After writing his Cambridge examinations a few years ago, Seemo ‘Sixteen’ Mpatane grouped young footballers in Aerodrome where he grew up in Francistown and started a youthful unregistered football team with them. Now, at 26, the young man has made history, as the youngest coach to ever coach a club in the First Division League in the country. Sixteen, as he is known in football, is currently coaching the newly promoted Debswana North First Division (FDN) side Eleven Angels.
Speaking in an interview, Mpatane said he played football from primary to senior school as a midfielder and defender and after writing his Form Five exams, he formed a football team made of young players ranging from 11 and 15 years. He stated that it was a difficult thing to do because the players were students and parents were not letting some of them to play football as they believed it might negatively affect their studies. Mpatane continued to coach his team even when he was studying at Botswana Accountancy College in Francistown, and by that time, more young players from around Francistown had joined the team.
In 2013, Mpatane decided to register his team officially with Botswana Football Association (BFA), and that was when Eleven Angels were born. They started in Third Division league when they got position 1 and gained automatic promotion to Second Division league although it was only their first time to play there. Mpatane stated that at Second Division, they struggled because he had an inexperienced youthful squad, but they managed to avoid relegation as they settled for position nine.
The following season, they improved by finishing on position six, and in the 2016-17 season they improved once more by finishing in position four. In 2017-18 football season, he said the team won the Second Division League and qualified for the Debswana FDN playoffs. During the playoffs, the team represented Francistown region, against other three teams from other regions, namely Chobe United, Maun Terrors and White Diamond from Boteti region.
“The games were played on a point system and we managed to win all our games and got promoted to Debswana FDN,” he added.
Now, with the Debswana FDN league not far away from starting, he said he was more than ready to compete, more so that the team had no pressure as all they want is to avoid relegation. Mpatane understands that First Division football is likely to be more competitive when compared to the Second Division with teams such as Tafic, which had been just relegated from BTC Premiership last season, Sua Flamingos who recently lost in the play offs and failing to be promoted to BTC Premiership and the Palapye powerhouse Motlakase FC.
“I believe in my young players to produce positive results, and continuity has helped us a lot as the players understand each other well because they have played with each other for a long time now,” he said. He said he had spoken to the players not to be overexcited and work hard both mentally and physically, to get ready for the biggest task ever in their playing history that lies in front of them.
Currently, he is preparing to build a committee that will help in the running of Eleven Angels because he cannot manage to run the club alone. He said he and his committee would be running around in search of sponsors to help the team financially because they would need money for kits, transport, and other necessities. He said their doors were open to anyone who might want to help the team.
Mpatane also said he managed to groom and sell players to BTC Premiership teams when his team was playing in the Second Division, giving examples of Gofaone Mabayi who is currently playing for Orapa United and Molaodi Thalefang who was the top goal scorer at Black Forest last season. Furthermore, he added that one of his players, Thuso Monyama was once called for the senior national team camp by the then Zebras coach, Peter Butler in 2016.
He said he had a BFA Preliminary Certificate in coaching and FIFA Elite Youth coaching Certificate, which he obtained at Lekidi Football Centre. He said he was planning to do a Trade C coaching Certificate in the near future and others would follow suit. His dream, he said was to work with the national team.