Black Forest head coach, Martin Motswiri, is confident that his side still stands a better chance of getting promotion to the Premier League despite their 1-0 loss to Rolling Boys in a tightly-contested Debswana First Division South match which was played in front of a packed crowd at SSG Ground in Gaborone on Sunday afternoon.
The only goal of the game came at the death through Kabo ‘Fire ‘ Mathare whose shot from outside the box gave Forest’s goalkeeper Israel ‘Kilo’ Kealeboga with no chance.
Forest went into the weekend’s game top of the division but they have been demoted to the second spot after Letlapeng trounced Mochudi Buffaloes 3-0 on the same day.
The loss leaves Forest with 31 points on the second spot with five games to go. Letlapeng lead the pack with 33 points from the same number of games left. Rolling Boys are third with 29 points.
Despite the weekend’s slump, Motswiri believes that they can retain their position in the remaining games.
“We’ve got the pedigree to win the promotion and the loss to Rolling Boys should rather serve as a wake-up call. We’re going to push ourselves in the remaining games and hope for the best. The most important thing is that we’re under no pressure (to win the championship) unlike our opponents (Letlapeng and Rolling Boys),” said Motswiri.
Buoyed by their vociferous supporters, Forest took the game to their hosts from the start but they were kept at bay by the resolute Rolling Boys’ defence.
It was clear that Forest’s game plan was to gain maximum points but at times poor finishing proved to be their main downfall. The likes of Odirile Pitso, Gofaone Moreba and Matshelo Gakelape failed the team on the day. Even key striker Oaitse Sekgetse who came on in the second half failed to make any changes the scoreline.
“Rolling Boys are a strong side and we knew that we were not going to have an easy game. I asked my boys not to put themselves under pressure and it was unfortunate that lapse in concentration cost us the game. We were also not lethal in front of goal,” added Motswiri.
It was Forest’s skipper Mogomotsi Kerebotswe who shone for the visitors the whole afternoon. The former Township Rollers’ midfielder controlled the game with ease and won lots of praises from the supporters who were in attendance.
Matlhare who scored the important goal was held shoulder-high by his teammates at the end of the game.
“We needed to win this game at all costs to get back in the title race. I took a chance and fortunately it proved to be the winner. All we need to do in the remaining games is to keep fighting but we’ve got another tough battle against Letlapeng in the next game,” a delighted Mathare said.
Rolling Boys head coach, Kaelo ‘Wire’ Kaelo, summed up the game, “it was a tough game because Forest came up with a good game plan. They made life difficult for us and their intentions were clear that is to win the game. That is why they sent taller players into the box whenever they had corners.┬á Our persistence worked well for us in the end.”
Though they trail log leaders Letlapeng by four points, Kaelo was modest when quizzed about their promotion chances. “I don’t think we can win this league but if the two top teams (Letlapeng and Forest) falter then we’re in with a chance,” said Kaelo who dashed into the field at the final whistle to hug and congratulate his troops.
Interestingly, Rolling Boys travel to Ramotswa on Saturday to take in Letlapeng in another game which might decide where the title goes. On the other hand, Forest will be home in Mmakgodi entertaining struggling Masitaoka on the same day.
Mochudi Buffaloes remain home to take on neighbours Modipane United, Prisons XI return SSG Ground to take on unpredictable Ghanzi Terrors. On Sunday, Killer Giants will welcome Jwaneng Comets at Siga ground while Black Peril wrap up the weekend games with a tricky assignment against Mogoditshane Fighters. Kick off for all the games is 3.30pm.