Orapa United booked themselves a debut appearance in the finals of the Mascom Top 8 tournament after dispatching BDF XI through a penalty shootout in the semi finals. It was a turbulent week for Orapa United as their assistant coach was rushed to hospital after sustaining an injury when they lost to title rivals in a league game; but the team had a reason to celebrate as they secured a maiden appearance in the Mascom Top 8 finals.
“This is not really a happy moment for us, but a fitting get-well present for our assistant coach who could not be with us today. The boys were unrelenting because they knew they had to give something to their assistant coach,” said a visibly emotional Madinda Ndlovu, Orapa United coach after the game.
It was a rocky path to the finals for Orapa United as they had to fight hard to fend off a relentless BDF XI. After dominating the first half of what Ndlovu termed a game of two halves, The Ostriches found themselves backed against the wall as BDF XI piled pressure in the second half and extra time through to the nerve wrecking penalty shootouts. Ndlovu’s charges started the game on a front footing; piling pressure on their opponents from the first whistle and scoring the first goal in the 25th minute as Ronald Chikomo slotted Thabang Mosige’s low cross into the box.
However, Orapa failed to score more goals and both teams went to recess with The Ostriches just a goal ahead. From recess, it was BDF XI who came back the better of the two sides as they went in search of a comeback goal. The goal came in the 52nd minute through a thunderous shot by Bitwel Phiri. While both teams created some decent chances, wayward finishing and some good goalkeeping prevented either of them from scoring and the game went into extra time. The extra time also yielded no goals for both teams and the game went into penalties. While Orapa scored their first three penalties, BDF XI missed their third as Pelontle Lerole smashed his effort into the crossbar. Orapa United then held on to score their two remaining penalties and eventually win the shootout 5 – 3 and 7 -5 overall following the two teams’ two one all draws in the first and second legs of their semifinal encounter. For his part, BDF XI coach Beston Chambeshi said he was happy with the way his team played as they showed character throughout the 120 minutes of the game.
“I am happy with how my boys reacted to the game today. We planned well, but we just have to accept defeat. We did put up a great fight,” he said.
BDF XI: Masule, Koziba Tlhabano, Othusitse Mpharitlhe, Keolopile Molemi, Mosha Gaolaolwe (Lerole), Bitwell Phiri, Keleagetse Mogomotsi, Bonolo Phuduhudu (Ofentse Mmipi), Patrick Kaunda, Takunda Sadiki, Kumbulani Madziba
Orapa United: Robert, Kealeboga Molebatsi, Patrick Motsepe, Lesenya Ramoraka, Thabang Mosige, Olekantse Mambo, Mgcini Sibanda, Bonolo Fraiser (Onkabetse Makgantai), Patrick Lenyeletse, Lemogang Maswena (Lovemore Murirwa), Ronald Chikomo.