Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Centre Chiefs on course but…Santos poses a real danger

Way back in 1995 when Township Rollers won the league title, they had gone the first round without a single loss and there was a huge points difference between them and their closest rivals. By the time the league ended, Rollers had only lost two games which were against BDF XI and Police XI. They lost to the BDF XI midway through the second round while the Police XI game was a mere formality because they had already clinched the league title. Juxtaposed to Rollers scenario, there is Mochudi Centre Chiefs. The Kgatleng outfit has just finished their 15 first round games without a single loss and stakes are high for the team to make history and win the league for the first time in their more than quarter century of existence. The club management is confident that the team will do well and even the supporters always come to the games in their numbers to witness history in the making.

The main threat to the team is, however, their near rivals, Uniao Flamengo Santos. Santos has proved themselves to be worthy challengers and is only five points behind Centre Chiefs. After winning their Wednesday’s game against, BMC, Centre Chiefs had hoped Santos would lose to other distant challengers, Police XI. It was not to be as Santos put up a brave fight and thrashed the jungle kings by three goals without reply. Santos, who are also yet to taste the league glory, might dash the dreams of Magosi if Chiefs do not triple their efforts in the second round. Although Santos have made it clear that achievement beyond top eight would be a bonus they might also re-write history. Unlike in the two previous seasons, Santos now have depth and it would not cause too much worry if one of their key players gets injured or suspended. The team recently availed Zimbabwean international, Ronald Sibanda. Sibanda can be remembered for the goal he scored against Botswana at the 2005 Council for Southern African Football when Zimbabwe won 2-0. The other goal was scored by Gaborone United’s top marksman Sageby Sandaka. Among the players that have attracted attention at the team are Thapelo Sethebethe, Ringo Rankgomo. The two players have proved themselves to be the players to look forward to when the going is tough. They normally find the back of the net when least expected. What is even making Santos even a hard team to beat is their defence which is more organised. The defence is made up of national team material.

Khumo ‘Shoes’ Motlhabane is the current Zebras defender while Seabo Gabanakgosi and Pius Kolagano once did a great job. Kolagano is more of a man marker with his bone-crushing tackles while Gabanakgosi and Motlhabane deal with spillover attacks. Nevertheless, if Centre Chiefs do not lift the trophy this season they have nobody else but themselves to blame. They have cr├¿me-de la cr├¿me of players from the goalkeeping department to the striking force. Even their reserve side has more players that are an envy of many Premier League teams.

In the goalkeeping department, Under 23 international, Noah Maposa, has made sure that the team does not concede many goals while in defence there are the likes of Gobonyeone ‘Shoes’ Selefa. Upfront the trio of Mpho Mabogo, Pontsho Moloi and Jerome Ramatlhakwane terrorises their opponents. Even if Ramatlhakwane joins Cape Town Santos, where he is currently on trials, others like Thato Siska, Nicholas Gora can take the fort. Soccer pundits always say it is never late until the last moment, but it will need divine intervention for other football giants like Township Rollers, Ecco City Green, GU and others to topple Chiefs.


Read this week's paper