New chapters have once again been written in the history books of Botswana football.
For the first time in almost two decades, Gaborone United (GU) have been crowned the league champions after a grueling season.
This was after they defeated the defending champions, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, by a solitary goal in a do or die encounter.
The game was also historic in the sense that it was the last game of the league for both teams and both had a chance of winning the league championship.
GU went into the game needing only a draw while Centre Chiefs needed a victory which would have meant an equal number of points but they would have benefitted from a numerical goal advantage. The loss by Centre Chiefs was a blow because the team was, once again, looking forward to winning everything on offer as was the case last season.
The all important goal by GU was scored eight minutes before half time by surprise inclusion, Wellington Maposa. The goal was from a free kick and Centre Chiefs’ defence failed to clear and Maposa wasted no time beating Chiefs goalie, Noah Maposa.
Centre Chiefs failed to come to the party as GU were tactically superior in almost all departments.
The team surprised many by deploying bench warmer Bosarutweng ‘Booster’ Magola in the midfield and he did a sterling job, making life difficult for Chiefs’ midfielders.
Not many people thought Wellington would be given the chance in the starting line up yet he gave Centre Chiefs’ defence a torrid time. Centre Chiefs failed to level the scores from the penalty spot taken by Moemedi Moatlhaping. The shot was saved by GU goalie, Raphael Nthwaane, who was later voted Man of the Match.
For GU coach, Mike Sithole, it was all smiles. He told Sunday Standard that it was an honour for him to win the tournament for his second season in Botswana.
Last season, he started well at Centre Chiefs but left for GU with several games remaining and the team went on to win the league. At GU, he helped the team to finish in second place.
The league championship has also ended a long dry spell for GU who haven’t actually won a trophy for many seasons. In their glorious years, in the early and mid-nineties, the team used to win many minor trophies.