Jwaneng Comets come into this afternoon’s crucial clash against relegation-haunted Kanye Swallows at the Galaxy Stadium without their head coach, Mike Sithole, but the diamond-mining outfit has made it clear that they will not let the Zambian-born tactician’s departure distract their promotion plans.
Sithole dumped the First Division South side in the past week to take charge at Premier League giants Township Rollers. After spending almost three seasons campaigning in the lower division, Jwaneng Comets are on the brink of getting promotion to the Premier League. Comets are sitting second in the First Division South with 34 points from 18 games and a win at home to Swallows would take them back to the top of the log.
It has not been an easy ride for Comets but it was Sithole who made them play an exciting brand of football at the start of the second round.
“He (Sithole) is an established coach and he has managed to get the best out of our players. We were in the process of finalizing his papers (work-permit) but unfortunately he left. I must emphasise that we’re not going to let his departure make us lose our focus to gain promotion (to the Premier League),” said Comets’ chairman Njabulo Chilisa on Friday morning.
Chilisa said that he is hopeful that the remaining technical team would keep the same discipline which Sithole instilled in the eight games he has been in charge of the Jwaneng side. Until the end of the season, Kelebogile Seamokwena and Mendy Mooketsi will remain in charge of Comets. Chilisa pointed out that after Sithole’s departure, his executive committee sat down with the players to ensure that they remain focused on the job at hand. Chilisa added that it is important that they beat Swallows this afternoon before worrying about their remaining three league fixtures.
It is the game against another title contender, Wonder Sporting Club, which will decide who gets the automatic promotion.
Comets entertain Wonder Sporting at SSG ground this coming Saturday (April 27). The other games will be away to Young Strikers and Modipane United before winding up the season.
“If we were to drop points (against Swallows), we can still come back in the other games. It is Wonder that have tricky games remaining as compared to us. They (Wonder) still have to play Killer Giants who are vying for a place in the promotional play-offs. That goes to show that we stand a better chance of gaining promotion,” said a confident Chilisa.┬á
This season, Comets have relied heavily on the scoring exploits of striker Benjamin ‘Mahoota’ Maute who has scored 14 goals of the 38 they have netted. Once again this afternoon, Maute will lead the front-line in a bid to take their campaign closer to the Promised Land. The experience of veteran goalkeeper Boemo Willie, midfielder Bobo Motlhalane, winger Marvin Kaelo and defender Tumisang Sebolaaphuti has also worked wonders for Comets.
Chilisa has paid tribute to the community of Jwaneng who have been supportive throughout their campaign. He called on Comets’ supporters to rally behind the team in the remaining games.
“I still believe that our support-base can grow further. There are companies and individuals who have injected their monies in the team and we’re grateful. We would like to appeal to more companies to come on board and we’ll not let them down,” said Chilisa.
Some of the companies which powered Comets this season are Seggy, Dlala Sportswear and Menyamor Holdings.