Sunday, April 11, 2021

Are local teams lacking midfield discipline?

This year’s Coca-Cola Cup saw the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) re-writing history books by winning the Cup for the first time in their history. BMC defeated Francistown based side Ecco City Green on penalties. The previous good record for BMC was in 1996 when they lost 2-0 to Township Rollers.

Ecco City Green also appeared in the finals for the first time and their previous good run was the semi-finals in 2003 when they lost 2-0 to Mogoditshane Fighters. What can, however, be noted from the teams’ road to this year’s finals is that they won most of their games through penalty shootouts. In the quarter finals ‘ezinkomo zia hlaba’, as BMC are affectionately called, had to defend until the penalty time then booted out firm favourites, Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Even in the semi-finals they had to force a one all draw against Notwane and ended wrapping it up on penalties before finishing it off against reigning Premier League champions Ecco City Green. Ecco City, on the other hand, had to defeat Rollers on penalties in the quarter finals before being defeated by BMC.

The situation is seen as a lack of midfield discipline by Prisons XI coach, Stanley Mwaanga. Mwaanga told Sunday Standard that most teams concentrate on defence and striking force and do little in the mid field.

“Most tournament games end up in penalty shootouts because most teams have strong defenders and strike forces but weaker midfield. This situation leads for teams not coordinating well and not scoring many goals as it should be. Teams need strong attacking midfielders that can help the strikers when going for attacks and even strong defensive midfielders that can help the defence during the times of siege. The midfield is an area that needs attention from us coaches so that we produce desired results,” he said.

Mwaanga also said the situation even impacts on the strikers adding that most teams end up hiring foreign strikers whose job would be solely for scoring.

He said the phenomenon of going for foreign strikers is, however, a world wide trend. Mwaanga congratulated local strikers for showing strong character during last season in which most of them topped the charts from the onset to the end. Strikers like Pontsho Moloi, Tshephiso Molwantwa, Mpho Mabogo, Malepa Bolelang, just to mention a few, were some of the outstanding local strikers. Previously it was foreign strikers who controlled the charts as they scored regularly.


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