Monday, September 28, 2020

Battling Matebele is down but not out

When the current league season kicked off in August, BDF XI under the new management committee, led by Boikanyo Addanes, vowed to fight for the league championship.

Their intentions seemed to be real when they outclassed Mochudi Centre Chiefs in their second league game of the season. It was a win which raised eyebrows, considering that Chiefs were in a riot mood the previous weekend beating national champions Township Rollers 5-2. Matebele under the tutelage of new gaffer, Nelson ‘Sarafina’ Setshwane, dished out good football which reminded many of the old days when Boikaego ‘Lodger’ Modise, Christopher Mbaakanyi, Ogopotse ‘OG’ Godirwang, Shakes Buisanyang and Mmoloki ‘Zara’ Ramanoko used to mesmerize the opposition.

Those were the days when BDF XI supporters used to attend their games without fear. The brilliance which Matebele showed at the start of this campaign started to fade away as the army side continued to show cracks in their defence. Opponents took advantage of the sloppy army side and eventually they were kicked out of the top four bracket. Their ambitions of winning the league were thrown outside the window as Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Township Rollers and BMC continued to fight for the Million-Pula first-prize.

When Miscellaneous left the army barracks with maximum points on Saturday afternoon, those close to BDF XI faced reality. They were 25 points behind log leaders Chiefs with nine games to go.
Going into this afternoon’s clash against Mogoditshane Fighters at SSKB Stadium, BDF XI were sixth on the log with 32 points. For Matebele, it is time to count their losses and build for the future. Even chairman Addanes admits that things have not gone according to their plan but he is not giving up. He believes that the squad he has can be serious league contenders next season with proper guidance.

“There have been some hiccups along the way which were unintended. We were seriously affected when the coach (Setshwane) attended some courses which kept him away from the team for a long time. It was even made worse that even our assistant (Letang Kgengwenyane) was not there. This affected our planning, hence we dropped so many points. The situation has taught us a lesson and we’ll guard against that in the future,” said Addanes. He added that after bringing in some new players at the start of the season, their play affected in the absence of the technical team. He pointed out that even the mentality of their players has to change when it comes to the opposition. This season, BDF XI have beaten local giants like Chiefs, Rollers, Gaborone United, Extension Gunners and BMC but struggled against smaller opposition.

“We cannot allow this situation to happen and there is a need to address our players. They (players) must retreat every team with the respect they deserve if we want to win the league. There is no point of beating Rollers and Chiefs and then we come to lose points against smaller sides,” he lamented.

Addanes pointed out that he cannot blame anyone for their current predicament. He said that they need to focus on the Coca-Cola Cup and Mascom Top 8 because they can still salvage something before the season ends. BDF XI have been drawn against Rollers in the two-legged Mascom Top 8 quarterfinals.

“We’ve played Rollers before and we know what to expect from them. I have no doubt that we can still beat them,” he added.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.