Saturday, October 31, 2020

Make or break moment for local teams

This coming weekend is a make or break for two Botswana teams representing Botswana in the Club African competitions.

The teams will either make history or just go back to the drawing boards and start all over again.

Generally, the two teams face an insurmountable task of progressing to the next round.

Gaborone United will be battling it out with South African side and former African champions, Orlando Pirates in the Africa Champions League while Uniao Flamengo Santos will be up against Mozambican side, Costa Dol Sol in the Africa Confederations League.

GU will be away in South Africa at the coastal and windy city of Port Elizabeth on Sunday while Santos will be home on Saturday against Dol Sol. GU are the ones who look to have a better chance of progressing because they managed to hold much fancied Pirates to a goalless draw. This then means Pirates do not have an advantage of an away goal.

Draw with goals would be enough for GU to go through and Pirates have to fight for victory at all costs. Pirates will be boasted by home crowd advantage and it will be up to GU how they react to that.

Although Pirates would not be playing at their spiritual home in Johannesburg but in Port Elizabeth, it is a renowned football lovers place. The game will be played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium that will host the World Cup.

Another advantage for GU is that already Pirates have their internal problems that threaten to drift the team and might work against them.

Already their star player, Teko Modise, is reported to have gone AWOL and did not even play the South African derby encounter against arch rivals, Kaiser Chiefs over the weekend.

GU seem to be very serious about the Pirates encounter because the coach has been cautiously using his star players and Pirates might be shocked from torrential attacks launched by GU.

Players that GU will be banking on are the likes of Mandla Mgadla, Ronald Chikomo, Wellington Maposa, Sageby Sandaka, Tshepho Molefhe and Gobonyeone ‘Shoes’ Selefa.

Already Maposa and Chikomo are the leading goalscorers in the lucrative Coca-Cola tournament. Santos are the ones that have to triple their efforts if they are to really make it to the next round. They are already trailing by two goals and Santos have to score three goals provided Dol Sol do not score. Locally, Santos have been on fire of late and already closing in on the league leaders. Dol Sol might come up with defensive tactics and that should work for Santos who have nothing to lose for the match. Santos is participating in the tournament for the first time while GU last participated fifteen years ago against Mozambican side Ferroviaro de Maputo.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Choppies shareholders split over financials

Botswana’s biggest grocer Choppies Enterprises is slowly clawing its way up, but shareholders remain divided while the company founders have increased their...