Orapa United made their intent to compete for league honours with a 4 – 0 thrashing of Green Lovers this past Friday. Buoyed by Lemogang Maswena’s hat trick and a Patrick Lenyeletse strike, ‘The Ostriches’ registered what was their biggest winning margin of this season. Aside from keeping the team’s undefeated home record intact, the win was the eighth of the season for the Orapa based outfit. The team has also lost only one game and drawn four from the thirteen games played so far this season. Of the eight wins, six were at home, while two were away. Of their four draws, three were played away while only one was at home.
Despite the last week’s win, which saw Orapa move to second spot on the league log, local football commentators and scribes still believe it is early to presume Orapa United as title contenders. According to local football commentator Monty Gaomokgwa, while the team is poised to make it into the top four, “it is still a dark horse in the title race.”
“There is no doubt that as a team, they have improved tremendously. This time around last season, they were nowhere near the top of the league and they only made inroads towards the end of the season. This season, they have come into the race early and therefore have thrown their hat into the contention race,” Gaomokgwa opined. He, however, said despite this, it is early to point to the team as real league contenders. He pointed to the team’s away form as not indicative of a real title contender. “Unlike teams like Township Rollers, who win both home and away, Orapa United are bad travelers and that is not what you expect from league contenders. So far this season, of the six games they played away, they have won only two, drawn three and lost one. This is different from their form at home where they have won six games and drawn one. You cannot win the league based on your home form only, you also have to win away,” Gaomokgwa said.
The local commentator, however, said with the experienced old hand of Madinda Ndlovu steering the ship, it will be folly to completely rule out Orapa United. The same sentiments were echoed by local sports scribe Duncan Kgangkenna. “Considering that we are still in the first round of the league, I think it is early to point to them as genuine league contenders. However, we should give them credit at how they have performed. This team is relatively new to the elite league but they have acquitted themselves well, finishing second last year and being on the second spot so early this season as well,” Kgangkenna said.
As with Gaomokgwa, the local scribe feels with title winning Ndlovu at the helm, the team has a chance of going all the way. “Madinda is a very ambitious coach and will push them as far as possible. I believe the players also look up to him for guidance as a father figure and this would give them motivation,” Kgangkenna said.