A 34th minute solitary goal by Lorato Mosweu was enough to sink goal shy Gilport Lions deep into the relegation quagmire while lifting BDF XI into the echelons of the beMobile Premiership log standings. The goal, scored deep into the first half during the two teams’ encounter at SSKB Stadium this past Sunday afternoon, was all it took BDF XI to win as an out of sorts Gilport Lion’s struggles in front of goal continued unabated.
While Gilport Lions problems in defence can be managed, it is perhaps at the other end where the team’s failures are the most glaring. So far in their eight league outings, Gilport Lions have conceded twelve (12) goals, a record which is even better than that of ninth (9) placed Green Lovers, who hold the worst defensive record, having let in 21 goals so far. Whereas teams like Green Lovers know the path to goal, the same cannot be said of Gilport Lions, who, together with bottom placed Motlakase Power Dynamos, hold the worst conversion rate, having scored a paltry 4 goals each so far this season.
What will be of most concern to Gilport Lions’ technical team is that all the four goals came in two matches, a 3 ÔÇô 1 win over Green Lovers as well as a 1 ÔÇô 4 defeat to Police XI, meaning the team has not scored in the other six matches it has played this season. While creating few chances against a resurgent BDF XI over the weekend, it was perhaps the lack of guile in front of goal that bemused Gilport Lions mentor Paradzayi Mandivenga. “Sometimes football is very cruel. We managed to penetrate BDF, we were there in the box every now and then but if you can’t score, you lose the game,” Mandivenga observed after seeing his team fail to score a goal in as many matches. “I think we need to improve on scoring goals because in every game we create chances but we can’t bury them. In every game we have chances to score, so I think we need to start burying those chances,” Gilport Lions Mandivenga admitted after seeing his team fail to come back from a one goal deficit.
While the army side had dominated proceedings in the first half, creating a plethora of chances which they however failed to convert, it was a different matter altogether for Gilport Lions who, though able to repel BDF XI’s attacks, thanks to goalkeeper Moatlhodi Ndana, seemed to run out of ideas when presented with chances to level matters. With BDF XI failing to capitalise on their dominance, Gilport had a decent chance to level matters in the 45th minute when, against the run of play, Kabelo Mooketsane encroached into the BDF XI box but his feeble effort was easily saved by BDF XI keeper Mwampule Masule and the game went to recess with Gilport Lions a goal down. From recess, it was again BDF XI who seemed the most likely to score but were denied by Lions’ keeper Ndana who seemed to have overcome his first half nerves.
The keeper did his best to keep his team in the tie, as he produced a string of saves to repel the BDF XI attacks. The keeper’s heroics seemed to galvanise Gilport as they attempted a comeback in the last fifteen minutes of the game, but their attackers seemed clueless when in and around the box. BDF XI’s win saw the army side move to third position after a seven games unbeaten run. The win marks a continued upwards trajectory for ‘Matebele,’ whose only loss was a chastening 1 – 4 defeat to Township Rollers in their opening game of the season.
The weekend win and the continued turnaround by BDF XI was welcomed by Matebele coach Beston Chambeshi, who, though not happy with his team’s failure to convert the plethora of chances created, was pleased with his team’s turnaround. “I am happy with the response from the boys. They had to know the working methods of the coach and I am happy with the effort they are putting in training. It’s so far so good and I think we are in the right direction now,” Chambeshi said. Concerning the team’s failure to convert, Chambeshi had this to say, “I have brought in an attacking system where we can kill a game in the first half but we are missing chances. I think we have to work on this so that the boys have confidence to take on that responsibility.”