Monday, September 28, 2020

GU’s road ahead now getting bumpier

Gaborone United (GU) is currently celebrating one of their historic victories ever recorded in Botswana.

Against all odds, they booted out one of the biggest teams in Africa and former champions, Orlando Pirates of South Africa that is even idolised by many players in Botswana.

However, an even bumpier road lies ahead for the team. They have to triple their efforts from the one they displayed against Pirates.

Firstly, it might seem as if they might have an easy fixture against a Mauritian team, Curepipe Starlight, but they must be very careful.
The danger lies in them thinking that Starlight is a closed chapter to them. Secondly, the last time a Botswana team played a Mauritian side was in 1995 when Notwane slugged it out against Fire Brigade.

It can be remembered that Notwane underestimated Brigade and nearly paid for it.

In Mauritius, Notwane won by a solitary goal and when they came back to Botswana, Notwane thought they would easily wrap it up, but it was not to be because the Islanders fought from the word go and were immediately rewarded.
Notwane managed to level the score with less than ten minutes remaining, courtesy of Masauso Tembo’s goal.
Unfortunately, if GU gets past the Mauritius side, they would still have an even higher mountain to claim.

They would either play high riding Zimbabwean side, Dynamos, or Democratic Republic of Congo’s St Eloi Lupopo.
For the past few years, Dynamos have been continuously participating in African showpieces and made many shocking waves, the most recent being a year and half ago when, against all odds, they defeated the then defending champions of African Champions League, Esperance of Tunisia.

What shocked many people was the fact that Dynamos arrived in Tunisia on the morning of the match day because of financial problems at home. Their plea to have the game postponed fell on deaf ears and Dynamos went on to win 1-0.
Lupopo, by no doubt, is one of the biggest clubs in the DRC and they are motivated by the fact that the current African champions, TP Mazembe, are also from DRC. The Lubumbashi based club also knocked out BDF XI from the same tournament in 2005. BDF XI won 1-0 at home and lost 2-0 in Lubumbashi.

Nevertheless, if GU are to play them, they have to bank on two men who faced Lupopo in 2005, defender Branco Molokwane and striker Mpho Mabogo who know the team well.

Mabogo is the one who scored the solitary goal when they played in Gaborone.

The Communications Manager of GU, Romeo Benjamin, told Sunday Standard that they are aware of the tougher situation they find themselves in.
He said it is a challenge and everything will be taken care of.

“Beating Orlando Pirates was a major achievement and many people still cannot believe it. We have now entered the lion’s den and we are prepared for that. Currently, our aim is to reach the group stages and our major shareholder, Nicolas Zakhem, has assured the team that he will do everything he can to help the team prepare vigorously for the forthcoming matches,” he said.

Benjamin added that preparing for the matches on the African continent requires a lot of resources but vowed that GU would not let Batswana down.

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