Saturday, July 2, 2022

Comets rue missed chances

It was supposed to be a celebration day but it turned out to be a miserable one for Jwaneng Comets’ supporters who braced the chilly Sunday afternoon in the diamond-mining town to cheer their heroes on.┬á

Ahead of their clash against relegation-bound Kanye Swallows, Comets knew that nothing less than a victory would put them in pole position to return to the topflight football for the first time in three years. But it was never to be as 10-man Swallows spoiled the party as they held their more superior opponents to a 1-1 draw in an action packed game played at Galaxy Stadium.

The game leaves Comets sitting on the second spot with 35 points from 19 games, two points adrift of leaders Wonder Sporting. The SSG-based club leapfrogged Comets to the first position after labouring to a 1-0 win over relegated Gabane United on Saturday.  

With three games to go, Comets’ supporters know that their dream of seeing their beloved club gaining promotion might turn into a nightmare. Arriving at Galaxy Stadium, one could tell that the hosts were under immense pressure to deliver the maximum points. Their situation was not helped by the late arrival of refereeing team led by young whistleman Tshepo Gobagoba. The game was supposed to kick off at 3.30pm but Gobagoba got it underway 20 minutes later. After the departure of their Zambian coach, Mike Sithole, in the week building up to their clash against Swallows, Comets had no choice but to call on Zimbabwean Godfrey Tamirepi to temporarily take charge of the team till the end of the season.

Tamirepi could not sit on the bench due to work-permit and the home side was left with no choice but to rely on the goalkeeper trainer Mendy Mooketsi to call the shots. But it seemed Tamirepi’s presence on the stands was not good enough to spur Comets’ players to a decisive win.

Comets launched a number of attacks in the opening 20 minutes of the game but they fluffed them much to the disappointment of their supporters. Lebogang Khubamang, Goareng Supang and Benjamin Maute were all to blame for the chances which went to waste.

Disaster struck in Comets’ camp in the 25th minute when Swallows’ striker Opelo Phuti made a solo run on the right before hammering home a thunderbolt past goalkeeper Keletso Chakalisa. Comets’ defense was caught napping as they were focused on getting an early goal. Chakalisa could have done better to come to his side’s rescue. Throughout the game, Chakalisa looked suspect and he could have conceded more if Swallows were more composed.

Comets managed to get an equalizer in the 34th minute through their leading marksman Maute who scored from an acute angle after Swallows defense went to sleep. It was Maute’s 15th goal of the season and it brought more life to Comets as they bombarded their opponents’ area. At the break, the score read 1-1.

In the second half, Comets showed that they were desperate in the process missing some clear cut chances. In the 86th minute, the home side was given a lifeline when the referee awarded them a controversial penalty. Maute saw his effort coming off the crossbar much to the disappointment of the supporters who were on their feet cheering their star striker on.

On Saturday, Comets take a long trip to Gaborone for a tricky fixture against log leaders Wonder Sporting in a game which is likely to attract hundreds of supporters and well-wishers.

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