Ecco City Greens are the reigning Mascom Premier League champions and are in the semi-finals of this year’s Coca-Cola Cup. Many soccer followers are of the opinion that the northern “meat boys” are the strongest contender for the title provided they remain consistent.
Their road to the finals and eventually winning a double is, however, a little bit bumpy because they are facing a team that is also hungry for success. Ecco city will be facing this year’s Premier League rookies, Boteti Young Fighters. Both teams have never gone beyond the semifinal stages of the tournament and it will be an eye catching encounter to see who qualifies first.
Boteti qualified for the semi-finals for the first time last year when they were knocked out by eventual winners, Township Rollers. Ecco City, on the other hand, qualified for the semi-finals in 2003 where they also lost to the ultimate winners,
Mogoditshane Fighters. It should be born in mind that Ecco City qualified for the semi-finals in 2003 while still campaigning in the first division. Boteti have also been in and out of the Premier League before and they would be looking forward to put that to an end. Boteti is also under the tutelage of respected coach, Kenneth Mogae, who has since made a name for himself with the national Under 23. Mogae is the assistant coach of the national Under 23 team that has since shocked the world with its recent impressive performances.
Even public relations officer of Ecco City Green, Nelson Legwatagwata, is worried about Boteti. He told The Sunday Standard that they do not underestimate the team because Boteti poses a big threat to them. He said as things stand, the Boteti technical team knows Ecco City much better than Ecco knows Boteti.
Legwatagwata said that Ecco City’s defeat of giants, Township Rollers should not be seen as an automatic victory for his team because tournaments are full of surprises and shocks.
“It is everybody’s dream to reach the finals of the lucrative Coca Cola Cup because there is a lot involved in it, and it is not going to be an easy road for us. I would say we are prepared for Boteti, but that is not enough. They have much knowledge about us than we do about them and that is also an advantage to them. We might also have some of the quality players in the Premier League and that is also still not enough. We will be playing against them with a high sense of caution,” Legwatagwata said.
Ecco City will also be in search of being the third team from the northern part of the country to win the Coca-Cola Cup. The only teams that once did that are Tafic and Tasc. Others have always been knocked out in the early stages.
Ecco City has developed a very strong side since their promotion to the Premier League three years ago. Most of the players in the team came with the team from the second division. Ecco City players are also the most loyal. They rarely move to other teams in search of green pastures.
Another interesting semi-final will be between the other “meat boys” from the south, BMC, who will be facing blistering Notwane who have won the tournament for a record three times. BMC are yet to. The only good run in the tournament by BMC was in 1996 when they lost by two goals to Township Rollers. BMC had great players like Collen Zulu, Buti Kgodungwe, Jack Gotlop, Leornard Msinagwa and Jones Mfakose.
Currently the team has many industrious players that might shock Notwane. BMC might have lost some of their enterprising players to, among others, Township Rollers, but that has not deterred those who stayed behind to seek glory. Under 23 players Tumisang Sekanonyane and Mosimanegape Ramohibidu are the main pillars at the back. Last weekend when they defeated much fancied Mochudi Centre Chiefs, it was Sekanonyane and Ramohibidu who tamed the dangerous strikers such Mpho Mabogo and Pontsho Moloi. Notwane on the other hand will solely be depending on the experience of their veteran coach Paul Moyo. In just a short period of time, Moyo has shown that he means business because he already has the Kabelano trophy under his belt and managed to progress to the semifinals minus several key players. Moyo has won the Coca Cola Cup twice with Notwane and is looking for his third one.