Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Gilport Lions played to a drab two all draw in the Mascom Top 8 first leg encounter. The game, which was played at the Serowe Sports Complex, is likely to be remembered more for sparks that flew off rather than on the field of play. In what would have perhaps been taken as a taste of things to come, officials from both teams squared off in a bitter quarrel over some etiquette as emotions ran high prior to the start of the game. It would take a timely intervention by Botswana Premier League (BPL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bennett Mamelodi to calm the emotions.
Despite the passions and emotions running high off the field of play, there was no such display on the field of play as spectators were treated to a lackluster display by both teams despite four goals being scored on the night. The first of the night’s goals came as early as the 7th minute when Gilport Lions’ Ozias Zibande capitalised on the slackness of the Chiefs defence to score past the outstretched Raphael Nthwane.
Chiefs nearly levelled matters in the 15th minute when Lesego Galenamotlhale, who was playing in his natural position of box to box midfielder, got a crack at goal, only to shoot tamely into the hands of Gilport Lions goalkeeper Lesego Bosekeng. Chiefs however got their equaliser from a spot kick in the 21st minute courtesy of Kaelo Kgaswane, after the Gilport defence had been adjudged to have commited a serious foul in the box. Nine minutes later, Magosi usurped the lead as Kekaetswe Moloi came at the end of a cross into the box and headed past Bosekeng. Despite missing a couple of chances, the most glaring being the one that fell to both Galenamotlhale and Tendai Nyumasi, ‘Magosi’, as Chiefs is affectionately called, could not extend their lead any further and took a one goal cushion to recess.
From recess, it took only 17 minutes for Gilport Lions to pull themselves level with Magosi as their danger man, Matthews Nyamadzawo, rose the highest to meet a well taken set piece and nod past Nthwane. While a few more chances fell for both teams, neither could find a winner. The result means Centre Chiefs will go into the second leg of the encounter with a two away goals advantage, something which will go well with their coach Mike Sithole. “What is important is we scored two away goals and that gives us a lot of advantage. As we go into the next game, we know how we should play. It will be a tactical game because we are carrying a two goal advantage,” the Chiefs gaffer said. Though cagey on how he will approach the second leg encounter, the Centre Chiefs coach hinted his team will not sit back but will play attacking football. While Sithole knows the draw bodes well for him, the same cannot be said of Gilport Lions coach Paradzayi Mandivenga who knows he has to go all out when the two teams meet again in the second leg. “I am disappointed in the 2 – 2 draw because it is an advantage to Centre Chiefs. That is why I will have to go there for a win,” Mandivenga explained. The Gilport Lions coach said he was however pleased with how his team had fought back from behind and get what he deemed a credible draw from the match.
Gilport: Lesego Bosekeng, Sekgabo Molebatsi, Bonang Monyatsi, Kabo Molome, Ozias Zibande, Tumisang Sekanonyane, Kabelano Mooketsane, Kenamile Mani, Lebogang Ditsile, Chrispen Mbewe, Matthews Nyamadzawo
Chiefs: Raphael Nthwane, Othusitse Pilane, Ontse Ntesa, Kaelo Kgaswane, Keabetswe Jenamiso, Lesego Galenamotlhale, Senatla Molefhe, Lesego Molemogi, Kekaetswe Moloi, Tendai Nyumasi, Lemponye Tshireletso