The notion that behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining was confirmed at Green Lovers when the Serowe side played Mahalapye’s BR Highlanders at the Serowe Sport Complex.
The dark cloud that befell the premier league rookies came in the form of their former prolific goal scorer Moatlhodi Ralesotla dumping them last December for Gaborone United. There were immediate concerns in the green half of Serowe that their club was going to run dry of goals, but this past weekend, their midfielder Tumo Keiketlile raised his hand to fill the void left by Ralesotla.
The player produced a man-of-the-match performance that saw his side eventually score three goals produced from his individual brilliance to help his side finish the match with a 3-all draw. Green Lovers head coach Onthusitse Chips Keotswele could not hide his excitement at Keiketlile’s performance as he scored two goals and created the other to make Lovers’ followers quickly forget about their previous source of goals.
The coach was full of praise for Keiketlile whom he conceded had spent months of being overshadowed by the league’s current top goal scorer, Ralesotla. The new hero in town came out of his shell and scored two goals either side of an assist he laid off for Matthews Moruti who scored Lovers’ second goal. The only blot in Keiketlile’s scintillating performance on the afternoon was when his side conceded two penalties with full time fast approaching.
He had brought the tie to life as early as in the 8th minute when he connected with a loose ball in the box and riffled home a stunner into the roof of the net for the opener. He could have completed his brace 90 seconds later when Moruti pickpocketed Highlanders’ Temo Keorileng for possession and released him clear on goal, but Keiketlile’s shot was diverted wide by advancing opposition keeper Kabo Ntswaneng.
Tumo continued to be a menace for Highlanders’ back four as he burst into the 18-yard area in slicing pace and pinpointed Moruti with a sublime cross from which the latter scored Lovers’ second goal midway through the first half. It was a half in which Keiketlile’s influence on Lovers’ overall performance was evident, leaving Lebitso Ratlou’s Highlanders disjointed and out of sorts.
Keiketlile took his pass mastery into the second half as he continued to toy with BR full back Gofamodimo Samuel. He created glorious chances for some wasteful teammates. Eventually Highlanders scored after 64 minutes, but Keiketlile was at it again with what was supposed to be an assurance goal only eight minutes from full time. Substitute Keaoleboga Dipogiso spotted Keiketlie with a neat short pass and he calmly beat Ntswaneng at the near post to make it 3-1. Just when Lovers thought the points were wrapped, referee Keabetswe Dintwa awarded Highlanders two penalties in less than two minutes, both of which were successfully converted by Highlanders’ defender Leteng Legopelo to tie the match at 3-3.
Although frustrated by the result, Lovers’ coach Kootswele was happy with Keiketlile’s performance, saying the player had potential to get even better. “That’s the Tumo we know, that’s his play. He is still going to play like this and score more goals”, he told BG Sport.
Keiketlile also expressed delight at the way he applied himself, especially after weeks of inactivity. “I am happy with the way we played as a team and I’m also happy with the goals I scored. We tried our other players because we just lost an important striker (Ralesotla) and we showed what we can do here today”, he said.