Mascom Top 8 has been the most traumatic tournament for Magosi supporters since its inception, as they watched their side huffing and puffing but with no serious results. Giants like Township Rollers (2012) and Gaborone United (2013 and 2015) have already engraved their names on the Top 8 trophy, and only Chiefs’ name is missing. This is despite the fact that they have been the most consistent side in Botswana Premier League in the past decade. This time last year, Chiefs were the laughing stock of the football community after they were thrashed 3-1 on aggregate by Nico United.
After holding Gilport Lions to a 2-2 stalemate in the Bamangwato capital, all eyes will be on Magosi tomorrow to see if they can overcome the Mascom Top 8 jinx. Chiefs’ Communications Manager Clifford Mogomotsi said that they are concerned about their run in this tournament.
“We’ve a dark monkey on our backs and we need to get rid of it by making sure that we proceed to the semis. We’re aware that we have not tasted Mascom Top 8 glory and we’re very much concerned. The jinx is haunting us and it gives our opponents so much confidence whenever they face us,” said Mogomotsi.
While he admitted that their record against Gilport Lions is not impressive, Mogomotsi expressed confidence that their experience will carry them through.
“We’ve not posted good results against Gilport Lions in the last five years. The best results we always get are a draw. We however draw solace from the fact that we scored two away goals in the first leg, which puts us at an advantage. We’re also counting on the experience of our head coach (Mike Sithole) and our new assistant (Pio Paul). Their combination has come at a right time,” the flamboyant spokesperson added.
Chiefs’ head coach Mike Sithole shared the same sentiments, saying this is time for them to redeem their pride in the competition. He pointed out that he has discussed their run in the competition with his players and they know what is expected of them.
“I told them that I’ve won the cup before (with Township Rollers in 2012) and it is time for them to go out there and make the supporters happy. There are a couple of players here who have won the cup before with different clubs and I think their experience will come in handy,” said Sithole.
However, Sithole pointed out that as much as they want to win the competition, they do not want to put pressure on his players, adding that he wants them to go out there and enjoy themselves. “We’re preparing like normal. We’ve a weekend to finish off our preparations since the game is on Monday. Only (Kaelo) Kgaswane is on suspension, but the rest of the boys are here,” he said.
For his part, Gilport Lions’ Chairman Kelesitse Gilika was oozing with confidence ahead of the clash. He said that though they have failed to win the first leg at home, they will shock the football community come Monday night.
“We’re not scared of Centre Chiefs. We’ve got nothing to lose especially that the whole country has written us off. I want people to come bear witnesses when we send Chiefs to the cleaners. We’ve never had problems with Chiefs and I don’t see them starting now,” he said.
The Roaring Lions welcome the return of skipper Thabo Mothibi and midfielder Steve Lochia to the first team after missing recent matches.
“We’ve a full squad and it’s up to the coach (Mandivenga Paradzayi) to choose his winning team,” he said. Ozias Sibande and Tendai Nyamadzawo scored for Lions in the first leg with Kaelo Kgaswane and Kekaetswe Moloi scoring for Chiefs.
This is how both sides lined-up in the first leg;
Gilport Lions: Lesego Bosekeng, Sekgabo Molebatsi, Tumisang Sekanonyana, Kabo Molome, Bonang Monyatsi, Ozias Zibande, Kabelano Mooketsane, Kenamile Mani (Upoga Dekesha 62), Lebogang Ditsile, Tendai Nyamazadwo, Chrispen Mbewe.
Centre Chiefs: Raphael Nthwane, Kaelo Kgaswane, Keabetswe Jenamiso (Jackie Mothatego 67), Ontse Ntesa, Lesego Molemogi, Othusitse Pilane, Lemponye Tshireletso, Lesego Galenamotlhale, Senatla Molefe (Onalethata Tshekiso 77), Tendai Nyumasi, Kekaetswe Moloi.