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All eyes on Tsotso Ngele tonight

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Coach Major David Bright and goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe are convinced that given enough game time and opportunity, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele could prove  to be the game changer in tonight’s encounter between Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout final.

Botswana’s lone ranger in South African premier league is expected to feature for his mega rich outfit Mamelodi Sundowns as they meet their feared rivals from Soweto at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Ngele rose to stardom under this cup when he scored twice in Mbombela after coming on as a substitute for Platinum Stars when they beat Orlando Pirates. After his two late goals scored in the 79th and 88 minutes, big clubs began jostling for his signature with Mamelodi Sundowns becoming his final destination.

In the last season he featured in the final for his former club against Supersport United but they lost 3-2. In that final he scored the second goal after coming in as a substitute. His form in the past competitions has always left many football fans asking for more.

In the recent semi-finals against Free State Stars he opened the scoring floodgates before making two assists in their 6-1 memorable victory. Pitso Mosimane will be looking to the highly technically-gifted Botswana’s bogeyman to replicate his yesteryear’s form that saw Platinum Stars lifting the coveted trophy and breaking the hearts of Pirates supporters.

Against Chiefs, Mosimane is facing his longtime friend whom he had previously employed as his assistant during his reign as Bafana Bafana coach. Steve Kompela is under pressure to win silverware for his glamour club which has broken its old culture of not believing in South African local coaches.

Kompela stumbled in the MTN 8 final when his club was white-washed by the youthful Ajax Cape Town side in September. Another loss would certainly reduce his days at Naturena. Despite Sundowns boasting equally talented stars, Ngele remains the most influential man and could prove to be the difference tonight.

He knows and understands the taste of success in this particular competition already at individual level. He won Telkom Player of the Tournament and a cool R200 000 price in the process. He was the second Motswana to win the coveted prize after Joel Mogorosi had won it with Bloemfontein Celtic after leading it to victory against the same Sundowns in the finals.

Ngele’s former teammate at Platinum Stars Kabelo Dambe who was present in both finals when they won in Mbombela and when they lost against Supersport United, feels that if Ngele could be given enough game time he will punish Kaizer Chiefs. Dambe is now with Township Rollers. “He is a talented player. If given enough playing time against Chiefs he will score. He must not be brought in when the game is already dead. He needs time to read the game and know where to exploit the situation,” he said.

Major David Bright, currently coaching first division outfit Thanda Royal Zulu in South Africa, also shares the sentiments. “It will depend on how Pitso wants to use him. He is very skillful he will score goals if he can play him alongside Hlompho Kekana and Bongani Zungu who will mark and protect him so that he plays behind false No.9,” Bright told Sun Sports from his home base in Richards Bay, Kwazulu Natal.

Tsotso, Botswana’s brightest star, is expected to keep supporters on the edge of their seats with his vast skills. A lot will be itching for a tussle between Tsotso and the stubborn Chiefs defence manned by the towering Eric Mothoho and Ivan Bukenya. Ngele was quoted in South African media saying Chiefs should be very worried because “We want to win titles.”

Should Ngele score and help his team win this cup it will set a new record for his coach who will be the first coach in ABSA premiership to have won all the cups in his coaching history during PSL era while his opponent Kompela will be aiming to win his first-ever cup as a coach.

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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