Daniel ‘Chico’ Nare is a sentimental man. The BMC FC coach gets emotional everytime he is confronted with the thought of facing and beating his beloved Extension Gunners in any premiership competition.
For Nare, facing Gunners brings back a lot of fond memories having played for the team fresh out of Lobatse Secondary School. The flamboyant coach would go on to coach the Peleng side for five years before joining cross-town rivals BMC FC. On Saturday, Nare once again has to deal with facing his old club that has of late fared badly in the league. The old Lobatse derby, which takes place at the New Lobatse Stadium, will showcase a revamped BMC side that includes the likes of Benedict Vilakazi, Tshepo ‘Talk talk’ Motlhabankwe, and Amos Godirwang.
These experienced players are bound to give Mike Sithole’s charges a difficult time. Nare, who has had a busy transfer window so far, said he was currently busy with intense physical training. With new players coming into the team, the coach said he was also working on combinations so the team plays as a unit on Saturday. Nare played down the hype of the game being a derby, arguing that supporters were not attending games in large numbers anymore. He said although Gunners have been on a losing streak lately, it would be foolhardy to take them lightly. “The game will not be a walk in the park, we can only tell who wins or loses after 90 minutes,” Nare said.
For his part, Gunners’ mentor Mike ‘Dubula’ Sithole said there was a lot of activity within his team as they prepare for the weekend game and engaging in transfer window activities. He confirmed there were players “coming in and out of the team.” On the Saturday game, he said the players were motivated as they want to turn a new leaf. “Everyone in the team will be fighting in all our remaining games of the season. The boys know that there is a lot of work to do,” Sithole said, adding that Gunners supporters should come in sizable numbers to play the role of the 12th man.
Sithole has added experienced defender Musa Ohilwe to his side and believes he has a decent midfield and defence although acknowledging he also needs to beef up the strike force and the goal-keeping department.
Commenting on the game, former Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ assistant coach Innocent Morapedi said the Lobatse derby games always mean a lot in Lobatse supporters. “The derby is a fight for every street corner, Chinese shop and even the Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital in Lobatse,” he said, adding that Gunners have a lot of work to do as they are languishing at the bottom of the log standings.
However, the national under 20 team coach thinks players from both teams will not perform at their peak because of the festive season break. Meanwhile, second-placed Gaborone United will face log leaders BDF XI in another mouth-watering fixture at the SSKB Stadium. In this battle, Morapedi sees BDF XI as the team to beat since they are currently on pole position to win the league.
“Teams that end up winning the league have between 35 and 40 points when the league’s second round begins. This is a good position to be,” he said. According to Morapedi, BDF XI have a lot to play for, as a win for them will increase the gap between themselves and their rivals who might falter in their games. Second-placed Township Rollers visit a stubborn Orapa United at the Itekeng Stadium on Saturday, while third-placed Chiefs play an unpredictable UF Santos at the SSKB Stadium on Sunday.