Sunday, May 16, 2021

Resurgent Toronto target Top 8 finish

When the beMOBILE Premier League went for the Christmas break, Notwane supporters were a bunch of demoralised people as their side had been huffing and puffing. It was as if their side were the facing the prospect of relegation, just like in the previous seasons. Things did not improve when they returned to action in January with consecutive losses to Gaborone United and Police XI. But the month of February saw a lot of changes with Notwane labouring a 1-0 win over Extension Gunners on February 1 at SSKB Stadium. While their celebrations were cut short by the unceremonious departure of South African-born coach Calvin Petersen who joined Gunners, a team he had plotted its downfall two days earlier. The management did not despair and immediately sought solace from their former players Tlhalefang Mogorosi and Fabian Zulu.

The pair were given the task of leading the team until the end of the season. That change in personnel seems to have worked wonders for Toronto as their side has now gone five matches under the new broom without a loss. They have registered two wins and three draws under Mogorosi and Zulu with the famous 1-0 win over defending champions Township Rollers, amongst others. With relegation out of the way for the Botswana sleeping giants, resurgent Notwane are now eyeing finishing inside the Top 8 bracket when the League comes to an end on May 17. Ahead of their match against Letlapeng at Lobatse Sports Stadium tonight, Toronto have accumulated 27 points from 23 matches and they are just six points outside the Top 8 bracket.  It was their hard-fought 3-3 stalemate against Sankoyo Bush Bucks on March 21 which has given their technical team confidence that their side has the character to finish on a high.

“The team has improved in terms of performance and credit has to go to the players who have grown in terms of confidence since we took over. In Maun, we were trailing 3-1 with 12 minutes remaining and we managed to score two goals to steal a point. It is this kind of character which would make any coach proud. If we show the same mentality in the remaining (seven) matches, I’ve no doubt that we can finish inside top 8. The good thing is that five of our opponents are in the bottom half with us,” said Mogorosi. He added that when they were tasked with leading the team last month, they sat the players down and exchanged notes. “They have been lots of positives since then. The previous technical team did a good job, it is quite unfortunate the results were not what was expected. The good thing is that most of our players are youngsters who are good listeners. I must say that they are fighters who compete strongly with any side irrespective of their position,” he continued. The arrival of Zambian marksman Zebron Njobvu in January has also worked wonders for Toronto. He has managed to score five goals in the six matches he has played so far and Mogorosi believes that his striker has what it takes to score more in the remaining matches. “He is a goal getter and it is his attitude which makes him even more dangerous,” boasted the coach. Mogorosi has also showered the club’s supporters with lots of praises.

“Notwane supporters are extra-special. They’ve been fantastic in the games we’ve played here and that is what we need to achieve more positive results. I was surprised to see a large number of our supporters in Maun. It was really touching because even┬áwhen things were not going our way they kept rallying behind the team. We could not afford to disappoint them,” he said. Notwane’s remaining matches: Letlapeng (away), Nico United (home), ECCO City Greens (away), BMC (home), Orapa United (away), Motlakase (away) and FC Satmos (home).

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