Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Are Eleven Angels ready to conquer Magosi?

On Sunday, the youthful Eleven Angels FC will fly south to take on the high riding Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the first of a two-legged promotional play off matches.

For Eleven Angels, this will be the first time they play in such an all-stakes match. The youthful Francistown side however is seemingly unperturbed at the prospect of facing the much-experienced Magosi, as Chiefs is affectionately called.

Speaking to this publication, Eleven Angels Public Relations Officer (PRO), Trevor Maila, said his team will go into the encounter with absolutely no pressure and will give the play-offs their best shot.

“Everybody is looking forward to this encounter and experience,” Maila said when talking of the mood within his camp. “This is a big step for us but we are ready for it,” he added.

According to the Eleven Angels PRO, the youthful side will go into the weekend fixture against Chiefs with no pressure and will be seeking to just enjoy the game.

“At this stage, we are underdogs and are the least experienced. This gives us a room and space to play our game without pressure. We have nothing to lose,” he explained.

On the other side, Maila said as the most experienced side with an illustrious history, Chiefs will go into the weekend encounter under immense pressure to gain promotion.

Regarding his team’s readiness for the elite league, the Eleven Angels PRO said the boys ‘have always been ready.’ “If you look at our team, it has always been competitive in each division it got promoted to.”

“When we won promotion in 2018, our squad age averaged 22 years and our coach was 26 years old. Despite that, we still finished in the top four in our debut season and have not finished outside the top four in the first division ever since promotion.”

“We still have a relatively young team as we take players from our youth structures. Be as it may, we have always been competitive and resilient and this was evident during the course of this season,” he added.

“When this season started, we had a bad start, losing our first six games. At the time, everybody said we would relegate. We then went on a 13 games unbeaten run and managed to finish strongly in the play-offs spot. This attests to our mental strength,” he explained. Now as Eleven Angels go to the play-offs, Maila said there will be nothing to fear.

For his part, Chiefs’ chairman Edwin Mothulatshipi is confident that backed by its vociferous supporters, his experienced team will conquer Angels and make its long-awaited return to the country’s elite.

He however said they will not take the inexperienced and youthful Eleven Angels for granted and will leave no stone unturned to get their players psyched up for the game.

“We are ready,” he said. “We are confident that we will be back in the Premier League and the boys are also looking forward to that. At the moment, we are trying to get the boys psychologically ready because this match will be more about psychological play,” he explained.

Mothulatshipi downplayed any concerns of pressure on Chiefs to gain promotion, saying ‘the team is under no pressure.’ “If there was any pressure, it was in our last three games of the season but we came through it. Now, we have no pressure and we are confident,” he said.

The Chiefs’ chairman said with the caliber of players at their disposal, they are oozing with confidence. He said the intention is to win both legs of the play-offs to qualify outright.

“Our supporters, our 12th man, are also ready for this game. We expect them to come in numbers for the game. When I met with them yesterday, they had made some new songs for the games as they want their team back in the elite league,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mothulatshipi said they are still awaiting to know the venue of the weekend’s clash against Eleven Angels. This follows the league’s notification t the teams that is looking into prospects of moving the game from Chiefs’ River Plate home ground as earlier planned to a new ground.

“As you know, the play-off game belongs to the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and the Debswana First Division League. They felt that given the great interest in the game and the multitudes expected, River Plate will not be big enough to accommodate it, hence the decision to move it,” he explained.

The winner of the two-legged encounter will get an opportunity to play in the elite Botswana Premier League (BPL) in the upcoming 2022 / 23 league season.


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