Thursday, April 18, 2024

Gunners’ descent continues as they lose to Notwane

Extension Gunners supporters once again went home with their heads down after watching their side surrender to a 1-0 loss at the hands of Notwane in a beMOBILE Premier League match which was played at SSKB Stadium in Mogoditshane on Sunday afternoon.┬áIt was Gunners’ sixth loss in this campaign, something which has left the supporters seething with anger wondering what the future holds.

Mapantsula are lying on the ninth spot, ten points off the relegation zone. The loss left some supporters fuming and pointing fingers at the management for not taking the team seriously.  With temperamental Serbian head coach, Dragojlo Stanojolovic, having to watch the game from the stands following his two-match ban; Gunners were left exposed on the technical bench as there was no experienced campaigner to guide the youthful Lobatse giants. 

As a stop gap measure, Gunners had to rely on the inexperienced goalkeeper trainer, Khalid Niyonzima, to steer the ship. But Niyonzima seemed lost when the going got tougher, something which the fans believe that the management needs to resolve. “We’re aware that the fans are not happy because results are not coming but we’re working on rectifying the situation. There is no denial that we were lacking in the technical department especially that the coach was on suspension. This week we will come up with a solution which will strengthen the team going forward,” said Gunners chairman Kitso Dlamini.

A number of names have come up in the hat as possible replacements for the departed Odirile Matlhaku who has been redeployed to the development sides. Nelson Olebile, Innocent Morapedi, Kopano Phakedi and Itumeleng Duiker are some of the names which have popped up around the corridors in Lobatse. “We’ve given the coach a chance to come up with the name but there is no denial that time is not on our side. I want to assure the supporters that we’re treating the assistant coach issue with the care it deserves,” he continued. Gunners came into the game with their captain, Monageng Thaele, and Jomo Moatlhaping carrying injuries whilst Top Piet is on suspension.

The absence of the trio was clear as Mapantsula failed to open up the hosts defence. In the midfield, Kemmy Pilato struggled through the game and it did not come as a surprise when he was substituted for Bonno Mosea in the second half. Upfront, debutant Emmanuel Machiya and lethal striker Pako Modikwa were passengers as they did not get any support from the middle. When Mapantsula created chances, they all went to waste. On the other end, Gunners’ goalkeeper Wagarre Dikago had to be on his toes to deal with any threat coming his way.

Notwane snatched the winner in the 35th minute when debutant Zambian striker Zebron Njobvu connected well with a cross from the left flank. Notwane also gave a debut to Zimbabwean striker Lazarus Rundofa and Terry Mbuqe from South Africa.  On Saturday, Notwane face a tricky fixture when they take on Mochudi Centre Chiefs at SSKB Stadium while Gunners will play host to BR Highlanders at Lobatse Sports Stadium on Sunday.


Read this week's paper