Chiefs are champions in waiting
Centre Chiefs yet to lose a game this year
Mike Sithole has been downplaying Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ title hopes all season, but bookmakers are certain, the Kgatleng giants will dethrone Township Rollers this month.
Magosi have tightened their stranglehold of the Premier League race, with only four games to play and though it could be the same for Rollers and Orapa United, the title now could be theirs to lose.
The coming of ailing Satmos to Gaborone could be the crowning of the Kgatleng giants. Although the game will not be the title decider, Magosi understand fully that they need to stay in charge of their own destiny. However, should Chiefs lose to Satmos, they would have a bigger problem in Motlakase Power Dynamos who they will have to face next.
According to Sithole, the finishing line is still a long way off and a lot has still to be done. "Some people think that with four games to go, the finishing line is in sight, but every club will have difficult games between now and the end of the season. I only think of the next game. If we win that, I start thinking about the one afterwards. It is usually a mistake to look too far ahead, it gets too daunting, that is why you plan ahead in stages,” the coach said.
While Sithole is excited to be reaching the end of the season and being in sight of a possible first title for Chiefs in their second stint in trying, he was keen to emphasise that his main aim was consistency over a period. A title would mean everything, particularly to a player like Lemponye Tshireletso, who had practically given up hope of getting this close before leaving BDF XI, but Sithole would be disappointed if his side failsto match this season's standards in the years to come.
When defeating their premier league counter parts, especially this year, few anticipated that Chiefs would exercise such domination over them. The likes of Lesego Galenamotlhale and Wilboard Mutari maintained order from back in to midfield to establish a basis for control, although in some fixtures they did not have an academic or technical tone.
Sithole who has won premier league titles with GU has weighed up these foes and obviously concluded that there is no need to treat them with particular caution. This past Sunday, Maxwell Moyo‘s Orapa United were stretched and baffled by the movement of Chiefs.
In the aftermath of this occasion, it is should be recalled that Chiefs has defeated many teams and has not lost since the beginning of this year. They have widened the gap between them and Rollers to eight points. If anything, the opponents were less capable and still are in this encounter.
To Chiefs, the challengers in the premier league title have lost some of their former durability and now with two games of the last four remaining to draw the curtain, Satmos and Motlakase will be accorded the same brutality.
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It’s do or die for Zebras
The senior national team, the Zebras, is currently in Equatorial Guinea to for an African Cup of Nations Qualifiers tie. Before they departed, the team’s coach, Mogomotsi Mpote, had his troops train in Morocco. This was through the agreement between the two countries.
The agreement between the BFA and the Fédération Moroccan Football Association states that the two nations will work together to organize friendly matches between their respective national teams. It also allows the establishment of football camps for the youth categories (U-15, U-17, and U-20), this includes women’s national teams.
The national team has played over 180 minutes in its two qualifying matches against Tunisia and Libya. Currently, the Zebras, Lesotho and Liberia are the only teams that haven’t scored yet in the competition (this is correct by press time on Friday).
Before the match against Equatorial Guinea match, the local boys who were once known as the whipping boys of Africa in the early 2000s, were languishing at the bottom of the log standings in group J. They lost their first match away to Libya on June 1, 2022. However, they managed to salvage a point against Tunisia last year.
Before the team left for Equatorial Guinea, coach Mpote urged his players to focus on keeping their hopes of making a return trip to the AFCON finals alive after an 11 year absence since the maiden appearance in 2012. He noted that they would not allow their opponents to score and would ensure that they would get a draw.
Despite the various changes that have occurred in the two countries’ football landscape, the two teams have only met once before. In 2010, the local boys defeated the Equatorial Guinea team in a friendly match, which ended in an emphatic win for the visitors. Since then, the two sides have realised different fortunes in FIFA rankings, with Equatorial Guinea ranked 51 places above the Zebras.
Meanwhile, in their last six games, Guinea has only managed to win one of them. They drew with Rwanda and Togo in September 2022 friendlies. They have found the back of the net just twice in their six games. On the other hand, the Zebras, won one match against Zambia and lost four on their way to finishing at the bottom of the group with four points. At the conclusion of their previous AFCON campaign, the local boys traveled to Zambia and secured a draw.
Despite the recent results of the Guinean team, which have only managed to draw with Rwanda and Togo in their last six matches, coach Mpote is still confident that his team will perform well against the hosts.
According to the head coach, the local boys have the necessary skills and resources to perform well against any country. He noted that the team’s coaches have been studying abroad to gain a deeper understanding of the various aspects of football.
“Tactically they should also be ready. We need your (Botswana fans) usual support, when we come back from Equatorial Guinea, we will go to Francistown, and we will need you. You are our 12th player, and you are very important to us.”
OBED ITANI CHILUME STADIUM CERTIFIED
This week, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Tuelo Serufho revealed that the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium will host the return leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the local boys and Equatorial Guinea. The venue had initially failed an inspection test conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). However, following the completion of the necessary works, the stadium was allowed to host the match.
According to BNSC Chief, Tuelo Serufho, the various requirements that the stadium must meet included having a designated parking area for the media and spectators, as well as having signage that will guide the spectators. He also noted that the venue now has a world-class media area.
Jagdish Shah rejects Rollers society
Township Rollers, one of the country’s most decorated football clubs with 15 premier league titles, is finding itself in a precarious situation as its long-term chief financier, Jagdish Shah, threatens to dump them if the society does not bow down to his demand of forfeiting their 20 percent interest in the company.
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Orange injects P350 000 into Phikwe marathon
Mobile network Orange Botswana is committed to supporting the development of local sport. Through its sponsorship, the company will be able to promote and market the sport. According to Maano Masisi, the company believes that sport can unite people from different backgrounds.
He stated that through the sponsorship of the marathon, the company will help promote healthy lifestyles and unity among the people of Selebi Phikwe.
The Selebi Phikwe Marathon is scheduled to take place on July 29, 2023. It is expected that it will attract international, regional, and social runners. A total of P216 000 has been allocated for the prize money for the first ten places in the 42.2 km race. For the 15km and 10km races, the LOC will give away prizes to the first five places.