Saturday, September 19, 2020

Battle to survive relegation heats up

As the relegation battle in the Mascom Premier League intensifies, eyes are on six teams which are on the brink of relegation. Comets are almost written off and only a miracle can save them. The question in the minds of many is who exactly is going to accompany them.

Teams like Gunners, Mogoditshane Fighters, BMC, Nico United, Tasc and Notwane are firm candidates. It would, however, be bad news for the Peleng outfit Gunners if they are finally relegated.

On the other hand Gunners stand a better chance of surviving because of all other candidates, they have played lesser games. Although what matters the most in football is the results, Gunners have been playing the most entertaining football in the Premier League and their problem has been scoring goals.

During the last transfer window, Gunners only reinforced in the midfield and forgot the defence and the striking department. It would be a big blow for not only Lobatse but for the Botswana soccer fraternity as if Gunners finally succumb to relegation. They are one of the big teams in terms of following and have been helping other teams with a lot of money from gate takings.

For the benefit of football, Gunners do not deserve to be relegated but on the other hand it would also be a wake up call to the team management because the relegation axe has been hovering over their heads for more than ten years now.
In the last stages of the league, where it is do or die, most teams are results oriented and would do anything in their power to survive and not worry about entertaining others.

Another team that is surprisingly in the relegation zone is BMC. BMC have all the cream of Botswana football and the reason they are in the relegation zone is a mystery. Most of their players were doing duty for the national Under 23 that last year took the world by a storm.

Those players are lethal left back, Mosimanegape Ramohibidu, Tumisang Sekanonyane and anchorman Bobo Motlhalane. BMC also have another enterprising player in the national Under 20, Pako Lekgari. Stalwart defender, Alex Matshameko, who, at one time, wore the Zebras colours, is also doing duty for BMC.

The team also has experienced players in the likes of Phenyo ‘Bunene’ Ditsile, Shepard Mosekgwa Modise ‘Ten Ten’ Motswadi, Kenanao ‘Floh’ Kgetholetsile and excellent goalie, Cosmos Lombala.
Upfront, they have a man who once graced Greek football, Senzo Moyo.

Once they put their act together and utilise the talent they have at their disposal, BMC can avoid the chop. If the relegation axe can finally be wielded on them, they might lose more than half of the team to other Premier League teams who, for some time, have been hovering over many players.

Nico United, on the other hand, is another team that has since rediscovered its winning formula. Although they were losing by wide margins before, all along they have also been playing good carpet football. Tragedy has since befallen the Selibe-Phikwe outfit following injuries sustained by their eight players in a car accident. It would not be good news for soccer supporters in and around Selibe-Phikwe if Nico goes down.

Currently, they are the only team in Selibe Phikwe and there is no guarantee that another Phikwe outfit in the First Division, FC Satmos, will make it into the Premier League next season.

Teams in Selibe Phikwe kind of act as balances of power and offer the much desired spread of soccer in other parts of the country outside Gaborone and Francistown.

Majombolo, as Nico are affectionately called, do not deserve to go down. Some people in the soccer fraternity say Notwane are their own enemies if they get relegated because they are more into team building than being results orientated.

Notwane have made it clear that any achievement would be a bonus and are more into grooming youngsters, but that somehow seems to be backfiring on the team because they have even lost some of the games they could have easily won.
The teams that, relegated or not, have less effect on local football are Mogoditshane Fighters and Tasc.

Fighters seem not to be learning a valuable lesson and are repeating the same mistake time and again. Just two seasons ago, they were in the Premier League and were relegated in the last season. This season, they seem to be, once again, going back to the dusty First Division. Once the darlings of the Premier League and winning many medals on offer, they are now a shadow of their former selves.

From the onset, when the Premier League started this season, Fighters did not show commitment to stay in the premier league. Several of their players have been with the team for a very long time and understand everything about the team. Players like Barney Marman, Masego Nchingane, Boiki Mothibi and Charles Mositwane have been with the team for some time now and it seems they are not using their experience to assist the team.

The departures of Mokhathi Mokgathi and Ernest Amos from Tasc to BDF XI seem to be the main reason the team is sinking deeper into the relegation zone day by day.

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