BBS Mall in Gaborone came to a standstill on Friday afternoon when football lovers converged for the Coca-Cola Cup draw.
Before the toss was made, some supporters erupted into song and dance. After the draw, others hugged, kissed and declared that their sides would make it to the final on April 30.
According to Premier League General Manager, Phutego Setete, the semi-finals will be played during the weekend of April 16 and 17.
In the draw, which excited hordes of supporters at the venue, including those from sides which were knocked out in the previous rounds, 2008 winners Mochudi Centre Chiefs were pitted against rivals Extension Gunners. Both sides have met in the same competition in the last three years, with Chiefs coming tops.
Gunners’ communications officer, Nelson Radijeng, said that he was happy with the draw and there are going to compete.
“Chiefs have dominated us over the years under (coach) Chicco (Nare) but now we’re coached by Max Moyo. He is a strategist and we’ve got confidence that we’ll reach the final. Though cup games are different, I watched Chiefs recently in a league game against BMC and I was not impressed by what I saw,” said Radijeng.
The Gunners’ spokesperson added that he has no doubt that his team will be highly motivated for the game which is likely to be played at Lobatse Sports Complex on April 17.
This is the first time Gunners have reached this stage in the last decade hence their supporters believe that this is their year to lift a piece of silverware. Chiefs’ spokesperson Clifford Mogomotsi was excited by the prospect of meeting Gunners in the semis. He said that since both sides command a huge support, the game will be entertaining. En route to winning the title in 2008, Chiefs met Gunners in the quarterfinals at the National Stadium and it was Magosi supporters who went home happy after a post-match penalties.
It was a game of emotions which was played in front of thousands of supporters. “We came here (at the draw) anticipating to meet each of the three sides. We don’t have any problem with Gunners and this game is going to be a good advert for Botswana football. We’re going to give our best shot because we don’t want to end the season without silverware,” he said. Chiefs were not convincing in their 1-0 win over BDF XI in the quarterfinals and it will be interesting to see how they do against Gunners. In another semi-final, underdogs Motlakase will have to travel down south to face 2009 winners Uniao Flamengo Santos in a game in which the latter remain favourites.
Santos caused major upset in the previous round when they edged out last year’s winners Township Rollers, beating them 4-3 in a game played in Molepolole. Since then, three of the sides in the semis vowed that if they can avoid the Gabane outfit, reaching the final would not be a problem.
Santos representative at the draw, Godfrey Baaname, said that they are not worried about the draw.
He pointed out that they will give Motlakase the respect they deserve but their ultimate goal is to reach the final. Acting chairman of Motlakase Abel Lebopo was at ease and said, “It is a welcome draw for us and we’re going to prepare for them. The good thing is that we’ll be playing the semis in the southern part because we always encounter problems with referees when we’re playing at home (in Selebi-Phikwe). We played Santos at SSKB in the second round and we know what to expect from them.”
In the game played at SSKB Stadium, Motlakase squandered a 3-0 first half lead and ended up sharing the spoils. Motlakase remain the underdogs in the semis as they are struggling to find
their feet in the Premier League and are likely to be relegated come the end of the season.
On their way to the final, they eliminated Second Division side Modipane United 6-5 on penalties and BMC 3-2, again via penalties. Speaking at the draw, Setete thanked the supporters for rallying behind their teams since the beginning of the competition.
“It is really touching to see some of the supporters who their teams were knocked in the previous stages of the Coca-Cola Cup. We appreciate your support,” he said.