Gaborone United (GU) coach, Major David Bright, lived up to his renowned expectations of being the master tactician, when his team won the Mascom Top Eight tournament. GU beat, BDF XI 2-1 to be the champions in a match they dictated terms for the most part.
Before the finals, many people gave BDF XI a chance, looking at the quality of players they have and the way they played en-route to the finals. The current BDF XI squad is also seen as one of the best they have had for the past decade. But during the finals, the match was won on the benches where Bright was facing his former player and understudy, Letang ‘Rasta’ Kgwengwenyane, who is one of the rising local coaches. Bright indeed taught Kgwengwenyane a lesson as his team became the second to win the P1 Million tournament after Township Rollers.
Bright’s tactics forced BDF XI’s solid defence, manned by Mompati Thuma and Ndiapo Letsholathebe, to time again play out of their positions. The players who caused havoc were Tebogo Sembowa, Moemedi ‘Jomo’ Moatlhaping and Kgololo Leteane. This in turn gave GU danger man, Ronald Chikomo, to easily launch attacks and it was not surprising when he scored his team’s second goal.
Sembowa had earlier on put his team ahead from a header right in front of towering Thuma. Other BDF XI danger men, Lemponye Tshireletso, Ofentse Mmipi and Boitumelo Mafoko could also not play their normal game and that in turn rendered the striking force ineffective.
BDF XI were dealt a severe blow when their trusted goalkeeper, Michael Pepukani, was sent off deep in the second half after a foul play that resulted in a penalty. Substitute goalkeeper, Bugalo Gunda, did not disappoint as he twice saved the penalty from Sembowa after a re-take was ordered. Just on the stroke of the final minute, BDF XI scored a consolation goal via substitude, Francis Kanda.
After the match, BDF XI coach, Kgengwenyane, did not want to be drawn into the sending off of the goalkeeper. He said the outcome of the game is a collective team effort.
For Bright it was all smiles and he heaped praises on his players for a job well done. He said his team was well prepared for BDF XI and his tactics worked well against Matebele, as BDF XI is affectionately known.
By winning the tournament, GU won something to console themselves and avoid a barren season.
BDF XI on the other hand has to go back to the drawing boards, but if they keep all their players for next season, they can be a force to reckon with and might win silverware.