For several weeks, four teams, Satmos, Prisons XI, Tasc, Comets and Tafic, were predicted by many as relegation candidates because they always languished at the bottom of the league. The situation has since changed a little and Nico United has joined the fray. This then means, in addition to Satmos, Nico is the second team from Selibe Phikwe. The situation is bad news to the Copper Nickel mine town because the two teams are the only representatives and if they are relegated there would be none remaining in the Premier League, bearing in mind that Selibe-Phikwe representatives in the First Division North have no chances of making it.
Nico has been campaigning in the Premier League for many seasons and they even challenged for league honours for the past two seasons only to falter in the late stages of the campaign. What astonishes people is that Nico is bankrolled by the BCL mine and have quality players. They have the likes of maverick Chrispen Nyamutamba and Eric Molebatsi, to mention but a few. In the past, it was attributed to the fact that teams from the Northern part of the country never do well because they travel a lot, especially to the southern part. But for the past two seasons, the situation ceased because northern teams from Francistown and Selibe Phikwe increased, meaning that the traveling costs had been cut.
The game that really pushed Nico into the relegation zone was last week’s 3-1 loss to Notwane, which was one of the worst score lines against Nico this season.
Nico United manager, Sam Kelebale, has vowed that Nico would not go down. He told The Sunday Standard that they would do everything to avoid the chop because it would be an embarrassment to the Selibe Phikwe community and surrounding areas.
“We are having problems which I hope would be sorted out soon. If you are aware, our problems started surfacing after losing one of our star strikers, Tamocha Bedi. Since then, we had scoring problems because our current strikers are not as skilled as Bedi. Also, one of our best midfielders, Sunday Kelebale, is injured and will only be able to play next season. We do not have a player of his caliber who could hold the balls, distribute with ease and shoot at the same time. But I am optimistic that before the end of the season things would be normal and our supporters should not panic,” he said.
For Satmos, the situation is really sad and they need to triple their efforts if they are to escape the relegation axe. Satmos are the log trailers and even if they can win three of their remaining six games, they would still be in the relegation zone. They should pray they win their remaining games provided other relegation candidates lose points or else they are out.
Satmos had an unfortunate season. Their coach, Guston Mutobo, has not been with the team close to a month now since sustaining an injury in a car accident. Team owner and former national goalkeeper, China Mading, had to call the shots something that proved to be difficult.
Mading might be hoping that lady luck that had been smiling at the team in the past three seasons smiles again. Those were the seasons Satmos always avoided the chop at the last moments, but this time around, it is going to prove difficult.
Mading has always lamented that Satmos struggles because they do not have enough money to cater for their players. That eventually results in some teams with financial muscle poaching their players. Some of the players Satmos lost to big teams are Kgosietsile Senjoba (Gaborone United), Botlhe Bolofete (Notwane), Kagiso Tshelametsi (Notwane), Tiroyamodimo Mohambi (BMC), Barry Hangunyu (Township Rollers) and Mogolodi Chepete.
Satmos has for a long time found it hard to attract sponsorships. Last season, they were supposed to be bankrolled by transport magnate, Dichaba Tangani, of Bamangwato, but official word from the club is that there were some technical problems. Currently, another transport magnate is reportedly interested in sponsoring the team and negotiations are at an advanced stage.