As the Mascom Premier League battle approaches its climax, all eyes are reverted to the top of the table where teams, such as Ecco City Green and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, are leading the pack. The teams are also in search of re-writing the country?s soccer records since they have never won the league title before.
Although about ten games are left before the 2006/2007 season comes to an end, there is also a fierce battle at the bottom of the league table. Some of the teams that have been campaigning in the elite league for seasons might find themselves condemned to the First Division. The battle is pitting newly arrived Jwaneng Comets against the trio of Tasc, Prisons and Satmos. With the exception of Comets that normally comes for a season or two in the Premier League only to get relegated, Tasc, Prisons and Satmos are Premier League veterans and it would be a big loss if one of them went.
The team that is in a sad state is Satmos. The Selibe Phikwe based side has been struggling for the past three seasons and the relegation axe has always been threatening to chop them off into the First division. The team only managed to survive in the last five games of the season, something that might work against them in the future. This season, again, Satmos are facing the same quagmire. They might find themselves in the lower division if they cannot pull up their socks. Even their new and well-respected coach, Guston Mutobo, is finding it difficult to revive the team?s fortunes. What exacerbates matters is that Mutubo is hospitalised after sustaining injuries in a car accident last weekend.
It would also be a big blow to Selibe Phikwe town because it has only one other team. Nico United would be left. Last season, another team from Phikwe, Mosquito, returned to the lower division after only one season. There is also no guarantee for two Selibe Phikwe teams in the Northern First Division to gain promotion to the elite league. The two representatives, Mosquito and Red Lions, are finding the going tough, and there is a possibility that they might even get a chop to the second division.
Acting coach of Satmos, Mooketsi ?China? Mading, is even worried about the circumstances facing Satmos. Mading, however, promised that he would try his utmost to turn the tables like he did in previous seasons.
?We are facing an uphill battle at the club because coach Mutobo is admitted at the hospital,? said Mading. ?I was forced to come back because we are in an undesirable position. It would not be easy, but I will, however, try with whatever it takes to help the team survive the chop. Many games are still left and we can make it.?
He also said the team is struggling because they are unable to pay their players allowances due to lack of sponsorship. Mading, who also once donned national team jersey as number one goalkeeper, emphasised that the end of last year?s transfer window affected them a lot because they lost four of their key players and most of the current squad is inexperienced. He said if their former players like Senjoba and Botlhe Bolofete were still at the team they would not be in the same predicament they find themselves in now. In 1998, when Satmos gained promotion to the elite league for the first time, they won a tournament and the following year they qualified for the finals of the lucrative Coca Cola Cup where they lost to Mogoditshane Fighters.
Since the death of the founding father, Sam Sono, things have been different at the team as they struggle season after season. Some of the big names that once played for Satmos include the likes of Tiroyamodimo Mohambi and Barry Hangunyu, who are at BMC and Township Rollers, respectively.
If one of either Prisons XI or Tasc goes down, it would also be bad news for the soccer fraternity.
Prisons XI is seen as a sole representative of the Prisons department. Despite being seasoned campaigners of the Premier League, they have not achieved anything to write home about. Their only achievement was being the runners up in the league in 1993 and then reaching the semifinals of the Coca-Cola Cup during the same season.
Internal wrangling seems to be the main problem at Tasc, the team that has produced many great players and coaches in the country. If they also tumble it would be sad for Francistown City because another Francistown team, Tafic, only just got promoted last season.