Nico United players left the Selebi Phikwe Stadium on Saturday night disappointed after they were bundled out of the Mascom Top 8 tournament at the expense of the visiting side Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
Despite beating Chiefs 2-0, it was not enough to book Majombolo a place in the semi-finals. Chiefs won the two-legged tie 5-4 on aggregate having won the first leg played in Gaborone.
It was a day when the home side did everything right but did not get enough goals which could have sent them through.┬á After almost 25 minutes of delay to kick off to allow supporters entry into the stadium, Majombolo made a perfect start to the game with countless forays into the Chiefs’ area.┬á
Just like in their league defeat to Mogoditshane Fighters, Chiefs’ rearguard was caught in sixes and sevens whenever Nico were on the attack.
Majombolo’s flowing football was a marvel to watch, especially when they were on attack. It was colourful midfielder Topo Piet who gave his side an advantage with a brace in the first half. The goals spurred Nico on but they could not stretch the lead.
For the entire first half, Chiefs’ supporters were on the edge of their seats as their side was torn apart by their opponents. With skipper Monametsi ‘Sunday’ Kelebale manning the defence, Nico were in an uncompromising mood.┬á
The massive support they enjoyed also boosted the team clad in gold and green. At the break with Nico leading 2-0, Chiefs’ supporters were counting their losses and trying to find a solution.
Sensing trouble, Chiefs’ coach Madinda Ndlovu introduced Joel Mogorosi and Thabiso Khunwane at the start of the second half.
The presence of Khunwane brought stability to their defence while Mogorosi added the pressure in their attack. ┬áChiefs tried hard to get an away goal but it did not happen.
When referee Mooketsi Mbegwa blew the final whistle, Chiefs’ supporters sighed a huge relief as they kissed and hugged. It was the most traumatic games for Chiefs’ supporters who have been used to winning.
“We played badly in the first half and our opponents took advantage. Nico deserved to win the game,” said Ndlovu.┬á“We looked better in the second half after we made some substitutions but still we failed to get the goals. I think we did ourselves justice by winning the first leg 5-2 because we could have been in trouble.”
While he is disappointed that his side failed to book a place in the semis, Nico coach Elijah Chikwanda was proud of his charges.
“We did our best; it’s only that we didn’t score the three goals we needed to proceed to the next round. I’m proud of my boys,” he said. ┬á
Chiefs join Gaborone United, Township Rollers and ECCO City Greens in the semis.