Gaborone United (GU) and Extension Gunners may have failed to win the annual Gaborone City Cup aided by Dirang Motors in Molepolole on Sunday afternoon, but their supporters went home satisfied with their sides’ early promise.
Even the coaching staff should have been happy with the combinations they tried on the day.
Gunners lost to eventual winners Township Rollers through penalties in the first semi-final while GU went down on penalties to Rollers in the final. ┬áWhen the Reds took to the field against Notwane, most supporters were shocked to see midfield kingpin Tshepo ‘Schoolboy’ Molefhe drafted into central defence alongside Gobonyeone ‘Shoes’ Selefa by new Zimbabwean head coach Elvis Chiweshe.
The talented player did not disappoint as he played his heart out against tricky Notwane forwards in a 4-1 routing of Toronto.
Against Rollers in the final, Molefhe came out tops once again as he kept the opposition strikers at bay for most part of the game. In the end, one football supporter said, “My player of the tournament has to be Schoolboy considering that he was playing in an unfamiliar position.”
In an interview, Molefhe said that at the start of their pre-season, he had a lengthy discussion with the new gaffer concerning his role in the team. According to him, it was a fruitful discussion and when he was asked to play in defence, he did not think twice.
“It was not the first time to play there (in defence) and I want to believe that the coach saw something in me. I felt no pressure at all because all that matters is for you to communicate with your teammates,” he said.
Molefhe is aware that getting regular game time in the GU midfield might be difficult for him this season but he was quick to point out that the final call will be made by Chiweshe.
“As a player I’m ready to play wherever the coach asks me. I believe that the tournament in Molepolole has given him a chance to see most of the players. The new players are also settling in and there will be great competition when the national team players return,” he added.
GU has four players in the national team, which has been undergoing an intensive training in a Pretoria camp.
The players are Bakang Moeng, Ofentse Nato, Chifiwa Kgaswane and Musa Ohilwe. ┬á
On the day, GU also gave debuts to Zimbabwean striker Baloni Chiseko and Alphonse Modisaotsile from TAFIC. While Modisaotsile had a wonderful afternoon at the heart of the GU midfield, the same cannot be said of Chiseko.
The towering forward looked out of sorts and some supporters were heard calling for his substitution.
Gunners assistant coach Nelson Olebile said that the tournament afforded them the chance to have a look at their playing squad and he has no doubt that when the league kicks off in a week’s time, Mapantsula will be ready for the challenge.
Gunners gave a debut to former Police XI and TASC midfielder Laundry Tchape, defender George Mpuniki (Gaborone United) and striker Anesu Gondo in the opening game against Mapalastina.┬á
Tchape showed some signs of old brilliance and he is likely to give Gunners supporters the zeal they have been missing in the middle of the park.
Against Notwane in the losers’ final, former BDF XI and Gaborone United captain Kabo ‘Branco’ Molokwane was given a run in central defence and he did not disappoint.
“We have to work on the combinations in defence and I’m happy that in the second game, Branco provided us with the experience we’ve been missing. By the time the league kicks off, I think we’ll be okay,” said Olebile.
Gunners will be involved in another tournament this Saturday involving Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Uniao Flamengo Santos and South African Premier League side Platinum Stars at the Molepolole Sports Complex.
This will be Gunners’ final preparation ahead of what promises to be a thrilling season.