski during the off-season.
“Reaching the final is a dream come true for all the players,” Mogorosi told KickOff.com.
“When I was brought on as a sub against Pirates, the coaches told me that if we can make it 3-2, Pirates would be under pressure.
That is what we did and it was great to beat them.
“The match against Stars was also tough because they came back strongly in the second half, but I was fortunate to score the winner.
“In the MTN8, we were knocked out in the first round, but I knew we have a chance of winning a trophy and that is my aim.
“Sundowns are a big club and though they are not doing well in the league, they are playing well in the Cup.
We can’t afford to take them for granted.”
Mogorosi also settled down, marrying his sweetheart, Naledi Pule, in August this year, after the couple had dated for seven years and the union produced a five-year-old son.
“I have been a committed boyfriend for a long time and know when to come back home, rest and have time for my son,” he told The Voice, a weekly Botswana newspaper.
“It is not easy for footballers to marry, mainly because of the nature of our career or for lack of finances, but I had to take this decision.”
It is unlikely that Mogorosi will worry, too much, about the state of his finances now, not when he is playing for Celtic and making such a big impact.
“We are trying to put the club on the map. We have a sleeping giant and I think the giant is starting to wake up,” Celtic assistant coach Bobbie Solomons told journalists after the win over Free State Stars.
“We have a lot of young players in the team and reaching the final will help instil confidence in them and belief in themselves that anything is possible.
''We showed character to overcome tough opponents like Stars and it shows we just have to be consistent in all departments.”
Mogorosi is also trying to put himself on the map after a two-year stay in Cyprus, playing for Paphos and Kinyras Peyias, did not really live up to expectations.