October 13 is the day that Notwane’s attacking midfielder, Keoagetse ‘Barnes’ Radipotsane, will never forget. He missed a glorious chance for the national team, Zebras, in an important away game against Egypt. Striker Diphetogo Selolwane made a good run on the right side after eluding Egyptian defenders and laid a perfect pass to Radipotsane who shot straight at an advancing Egyptian goalkeeper. Although such mistakes do happen in football, many supporters and some quarters of the media vilified Barnes for fluffing an opportunity with the goalkeeper at his mercy and while the defenders were nowhere to be seen. Had Radipotsane scored, there were chances for Botswana to make their maiden appearance at next years’ Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana. The chance, for that matter, came at a time when Egypt were all over the Zebras looking for a victory.
Other people thought Radipotsane might have been deeply affected by the miss and thought it would take him some time to recover psychologically. But Notwane’s burly man looks to have put the incident behind him quickly because he is in red hot form. He scored his second brace of the season on Friday at the National Stadium when Notwane trounced trouble-torn Lobtrans Gunners 3-2. The brace comes barely two weeks after he performed a miracle against Premier League giants, Township Rollers, in a game that ended in a two all draw. Against Gunners, Radipotsane was a man to watch in the middle of the pack together with industrious Dirang Moloi.
He levelled the matters for Gunners just two minutes after Gunners took the lead. The ball bounced from far in the left corner and found him unmarked and he easily slotted home. Midway through the second half, Radipotsane netted from a controversial penalty after their Zimbabwean striker, Fortune Nyambosa, was brought down. The referee adjudged that Nyambosa was roughly tacked inside the box while many supporters were adamant that it was outside the box.
Notwane scored the third goal through substitute Kaelo Mashiakgomo after a beautiful run that left Gunners goalie, Ali Moremi, flummoxed. Gunners on the other hand scored their first goal also via a penalty from Kemmy Pilato. Tiroyamodimo Mohambi scored the second goal a few minutes before full time and it was a little too late for them.
The loss by Lobtrans Gunners has pushed them a little down the log and many people have already started to write their obituary. Although problems are normally seen as temporary detours, for Gunners that seems not to be the case.
Gunners have been avoiding the dreaded relegation axe by a whisker for the past ten years and it would not be surprising if the same situation surfaces once again this season. Gunners do not have players experienced enough to guide the crop of youngsters. This became evident after Notwane took the lead from a controversial penalty. Most of the players lost morale and played lethargically. That resulted in Notwane’s third goal. The only senior player is Tiroyamodimo Mohambi but his main short coming is his height. He needs to partner with some one who is a bit taller to compensate for his height. His strong point still remains his long range shorts which he takes with ease. Credit must also go to a Notwane that is full of youngsters. They are led by elder payers such as Mpoeleng ‘Stopper’ Mpoeleng and Agisanyang ‘Barcos’ Mosimanegape. Youngsters such as Kutlo Sejeso, Oreeditse Modise and Mashiakgomo are future prospects of the team.
Mashiakgomo is the most troublesome, especially with his speed on the right wing. Most Gunners defenders struggled to contain him. As usual, Gunners supporters came in their numbers to cheer their team that last won the League championship medal in 1994. If they are to finish in a reputable position, Gunners need to open their cheque book next December’s transfer window or else they might find themselves in the First Division.