Mochudi Centre Chiefs begin the race to defend their Premier League title when they entertain newly-promoted FC Satmos at the Selebi-Phikwe Stadium this afternoon.
On paper, it is a match which Chiefs are expected to win without any hassles. Without doubt all eyes will be on the Kgatleng giants to see if they will be able to win their third consecutive title come the end of the season. As the eight-months marathon kicks off, Chiefs’ new coach, Dragojlo Stanojlovic, comes under scrutiny from many football pundits but he has received a lot of protection from his employers ahead of what promises to be a thrilling campaign.
Though Chiefs’ chairman, Ernest Molome, has hinted that their intention is to retain the league title, he was quick to point out that they will not put Stanojlovic under unnecessary pressure to deliver their third consecutive championship.
The Serbian-born tactician arrived at Magosi last month to replace Zimbabwean Madinda Ndlovu who won has won the previous two league titles. Ndlovu has since joined traditional rivals Township Rollers leaving the Serbian-born with a huge task of ensuring that the league title remains in the Chiefs’ trophy cabinet.
Speaking to this publication on Friday afternoon, Molome said, “We have not set a clear mandate for the coach because we’ve to take into consideration that this is his first time in Botswana football. He has to adjust to our environment and it will be unfair to expect miracles from him in his debut season.”
Stanojlovic has got off to a flying start with two pre-season titles. On August 17 Chiefs won the Kabelano Charity Cup beating Extension Gunners 2-0 in a thrilling final at Lobatse Stadium.
On Wednesday night, Stanojlovic watched from the sidelines as his side overcame stubborn Gaborone United side 4-3 on penalties in the Super Cup at UB Stadium.
Both sides were locked at 2-2 after 120 minutes of play. But these are just two pre-season titles and they will be not considered if Chiefs go home empty-handed at the end of the season which kicked off on Friday night.
“As much as the coach is new, I want to believe that we have players who can fight for titles in the coming season. We have strengthened our squad with quality players who have won titles at their previous clubs. So they’re coming with a winning mentality which will make the job for the coach much easier,” added Molome.
As they begin their campaign this afternoon, it is the new recruit, Lemponye Tshireletso, who is expected to spearhead their search for titles. Tshireletso has shown some signs of brilliance during the Super Cup which was played on Wednesday night. He did not only score the second goal but also won the man-of-match award which saw him pocketing P10,000 on the night.