Monday, February 26, 2024

Thrilling season looms

As is always the case ahead of the new season, several teams broke their bank balances to buy the best players on the market.

What is, however, certain is that so-called big teams have indeed reinforced their current squads and it looks certain that Botswana’s Premier League is heading for a thrilling season.

It is a bit difficult to predict the clear favourites, as was the case last season.
Last season, it was clear from the onset that Mochudi Centre Chiefs were destined for the championships because they brought on board the best talent in this country.

Chiefs signing spree even led to some teams complaining that the Kgatleng-based outfit was using dirty tactics to recruit their players. Currently, Chiefs have since reinforced their team by acquiring the services of hard man, Michael Mogaladi.

Mohaladi is doing duty for the Zebras and just returned from South African outfit, Maritzburg United.
Chiefs have also strengthened their attacking force by registering former Rollers player and Zebras man, Moemedi ‘Jomo’ Moatlhaping.

A bit of concern is in the goalkeeping department where Noah Maposa is unchallenged. They have not registered any top goalkeeper who will keep Maposa on his toes.

During suspensions and injuries, the team may suffer a bit. Township Rollers, Notwane and Gaborone United (GU), and Extension Gunners are some of the teams that have indeed sharpened their arsenal and finishing on top is going to be a hard fought battle.

Rollers have since beefed up their defence after losing Gabriel Bokhutlo and Boniface Makolo to GU. They have also acquired the services of former Tasc top marksman, Terrence Mandaza, and midfield dynamo, Tebogo Mothusi.
After another striker, Bernard Simakwenzi, struggled for the most part of last season, Mandaza is seen as good news to complement him. Mothusi, on the other hand, would help in the midfield with his defence splitting passes and runs.

Notwane had problems with their defence last season, but it looks as if that will now be a thing of the past following the high profile signing of Moreetsi Mosimanyana from Police XI.
Mosimanyana made a name for himself at the national Under 23 and has since broken into the national team.

Notwane further reinforced their defence by signing another Tasc defender, Nelson Sefedile, who also once played for the national Under 20.
Jackie Mothatego, from Uniao Flamengo Santos, is one player who is destined to contribute immensely to the Toronto boys.

Meanwhile, GU is definitely a team to watch this season, especially when we look at their defence and strike force.
They have solved their goalkeeping crisis by poaching Raphel Nthwaane from Santos.

The duo of Boitumelo Kediseng and Kgosietsile Senjoba failed to command their places and, at times, conceded what looked like silly goals.
GU made a major scoop by signing former Rollers defenders, Bokhutlo and Makolo. The duo made the nucleus of Botswana’s national Under 23 as they did at Rollers. Why they ended up leaving is a question many Rollers supporters are asking.
Both players are seen as future Zebras men on the flanks.

Makolo is seen as a rare gem because he is a naturally left footed player.
GU further strengthened their attack by signing last season’s second leading goal scorer, Tiroyamodimo Mohambi. He will work hand in hand with powerful Zimbabwean striker, Sageby Sandaka.
When Sandaka arrived two seasons ago, he came with a bang and finished among the leading goals corers, despite arriving in the second round.

It was, however, not smooth sailing for Sandaka last season as he suffered an injury that ruled him out for a few months. When he returned from injury, he struggled to rediscover his form.
Gunners are touted by many people as a team to watch this season. Many admired them after watching them narrowly losing to Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the quarter finals of the Coca Cola Cup.

After the match, some commentators said the better team lost. Nevertheless, if their performance is any yardstick, the ‘Peleng Boys’ might go back to their glorious years of the early 90s when they won the league three times consecutively.

Although Gunners have not signed big names they have found influential players who are hungry for success.
The only big names in the team are Abednico Powell and Monametsi ‘Sunday’ Kelebale.

BDF XI coach, Stanley Mwaanga, on the other hand, also believes that this season is going to be one of the most thrilling ones. He said the massive signings of players by the teams shows that football in the country is growing and teams are serious.

He, however, cautioned that signing big names does not guarantee success.
“After signing players, it is now all about combinations and coordinations. If that does not work there is no way a team can succeed,” he said.
Mwaanga also promised that his team would also fight hard this season to redeem their pride.


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