Orapa United coach Madinda Ndlovu and his charges were left pondering on what could have been had their goal not been ruled for offside, as they ceded second spot to title rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
A solitary strike by Tendai Nyumasi in the 78th minute was enough to derail Orapa United’s title campaign and boost Chiefs’ as they climbed up a notch to stay on the coat tails of log leaders Township Rollers, while Orapa fell to third position. While Chiefs won the match after dominating much of the game, the Kgatleng outfit nearly found itself a goal behind in the 52nd minute when Patrick Lenyeletse fired a shot past Chiefs keeper Mompoloki Sephekolo.
However, his celebration was cut short by the shrill of the referee’s whistle that blew him for offside, much to the chagrin of Orapa gaffer Ndlovu and his charges.
“That goal changed the complexion of the game totally,” opined Ndlovu.
Though he felt hard done by the coach’s decision and the eventual loss, Ndlovu remains optimistic that his team will maintain its challenge for the Premier League title. Meanwhile, Chiefs gaffer Mike Sithole, while happy with the win, was also left to rue the lack of striking force at his team after his players missed a number of gilt edged chances. In the absence top striker Onalethata Tshekiso who is out with injury, Sithole deployed his captain and winger, Pontsho Moloi as a striker. While he led the line admirably, Moloi’s partnership with Senatla Molefe and Lemponye Tshireletso at the front failed to yield goals that reflected the chances they carved throughout the ninety minutes of play. In a dominant first half display, Tshireletso had an opportunity to put Chiefs ahead as early as the 16th minute when he found himself face to face with Orapa keeper Mosimanegape Robert after being set on goal by Molefe; but the winger shot straight at the keeper. The other chance fell to Moloi in the 31st minute when Molefe nodded the ball into his path after an interplay with Tshireletso, only for the substitute striker to hesitate and see his eventual shot being turned into a corner by Robert.
“With the number of one on one chances we created, we should have been able to get an insurance goal rather than labour to a one goal win,” said Sithole.
He however said he was happy with the way his players had coped throughout a season in which the team was bereft of depth.
“Because of the glaring lack of depth we have had to improvise; deploying players out of their customary positions; just as you saw us playing a skipper and winger as strikers,” he said.
Chiefs: Sephekolo, Othusitse Pilane, Kaelo Kgaswane, Thato Kebue, Keabetswe Jenamiso, Lesego Galenamotlhale, Molefhe (Thatayaone Ramatlapeng), Arnold Mampori, Moloi (Lesego Molemogi), Nyumasi, Tshireletso
Orapa: Robert, Kealeboga Molebatsi, Lesenya Ramoraka, Olekantse Mambo, Mgcini Sibanda, Patrick Motsepe, Bonolo Fraizer (Thabang Sesinyi), Thabang Mosige, Ronald Chikomo (Lovemore Murirwa), Patrick Lenyeletse, Lemogang Maswena (Onkabetse Makgantai)