Thursday, July 18, 2024

Africa adventure beckons for Centre Chiefs and GU

Premier League giants, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gaborone United will be the hopes of Batswana for this year’s Africa Club Competitions. Centre Chiefs will lock horns with Zimbabwean champions, Dynamos in the African champions League while GU will be up against South Africa side, Super Sport United in the CAF Confederations.

The matches will be played in the first week of February and how these two local teams will fare remains to be seen. Interestingly both GU and Chiefs are not new in Africa.

Chiefs started seriously competing last year while Chiefs have been active for the past few years. After refusing to participate in the African competitions for some time citing financial challenges, Chiefs last year ended up playing and started with Mozambican side Muculmana.

Chiefs progressed to the next stage where they played African giants and even former champions, TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Playing against the DRC side that boasted of the best African players on the continent was a baptism of fire and an eye opener for Centre Chiefs. Chiefs lost by a solitary goal at home before conceding six in the return leg in Lubumbashi.

Chiefs face the same prospect as last year because Dynamos are also one of the strong African sides that even at one stage reached the finals. Dynamos, also known as De-Mbare, prides itself as the best export of Zimbabwean talent especially to the South African Premier League.

The team has even the vocal and loyal, support who always go with the team especially in Southern Africa. Dynamos’ also played GU about four years ago and humiliated the latter 4-1 in Zimbabwe before losing just by a solo goal at UB stadium.

Chiefs on the other hand are playing Dynamos at a time they are experiencing a rough patch. They have since parted ways with their longtime assistant coach, Innocent Morapedi, and even some of their best players like Tshepo Motlhabankwe, Kago Mfila and Amos Godirwang.

It is Motlhahabankwe and Godirawanag who are the biggest losses to the team because of their vast African experience. Motlhahbankwe is a senior national team veteran while Godiwang also played for a long time at the youth national teams were he was a pillar.

Even the team spokes person, Clifford Mogomotsi, made it clear that losing players with vast international experience is painful and they would not easily replace them.

Gaborone United on the other hand have vast experience playing in Africa. Their coach, Major David Bright is also an experienced international coach stemming from national junior teams, senior national team and even his time at Mogoditshane Fighters. He also remains one of the few local coaches to coach in an elite professional league.

It would not be surprising if GU pulls a surprise win against Supersport United. They did the same against African finalists Orlando Pirates against all odds. That was also about four years back then under coach Manfred Chabenga. After playing to a goalles draw people just thought it would just be a walk in the park for Pirates.

Pirates started well and scored two quick goals. When people just thought Pirates were riding on a wave of a crest GU in turn scored two quick goals and won by away goals.

Supersport should then be wary of GU that also wants to make a name for themselves in Africa.
Supersport have played in Botswana before, way back in 1995 when they were still known as Pretoria City against Notwane. They thrashed Notwane by an aggregate of 5-1, winning 3-0 in Gaborone and 2-1 at home. Supersport on the other hand have a local player in their books, being Mogogi Gabonamong who has been a pillar of the team for afew years now.


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