Competition for honours in this season’s beMOBILE Premiership is expected to go up a notch this weekend with interesting duels scheduled for various stadia around the country.
Without a doubt, all eyes will be at the National Stadium where big spending Gaborone United welcome Extension Gunners in what is expected to be a cracker of a bout.
The East and West ends of the stadium are expected to be filled to the rafters as each side boasts a fan base loud enough to cheer their side to victory. Lying 7th and 8th on the league log table respectively, United and Gunners will battle it out with the intention of wrapping up Top 8 Cup qualification sooner than later. Mapantsula will go into the battle field buoyed by their 3-1 demolition of FC Satmos last Saturday.
The win underscored the belief amongst Gunners’ supporters that ever since Daniel Nare took over the reins from Oupa Kowa last year, the team has shown steady progress. The gunmen seem to have overcome their off-the-field issues which led to the resignation of former chairman Kitso Dlamini.
On the other hand, the Money Machine have been very active this transfer window. They will gun for maximum points to redeem themselves following last week’s 1-0 reverse at the hands of title hopefuls Orapa United. They have added the league’s leading marksman Moatlhodi Sissoko Ralesotla to their fold and he looks set to make his full debut this weekend if reports from the GU camp are anything to go by.
United were the first round’s most notable under-performers and they have already fired two coaches in the form of Rahman Gumbo and Dragojlo Stanojlovic. 26 points out of a possible 54 is not a good return for a football club with their financial muscle, and perhaps it is this weekend’s clash that can launch their real intentions. What more with their boosted squad. They have also brought in former Motlakase captain Botshelo Lerato whose experience could help Moyagoleele up the log. Kickoff is at 8pm on Saturday.
Another game which has a direct bearing on the Top 8 charge is the tie between BDF XI and Jwaneng Galaxy, timetabled to take place in Molepolole this Friday evening. Bestin Chambeshi’s soldiers recorded a hard-earned 1-0 victory when they dispatched Nico United in their last game and now they have to contend with a stubborn Galaxy side that brought Township Rollers down to earth with a scoreless draw last Sunday.
Galaxy are a only a point away from the Top 8 bracket and they could pose danger to the places of Nico and Gunners. Three points for BDF XI will mean more comfort for the force side, especially with fifth-placed Miscellaneous breathing down their necks .
In what will be a David versus Goliath fight, Rollers host relegation-haunted BR Highlanders at the Molepolole Sports Complex on Saturday. While Rollers would be hoping to humiliate the strugglers, Highlanders will hope for the unthinkable and pull off a surprise win.
The Mahalapye outfit have frustrated Rollers on many occasions since their promotion to the elite league. In the first round, Harrison and his charges left the Serowe Sports Complex with their heads down after Highlanders forced a 1-1 draw against despite playing with ten men. But since then things have changed and Stimela will find it tough to overcome a wounded Rollers army frustrated by Galaxy last week.
It was actually an interesting twist at the top of table when Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs were held by Galaxy and Sankoyo Bush Bucks respectively. The result was received with loud cheers at the mining town of Orapa as it meant the Ostriches pulled to a point adrift of the summit, at the same time widening the gap between them and third-placed Chiefs to 5 points.
Both Chiefs and Rollers played below par and the two coaches, Mike Sithole and Mark Harrsion were quick to blame the Christmas break for their teams’s lackluster performances. Rollers in particular were out of shape and the usual suspects Segolame Boy, Joel Mogorosi, Sekhana Koko, Carl Finnigan and Maano Ditshupo did not live up to expectations.
Champions Chiefs on the other hand will enter the lion’s den when they visit Gilport Lions at the Molepolole Sports Complex on Sunday. Chiefs’ supporters were not happy with the team’s showing in the first round and last week’s performance against Bush Bucks did not help the situation.
Gilport Lions on the other hand will still be licking their wounds after suffering the first loss of the year at the hands of Miscellaneous last week. The Lions have brought in the experience of Kenanao Flow Kgetholetsile to improve their attack options. The game against Magosi will be very important in that Gilport are only 7 points away from the relegation positions.
In Selebi Phukwe, high-flying Miscellaneous will be entertained by bottom-of-the-log FC Satmos. Satmos are dying a slow death and they will need some sort of miracle to escape the axe, let alone beat Miscellaneous. Miscellaneous took their form into the new year when they brushed off Gilport Lions 2-0 at home last Friday. Bogosi Mfila scored the first goal of 2016 before debutant Mponang Mponang put the game to bed with the second goal.
Mfila has been the unsung hero of this Tse Nala team and he has already scored 8 goals from the left wing. He told BG Sport that they will take each game as it comes as winning is very important to them. In other fixtures this Friday evening, Orapa United host Nico United at the Itekeng Stadium while Green Lovers and Motlakase Power Dynamos lock horns in Serowe. The Maun Sport Complex will host the tricky clash between Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Police XI.