Monday, June 14, 2021

Notwane, BR Highlanders back to the Premier League

Notwane players have shaken the dust of the First Division League off their soccer boots and Head Coach Davis Kopi is now casting his eyes towards preparing for the rigours of the Botswana Premier League (BPL).

Kopi, who along with Keitumetse Paul oversaw Notwane’s rise from the ashes or is it ‘the dust’ (ko leroleng) as first division is sarcastically referred to, now have the unenviable task of ensuring the team’s survival in the BPL beyond next season.

“We now have to go and sit down with the executive committee to decide where we can improve this team. There are a couple of positions that need beefing up,” a jubilant Kopi said after seeing his team regain promotion to the BPL.

After two seasons in the Debswana First Division South League (DFDSL), Notwane finally made its long awaited return to Botswana’s football elite league over the weekend.

‘Sechaba,’ as Notwane is affectionately known, returned to the elite league in style with three goals against Mochudi Rovers, a clean sheet to boot, and a game to spare.

Playing away and in front of an expectant capacity crowd at the Mochudi Rovers ground, Notwane, who needed just a draw to seal promotion, took control of proceedings from the onset.

Their early persistence was duly rewarded on the 12th minute when Thapelo Boti put them in control with a well timed tap in.

From then onwards, it was a nervy nail biting game for the Notwane supporters, who, with full knowledge that one goal was not enough, had to see their team hold on to their slender lead until recess.

If there were any lingering doubts that it was not yet Uhuru for Notwane, they were all sufficiently dispelled in the second half.

Seven minutes from recess, it was all unbridled joy for Sechaba supporters, who burst in song as Falkirk Shabane’s well taken shot kissed the back of the net.

By the time Tlhalefo Molebatsi scored the third and final goal, champagnes had been taken off ice and Champions t-shirts out of the kit bags as Notwane celebrated a long awaited Premier league return.

Still in the DFDSL, Notwane’s closest rivals, Prisons XI, had to settle for a playoff spot despite beating Red Sparks 2 ÔÇô 0.

It was more or less a pyrrhic victory for ‘The Warders,’ who could have had a chance at promotion, had Notwane lost their game.

In the Debswana First Division North League (DFDNL), Mahalapye based BR Highlanders made a shot turn left back to the BPL just a season after relegation. Highlanders beat Great North Tigers 1 ÔÇô 0 to ensure automatic promotion to the BPL.

Meanwhile, the battle for a playoffs spot between Sowa Flamingoes and Motlakase Power Dynamos is poised to go down to the wire.

With just a single game to go before curtains come down in the DFDNL, only a single point separates Flamingoes and Motlakase, who are sitting second and third with 41 points and 40 points in the DFDNL league log respectively.

The playoffs battle between the two teams will come to a head this weekend with Sua Flamingoes hosting Great North Tigers while Motlakase will take a short trip to Mahalapye for a date with Mahalapye United Hotspurs.

These will be must win games for both the two teams, and a loss or draw for either team will bring to an end their promotion pursuit.

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