Major David Bright will continue as head coach of Gaborone United (GU), the team’s management deciding at the weekend to keep him on after the team’s spirited 1-1 draw with city rivals Township Rollers at the UB stadium.
Going into the game played Saturday afternoon, Bright stood perilously close to sacking, with reports suggesting that Zimbabwean Rahman Gumbo stood on hand to replace him were the team to lose.
In the event, young striker Mathews Moruti leveled the scores on 95 minutes to ensure a breather for the under-fire Bright, whose team has fared badly since the league kicked off.
Despite the pressure on him, the former Mogoditshane Fighters coach appeared unruffled ahead of the weekend’s clash.
He shared jokes with his Rollers’ counterpart, Madinda Ndlovu, and some of the journalists as the teams limbered up during the pre-match warm up.
Clad in a grey suit, white shirt and red tie, Bright walked to his bench at the beginning of the game like a true soldier gearing for war. Some GU supporters gave him a standing ovation whilst some Rollers’ fans booed him saying their side would more misery to him.
With 10 minutes to go on the clock, Bright, sensing defeat, withdrew Moemedi ‘Jomo’ Moatlhaping and threw Moruti into the fray. The youngster obliged by nicking the late equaliser.
For many in the crowd, there was a sense of desperation about the substitution, given that Moruti has seen little game time since joining the Reds from Uniao Flamengo Santos at the beginning of the season.
Partnering fellow substitute Makundika Sakala, Moruti stole in, pouncing on a lapse of concentration in the Rollers defence, to dispatch home after a well-laid pass from Edwin Olerile.
Till then, the Rollers defence, led by Oscar Ncenga and Leutlwetse Tshireletso, had stood firm.
Bright contained himself during the celebrations as his assistant George Mogopodi went to join the players in celebrations at the far corner.
The goal which came seconds before referee Joshua Bondo blew his final whistle broke the hearts of hundreds of Rollers’ fans who were already on their toes celebrating what could have been a massive win for them.
One supporter had to be ferried to hospital by the emergency personnel after she collapsed following the equalizer.
Crestfallen Rollers’ coach Madinda Ndlovu was almost in tears at the end of the game. Rollers had taken the lead in the 5th minute through Namibian striker Jerome Louis.
Just like in the previous games, it was the same old story of missed chances for the Reds. Olerile twice came face to face with Rollers’ goalkeeper Mwampule Masule but ballooned the chances. The left-back was also unfortunate as his free-kick rattled the post with Masule rooted to the ground.
“We played well and created chances but once again luck was not on our side. I’m proud of my boys because this was a high-tempo game. There is no way we can buy luck but I hope we’ll get things right,” said Bright in summing up the game.
He would not dwell on the reports that this game would decide his fate, and said what was important was to prepare his team for the game.
“It’s unfortunate that we conceded an early goal. I had asked Shoes (Gaopatwe Seosenyeng) to stick to their target man but he did not and we were punished,” said Bright.