The Zebras’ elimination at the group stages of the 2012 African Nations Cup (AFCON) saw them arriving back in the country on Friday morning. This means that the attention now reverts to the be MOBILE Premier League, which has been on a break for close to two months. With the Premier League secretariat having announced that the league will resume on February 17, Sunday Standard reporter TSHEPO MOLWANE visits the camps of the top eight teams in the league to check how they have been preparing.
Mochudi Centre Chiefs
When the league went on recess on December 11, Magosi were blazing hot. Chiefs have managed to pick 41 points out of the possible 48. After a quiet start to the new year, Chiefs have been involved in friendly games to sharpen up for the league. They are involved in a four-team tournament which comes to an end at SSKB Stadium in Mogoditshane this afternoon. Their trip to Sudan seems to have fallen by the wayside. It will be interesting to see how Magosi play without their hitman Joel ‘16′ Mogorosi who is carrying an injury. With or without Mogorosi, Chiefs still look dangerous. The only weak department for Magosi is the goalkeeping area where Mompoloki Sephekolo is the only recognized custodian.
Players In; Bophelo Kealeboga (development), Godfrey Ngele (BMC), Emmanuel Thabaki (Kumusha FC), Sekgabo Molebatsi (Flamengo Santos), Lame Tladinyana (Police XI, loan), Mosimanegape Ramhago (Gaborone United, loan), Thato Ramatebele (Gaborone United, loan).
They have surprised almost everyone by their performance so far in the season. Under the tutelage of Chicco Nare, BMC have become a household name in Botswana football. They have signed a number of quality players at the start of the campaign. In the just ended transfer window, they once again went all out to bring in quality players to their squad. Ezinkomo are in Zimbabwe this weekend to play two friendly games against FC Platinum and Highlanders. They will arrive back in the country tomorrow. Without doubt, Ezinkomo are contending for the league honours if they do not falter along the way.
Players In; Botlhe Moralo (Notwane), Hendrick Moyo (Extension Gunners), Kago Segokgo (Tlokweng United), Mandlaenkosi Sibanda (ECCO City Greens).
The Reds were firm favourites to win the title when the league started in August. Midway through the season, GU has not convinced many commentators with their performances. Even coach Elvis Chiweshe has not stamped his authority to show his quality though he comes from a club with rich history in Zimbabwe, Dynamos FC. Last weekend, GU travelled to South Africa where they played two friendly games against Moroka Swallows and Pretoria University. GU decided to rest their players this weekend as most of them are carrying slight knocks from the South African trip.
Players In; Kgololo Leteane (Extension Gunners), Makundika Sakala (ZANACO FC, Zambia), Sageby Sandaka (BMC), Pako Moloi (Notwane).
The league champions have failed to come to the party this season. Their off-the field problems dominated their season than the good things on the field. Maybe after the two months break, they will perform better to the appreciation of their supporters. If those close to Rollers manage to focus on the job at hand, there is no doubt that they can win the league for the third time in a row.
Players In; Agisanyang Ramaabya (Notwane), Goaba Moreetsi (Pilikwe United), Gofaone Moreba (Peace Makers), Tebogo Sembowa (Notwane), Tshireletso Salefoma (Tonota FC), Tuelo Motaung (TAFIC), Lighton Kasalota (unattached, Zambia).
If there is a team which appreciated the two months break due to the Africa Cup of Nations, it has to be Majombolo. After a brilliant start to the camp, making headlines, the wheels came off. Their squad has what it takes to challenge for titles depending on whether or not they believe in themselves.
Players In; Kagiso Tutuwe (FC Satmos), Moses Pelaelo (Miscellaneous), Letsatle Letsatle (Nico United, loan).
ECCO City Greens
Before the league went for recess, Mamoja-diski were on and off. They are a good side and on a good day can play beautiful football. The league championship is way beyond their reach this season. All they can do is to fight for a top eight finish. It will be interesting to see how the departure of Mandlaenkosi Sibanda would affect them though he was not a regular under coach Chris Tembo. The Zambian gaffer seems to have faith in the young talent as he has promoted four youngsters from their development side. Whether he will give them a chance in the remaining fixtures is another story.
Players In; Audreen Chisiyanwa (development), Gontse Maphane (development), Liwanika Ntwaetsile (Combining Stars), Lovemore Murwirwa (BMC), Osupile Osupile (Nico United), Moagi Sechele (development), Otsetswe Otukile (development).
Matebele have been busy preparing for the remainder of the season. They had a week-long camp in Pandamatenga where they managed to play friendly games in Panda and Kasane. This weekend, the army side is hosting a four-team tournament at their base in Mogoditshane. BDF XI have been boosted by the arrival of their assistant Letang Kgengwenyane who has been attending military course in Lobatse. Those inside Matebele camp believe that with the squad they have, the army side can push for honours this season.
Players In; Isaac Paeye (Miscellaneous), Ndana Moatlhodi (TAFIC), Saukani Zulu (Motlkase), Letsweletse Seane (Flamengo Santos).
Uniao Flamengo Santos
When the season kicked off, many people were already writing their obituary after they lost most of their key players. As expected, Santos kicked off slowly to an extent that their supporters were calling for coach George Mogopodi’s head. Along the campaign, things started to get better. They are currently occupying the eighth spot in the league. The break surely has given Mogopodi and his team a chance to rebuild for the remainder of the season.
Players In; Bobby Mathe (Township Rollers, loan), Kgosietsile Senjoba (Gaborone United), Matthews Moruti (Maletamotse), Arnold Bonang (Mochudi Centre Chiefs, loan), Mpho Ramagonono (Mochudi Centre Chiefs, loan), Arnold Mampori (development).