Saturday, May 28, 2022

Giants escape unscathed in Coke Cup

Since the Coca-Cola Cup started over two decades ago, it has always produced big upsets, which made it more interesting.

Minnows came to the party by targeting the scalps of local giants, so when Premier League sides joined the race for the last edition of the Coke Cup, there was great anticipation.

While giants, like defending champions Extension Gunners, Township Rollers, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gaborone United (GU), survived an early embarrassment, Nico United were unfortunate when they were booted out by little known side Green Birds in Mmopane.

The sleepy village of Mmopane became vibrant on Saturday night when football lovers celebrated the famous 3-2 win against a side which boasts of talented players. But it was the determination of Green Birds’ players which saw them cruising into the next round.

Giants like Gunners, Chiefs, Rollers and GU might have made it to the round of 16 but they had to fight tooth and nail before achieving their results. Chiefs, who have a history of being eliminated by minnows in the first round, had to wait for the second half before dumping third-tier side Peace Makers in Bobonong.

Goals from Galabgwe Moyana and Tshepo Motlhabankwe were enough to get Magosi a place in the next round. Chiefs’ coach Madinda Ndlovu praised the Bobonong side for their stubbornness.

“It was not an easy game and I must say that I was impressed by the way they (Peace Makers) played. They’re a stubborn side but we struggled to play our flowing game due to the field which was not conducive. We had to play commercial football where we needed to get a result,” said Ndlovu.

On Sunday when GU travelled to face First Division side Mochudi Buffaloes, they knew it was not going to be an easy game. It was the same Buffaloes’ side which tossed GU out of Coke Cup three years ago in the semi-finals. The Reds started well before an electrifying atmosphere at an intimate ground.

Makundika Sakala scored possibly the fastest goal in the history of the tournament when he lobbed the ball over Buffaloes’ goalkeeper Maano Letsweletse with the game having been less than a minute.

The goal did not unsettle the home side as they also ditched good football.┬á Led by midfielder Oratile Tshireletso, Buffaloes looked good when going forward but missed lots of chances. The moment the home crowd have been waiting for came towards the end of the half when Gopolang Matlou’s left foot drive from outside the box left GU goalkeeper Noah Maposa stranded.

At halftime, the score was 1-1. After the break, Buffaloes went to sleep again and were punished when Kgololo Leteane slotted home from close range in the 49th minute. ┬áBuffaloes never recovered and were lucky not to lose by a two-goal margin thanks to goalkeeper Matlou who saved substitute Sageby Sandaka’s penalty.

“Our coaches told us not to expect an easy game. We knew it was going to be difficult to play our normal game, that’s why we relied on power play. Buffaloes are a good side, they gave us a hard time,” said midfielder Ofentse Nato.

Other results are as follows: Mogoditshane Fighters 2-0 TAFIC; Real Masters 0-3 BMC; Green Birds 3-2 Nico United; Security Systems 0-1 Motlakase; Sankoyo Bush Bucks 1-2 BDF XI; Wonder Sporting 1-2 Notwane; Real Movers 0-6 Police XI; Killer Giants 0-2 Township Rollers; Great North Tigers 0-2 TASC.

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