Gaborone United (GU)’s squad depth was all visible to see on Saturday afternoon as the team beat Security Systems 2 – 1 to successfully defended their Orange FA Cup title.
If anyone was expecting the team to falter following their not so convincing semifinal win over Matebele a weekend ago, those doubts were dispelled in just 90 minutes as GU swathed off Systems.
Frighteningly as it is, for this final match, as had been during the team’s journey to the final, GU could afford to give second choice goalkeeper Ookeditse Semelamela a start ahead of Goitseone Phoko, while star forward Thero Setsile also started on the bench.
GU got off to a slow start and found themselves on the backfoot within 10 minutes of the game as Takunda Sadiki caught their defence napping and struck one past Semelamela to give Systems a lead.
The alarm boys’ celebrations did not last long though as Thatayaone Kgamanyane’s volley in the 14th went past Mwampule Masule. GU would ten go on to complete the job with less than 4 minutes left in the first half thanks to the talismanic Obonwe Maome.
From recess, things could have gone awry for GU when Kennedy Amutenya was sent off in the 65th minute for an overexuberant tackle on Systems’ Poloko Nkalolang. The player had to be ferried to the hospital after a lengthy medical attention.
With more than 25 minutes still to play with a man down, GU immediately made two changes, with Maome and Onkabetse Makgantai making way for Tshepo Maikano and Thero Setsile respectively.
Even with a man down, ‘The Reds,’ as GU is affectionately called, still carried more threat on the counter while also holding off System’s concerted attempts for an equalizer.
In the end, it was GU who triumphed to retain their title while Systems, who had a very impressive run to the final, had to settle for silver.
Meanwhile, Systems’ Thato Ogopotse was the biggest winner in the players’ individual awards after scooping a Player of the Tournament gong and being the tournament’s co-top goal scorer with five goals to his name. Ogopotse’s efforts also gained him a combined P65 000 cash prize.
The goalkeeper of the tournament gong went to Semelamela while GU gaffer Innocent Morapedi walked away with the Coach of the Tournament award. Semelamela was also rewarded with a P25 000 cash prize while Morapedi went home with P10 000.
As the winner of the tournament, GU got a whooping P700 000 cash prize to go with the trophy and gold medals.