Ernest: Guardian of the goal posts

With a love for football from a tender age, Ernest Mohale is a regular match commentator at Botlokwa.

LIMPOPO – Although he could not pursue the game he claims to breathe, eat, drink, dream and sleep at the highest echelons of professional leagues, he still plays an integral role as a match commentator.

Mohale grew up in Sekonye village at Botlokwa, and vividly remembers how, as a four-year-old, he would accompany his father, who was owner-cum-coach of the Tembisa-based outfit, Mighty Swallows.

“At that tender age, I was my father’s tail. Whenever there was a football match involving his team, I was there. It was because of the love of the game my elders had for football, that it became my way of life.”

His introduction to the game of millions sounds somewhat hilarious but nevertheless inspiring.

Mohale reminisces of the days he was tasked to look after the playing kit, and to sprinkle salt into soccer boots prior to kickoff.

“Those are some of the fondest memories of my childhood,” he recalls. “Spraying salt onto those boots would reduce the effect of any muti if the opponents were using evil traditional medicine. Most clubs in the past, and some nowadays, still use this method.”

In 1983 at the age of seven, he became a regular feature at Mighty Blues. “I joined the team alongside my brothers Adia and Maphoto. At the age of 12, I joined the senior team, but would be given lighter exercises during training sessions, playing central defense.”

The robust defender, nicknamed Wire, prematurely sustained an injury that cut short his playing career.

In 1993 he joined Botlokwa Football Association as a referee: the youngest match official of that era.

At the beginning of the millennium, Mohale began his stint as a coach for his childhood side until 2003, the same year he was recruited by Dikgading Young Killers to coach their ladies team, who were campaigning in the Vodacom League.

“That was the beginning of bigger things to come. During the 2005/06 season, I joined Highlanders in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, campaigning in the men’s Vodacom League. Later in 2007, I joined Winners Park, who were campaigning in the Mvela Golden League, as assistant coach. It was in 2009 that I took up my current job at PAX College as coach.” he recalls as he takes a trip down memory lane.

“The most interesting story of my journey has been my role as a match commentator. I started commentating while I was still at Kgwadu Primary school. I used to do it using rocks, a small ball and wool. I was inspired by commentators on radio and TV. and I intend to make it big in the broadcasting media.”

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Moyahabo Mabeba

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