Gaborone United (GU) put up a brave fight to beat their hoodoo side Notwane 2-1 in a scrappy beMobile Premier League match which was played at the SSKB Stadium in Mogoditshane on Sunday afternoon. A brace from Namibian striker, Benson Shilongo, was enough to hand the Reds the much needed maximum points while Ndobani Mothuba scored the consolation goal for Notwane.
It was a sweet revenge for the Reds who lost 3-2 to Toronto in the opening game of the current season at UB Stadium. The win leaves the Reds on the fifth spot with 28 points from 16 games and nine points adrift of log leaders Township Rollers. At the end of the game, GU supporters clad in their famous red and white colours erupted into song and dance to celebrate an end to their suffering.
GU came into the game with purpose and it did not take long before Shilongo opened the scoring in the second minute taking advantage of sloppy defending from their opponents. After huffing and puffing in the opening stanza, Notwane managed to find an equaliser in the 54th minute through defender Mothuba, but Shilongo restored their lead minutes later when he headed home from close range and sealed the deal for the Reds. The Namibian striker could not finish the game as he was rushed to the Princess Marina Hospital after he was bit by the ball on the eye. He was attended and released on the same day.
He later posted on his facebook page that he is feeling good. In a post-match interview, GU head coach Rahman Gumbo was satisfied with the results considering that they have just returned from the Christmas break. He said some of the players are still lacking in fitness hence they failed to live up to the expectations of the supporters. “We scored in the second minute and created three or four chances but we failed to bury them. We could have finished off our opponents in the first half.
Notwane came back strongly in the second half but I must give credit to my boys because they showed lots of character. But like I said, there is a need to work on the fitness of the boys in order to achieve our targets,” said Gumbo.
When Shilongo was ferried to the hospital, many GU fans thought Gumbo would introduce Zimbabwean striker Tendai Nyamadzawo but the technical team opted for holding midfielder Kabo Rasuping. But Gumbo said his reasons were justified, “he (Nyamadzawo) has just returned from a long injury and I didn’t want to rush him. This coming weekend he might get a run depending on the situation.”
The good news for the Reds is that captain Edwin Olerile will be available for the next fixture having recovered from injury. The loss leaves Notwane on the 10th spot with 17 points and they tackle Police XI in their next match to be played at SSKB Stadium on Sunday. Meanwhile, on the same day in Serowe, rookies Sankoyo Bush Bucks continued their good run in the topflight football when they narrowly beat Motlakase 1-0 in a match which was played before a paltry crowd.
The only goal of the match was scored by Gaongalelwe Dipateletso in the first half. The Philani Mabena-coached side is placed ninth on the log with 24 points and will welcome FC Satmos at Maun Sports Stadium on Saturday.