Wednesday, February 21, 2024

GU closes in on Rollers as the league resumes

After some weeks of uncertainty, the Botswana Premier League (BPL) resumed again this past weekend. BPL teams boycotted the resumption of the league earlier this year to force new changes in their Botswana Football League (BFL) structure.

Following Botswana Football Association (BFA)’s ‘concession to their demands,’ the teams were back on the playing field. It was a pot of mixed results and things got heated both at the top and at the bottom of the league standings.

Here is how the title race is shaping up; 

Rollers Stutters and GU Wins to Close the Gap 

On Saturday, log leaders Township Rollers stuttered as they resumed their assault with a goalless draw away by a resolute NICO United. 

Despite being the better team, Popa could not make it count as they found the NICO united defence led by goalkeeper Gaolathe Tshupegetso in an ungiving mood. It was two points dropped for Popa who needed a win to keep the approaching Gaborone United (GU) on their taillights. 

The draw however leaves Rollers still clinging to the top of the league table. They are two points ahead of their crosstown rivals, albeit having played a game more. With only 1 game lost since the league season began, Rollers remains in the hunt and is the most difficult to beat.

Meanwhile, GU took full advantage of Rollers’ stutter to close the gap and put itself in a good position to overtake their rivals. The Red side of Gaborone beat BDF XI by a solitary goal to keep Rollers firmly within their reach.

A seventh minute goal by Molaodi Tlhalefang was all it took for GU to earn the three points it needed. The reds are now two points behind Rollers and have played a game less.

Galaxy Underlines Title Contender Status

Jwaneng Galaxy may still be crisscrossing the continent in search of glory, but their focus on the local league title is still starry.

On Saturday, Galaxy’s prodigal son Thero Setsile marked his joyful return home with the only goal of the match against VTM FC to keep his team’s title hunt on track. the striker came in after the break and proved an inspired substitution as he ensured the Jwaneng outfit continued to soar to the skies.

Lesagaripa, as Galaxy is affectionately called, are now just six points off the top of the league table. Of interest, Morena Ramoreboli’s team played four games less than table leaders Rollers and three less than second placed GU. This on its own should be an ominous warning to fellow title contenders that Galaxy is here to compete. 

TAFIC still in the picture

TAFIC is having a season to remember. Two seasons ago, TAFIC survived relegation to the regional leagues after being forced to go for the playoff. Phil Makhwengwe was the man called to save the team.

The Francistown based outfit then won promotion to the BPL. Once there, they understood they needed a steady hand to guide them. And who better to call than the man who had saved them from possible oblivion, Makhwengwe? 

Under his guidance, TAFIC is cruising. The team has been there and about at the top of the league table, even leading the log at one moment. On Saturday, they underlined their dark horse status with a 1 – 0 win over Matebele FC. The win sees them stay on 5th position on the table. They are just eight points behind the log leaders and have played a game less.

Angels in the face of peril

While TAFIC is cruising, the Angels who saved them from relegation two seasons ago are stuck in abyss. The Francistown based outfit is rooted at the bottom of the league table.

On Saturday, Angels’ attempt to fly off the abyss did not bear fruit as they were held by Security Systems to a goalless draw. The team’s current struggle is a far cry from their debut league season this past year when they thrilled supporters with their expansive football. 

The youthful Angels have so far only managed two wins, four draws and seven losses from thirteen games played this season. With relegation threat hanging ominously over them, they will now need to summon all their angelic powers to survive.

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