Sunday, September 20, 2020

Chiefs on a roller coaster?

Mochudi Centre Chiefs has always been branded as one of the top four teams in the country, at least in terms of following. The team attracts big passionate crowds to their games, matching the likes of Gaborone giants Township Rollers and Gaborone United, or even equaling crowds that attend Lobtrans Extension Gunners games.

The difference between the “Pride of Kgatleng” and the other three teams aforementioned is that the trio had won the elite league before whilst Chiefs is yet to clinch it. As a matter of fact, when Chiefs can claim to have won the league is when they won the first division arrangement to return to the elite league back in the late 90s.

What perhaps boggles many people’s minds is that Chiefs had never run short of quality when it came to the playing squad. A flashback to the 80s will show that the team had national team players of not, such as the explosive Mothusi “Killer” Kooitsiwe, Jerry Phetlhe, the stylish Ridwell Nfolwe, the incisive Malunga Mariri, the robust Zero Kgetlhwe, the acrobatic Skep Madisa, the dribbling wizard Louis “Teenage” Tlhowe, the deceptive Kaizer Mamapilo, the lanky Tennyson “Fashion” Maposa to mention but a few. Despite the class that was the generation of these players, Chiefs failed to bring the league honours to the Kgatleng capital.
In the 90s, the team continued the trend of having classy players in their books. The likes of Edwin Masire, the late Irvin “Careca” Moyo (May his soul rest in peace), Mariri, Charles Matsila, Linos Chalwe, Robinson “Sthibo” Munkasa, Barnes Maplanka, William Lefitilwe and others did not outdo their predecessors as the league title continued eluding the team.

The late 90s saw the team signing players who were at the peak of their games. Names like Itumeleng “Dhoba Dhoba” Duiker, Terrence Mophuting, Tshepiso “Sox” Molwantwa, Moses “Killer” Dipatane, Modesto Chilundumane, the Maposa brothers, Stephen and Joseph, Nicky “Boomshaka” Phale, Douglas Mwamba and Ernest Miti but the league title proved elusive.

At the beginning of the current season, Chiefs did not want to be seen as departing from their trend as they went in full swing to sign the cream of Botswana players. Football enthusiasts need not be reminded of the plundering forays of former Notwane FC’s number 10, Pontsho “Piro” Moloi, the penetrative instincts of former Santos and Mogoditshane Fighters’s Jerome Ramatlhakwane, the combative midfield skills of former Police XI’s lanky player Oteng “OT” Moalosi, The trio joined “Maapara-nkwe” recently to beef the already exciting squad. The team might yet win the ownership of cool-as-ice defender Gobonyeone “Shoes” Selefa from Notwane.

The team already had a formidable playing brigade. The likes of free-scoring Kekaetswe “Mara” Moloi, the prodigal son, Molatlhegi “Teenage” Podile, the influential Noah “Stooge” Kareng, the effervescent Stanley Tsolope, the slippery Othusitse “Jabu” Pilane, the rough-riding Zachariah “Mwenemutapa” Muzadzi, the blessed hands of Raphael Nthwane and Noah Maposa, the tough tackling Boniface “Zolo” Makolo and the sturdy Calvin Masire all strut their stuff for starting positions at Chiefs.

The team’s Public Relations Officer Clifford Mogomotsi believes that the current season could be Chiefs’ season.
“Like in any other season, we will be trying to win things. We are an ambitious team that wants to put a smile on the faces of our loyal fans. Just wait and see. We will do it this season. Definitely we will do it,” said Mogomotsi.

Last week Chiefs visited the Copper and Nickel mining town of Selebi-Phikwe for a showdown with FC Satmos. From that game, one could say Chiefs have really sent warning bells to their future opponents.

At one stage, Chiefs trailed 1-2 after Satmos’ Thobo “Fish” Kgoboge had shocked them with a scorcher to put the Selebi-Phikwe side in the lead.
In the second stanza, Chiefs regrouped. This was the game in which new recruit Moloi was at his element, eliminating numbers through his fancy footwork. The former Notwane player bagged a brace. Other new recruits, Ramatlhakwane and Moalosi scored a goal apiece and Chiefs returned south of the Capricorn with a 4-1 victory. They are currently perched at the top of the Mascom Premier League log.

Said one of the Satmos players after the game, “Chiefs will be the team to beat this season. They have depth in their playing squad. Their players are all experienced and from my own observation, on paper they are the best team in the league at the moment. Moloi is deadly. He is difficult to pick because he is surrounded by equally dangerous Chiefs players.”

Whether Chiefs will finally land the elusive league title to their base still remains to be seen.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.