Monday, May 17, 2021

Chiefs whip Police to clinch the crown in style

Mochudi Centre Chiefs whipped Police XI 2 ÔÇô 1 over the weekend to wrap up their season in style. On a day marking their crowning moment, not even a determined Police XI or the impending boardroom wrangling that threatens to taint their championship could rain in on their parade. That this was a crowning moment for Magosi was not in doubt as their multitude of supporters were in full song, not only praising their team but also castigating the Botswana football leadership on the impending boardroom wrangling.

On the pitch, it was Chiefs who showed more intent as they carved many chances, though they could not convert most of them. Magosi’s first real chance came as early as the 9th minute when Lemponye Tshireletso, who was returning from an injury, flashed a shot across the Police goalmouth only for Othusitse Pilane to arrive late as the chance went begging. The deadlock was broken six minutes later as Galabgwe Moyana glided past the Police XI defence before setting up Tshireletso to score his 15th goal of the season and give Chiefs a much deserved lead. Police should have however levelled on the 25th minute when their Ghanaian marksman, Ishmael Amponsah got a ball in the Chiefs’ box, but the striker shot timidly at the Chiefs’ defence with keeper Raphael Nthwane nowhere in the goalposts.

Chiefs nearly extended their lead on the brink of half time when Kekaetswe ‘Mara’ Moloi chipped a ball over the advancing Police XI goalkeeper Abednico Morapedi, but his attempt hit the upright and the teams went into recess with Chiefs leading by a solitary goal. From recess, chiefs were fast off the blocks as Moyana tested Morapedi with a well taken set piece within the second minute of the half before ‘Mara’ Moloi headed wide a well taken Moyana corner. With just six minutes of the second half gone, Police drew level as Uyapo Seleka converted from the spot kick after Cyrus Jamali was adjudged to have appended Loago Kgaswane in the box.

Immediately after conceding the penalty, Chiefs coach, Mike Sithole substituted Senatla Molefe and Onalethata Tshekiso for Jamali and Makakaba respectively as Chiefs sought to regain their lead. The move worked wonders as Molefe restored Chiefs’ lead as he tapped in to finish another brilliant Moyana delivery.

With at least fifteen minutes before the final whistle, Moyana carved another chance for ‘Mara’ Moloi but Morapedi was alert to thwart him. Chiefs had another chance to kill the match just two minutes before the final whistle when Molefe flicked a ball for Tshekiso but the striker shot straight into the hands of Morapedi. Just a minute later, Magosi had their last chance as Tshireletso’s well hit ball bounced off the cross bar with goalie all at sea. Despite pressing forward, there were to be no further goals and Chiefs clinched the game 2 ÔÇô 1 to finish their league in style. Reflecting on the league campaign, Chiefs Captain, Pontsho Moloi described it as a ‘good season.’ “When you win something at the end of the season, it is always a good one,” Moloi surmised. “There are always ups and downs in life, in football and everything. We just soldiered on and did what we had to do, and here we are, champions,” the Chiefs captain said. For his part, Chiefs coach, Sithole, attributed the league championship to his players’ efforts throughout the season. Assessing his team’s league race, Sithole said it was a miracle that Chiefs won the league considering the hurdles they surmounted throughout the season. The chiefs’ coach alluded that throughout the season, he had to use a makeshift defence and deploy some of his players off position as he tried to cover for injuries. The gaffer cited the deployment of Lesego Galenamotlhale in the defensive midfield role as a case in point. Despite playing off position, the player was very influential in Chiefs’ title race and is among those competing for the Player of the Season award.

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