Mochudi Centre Chiefs supporters sang and danced throughout the 90 minutes of game play and in the end it was good enough to inspire their side to a hard-earned 2-1 win over visiting Nico United in a beMOBILE Premier League which was played at Molepolole Sports Stadium on Friday night. Chiefs showed class and character to get away with maximum points though the match was evenly contested. Since they lost 2-1 to Orapa United at Itekeng Stadium on November 23 last year, Chiefs have gone 11 games without a loss.
Against Nico United, Chiefs knew that nothing less than maximum points would give the chasing opponents a chance to close in on them. It was a sweet revenge for Magosi as they were eliminated from the Mascom Top 8 by the same Nico United. Majombolo shocked many when they hammered Chiefs 3-0 in a quarterfinal tie which was played in Selebi-Phikwe in November, something which left thousands of Chiefs supporters with a bitter pill to swallow. On Friday night, Chiefs made it clear that they are on a mission as they stamped their authority in the game from the first whistle. It did not come as a surprise when leading marksman Kekaetswe ‘Mara’ Moloi opened the scoring with a rocket from the edge of the box in the fourth minute. Chiefs continued to create a couple of chances but they were let down by poor finishing.
The visitors slowly came into the game and looked dangerous when attacking. Nico United made a couple of changes to the starting line-up which faced Gaborone United in the previous cup match. Their talisman Onkabetse Mankgatai looked out of sorts as he was closely monitored by their opponents. Few minutes before the break in the 40th minute, Chiefs defender Keabetswe Jenamiso fumbled and failed to make a simple clearance thus allowing Zambian striker Joseph Musonda to level matters. The score remained at 1-1 as both sides headed for the break. After the interval, Nico United seemed to have recharged their batteries as they took the game to their opponents. But they found Chiefs defence in an uncompromising mood. Sensing danger, Chiefs coach Mike Sithole called on winger Galabgwe Moyana in place of ineffective leading scorer Lemponye Tshireletso.
It appears the move was what the doctor ordered for Magosi as Moyana scored the crucial winner in the 84th minute. Moyana headed home from close range after receiving a pin-point cross from left-back Tshifhiwa Kgaswane. Chiefs fans went into wild celebrations but for Nico United fans it was a big setback in their attempts to get out of relegation dogfight. “We planned well for this game but a lapse in concentration allowed Chiefs to get away with three points. You can’t afford to make such a mistake when you play against a good side like Chiefs. All we need is to regroup and try to get out of the relegation zone,” said Nico United coach Wesley Mondo in a post-match interview. Mondo remains confident that his side will pull the plug and get out the mess they find themselves in at the present moment. Majombolo lie on the 14th spot with 20 points and if they fail to produce any magic in the last seven matches, they would find themselves in the Debswana First Division North next season.
Chiefs coach Mike Sithole applauded his side for showing determination to get maximum points in the end. “It was not an easy game. Nico came at us in the second half and we were forced to make a couple of changes since our midfield was not functioning. I’m happy that in the end we got the points,” said the Zambian mastermind. As it has been the case, Sithole did not want to be drawn into discussing the title. “We’re going to take a game at a time,” he concluded. Meanwhile, Township Rollers redeemed their lost pride when they hammered bottom of the table Letlapeng 3-1 in a match which was played in Molepolole on Sunday. Following their shock midweek 3-1 defeat to BR Highlanders, Rollers could not afford another loss in their bid to keep chasing the title. It was not gutsy performance from the defending champions but in the end it was enough to get them the points. The evergreen Segolame Boy grabbed a brace with another goal coming from substitute captain Sekhana ‘Nandos’ Koko. Mapalastina remain in the third spot with 46 points. Second-placed Orapa United had a fruitful weekend beating 10-man Gaborone United 3-0 at Itekeng Stadium in the diamond-mining town on Saturday evening.