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United show Oris and Drago the door, await a Dutchman

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Coach Dragojlo Stanojlovic still cannot believe what befell him over the past festive break. The ink had hardly dried on his two-year contract with Gaborone United, but the club ruthlessly fired him from his positions as Technical Director and stand-in coach.

His fate was actually sealed a few days before New Year’s Day but the killer blow on him was delivered this week. The nomadic Serbian,  formerly with Extension Gunners and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, was reportedly brought into the Reds’ fold by United’s director and financier Nicolas Zakhem a season ago to serve as Technical Director while buying  time as the club was preparing  to get rid of the then club mentor  Rahman Gumbo who was later fired. 

Later the Serbian assumed the reigns under unclear circumstances with club officials failing to come out in the open on who between him and their then new recruit  Oris Boyo Radipotsane was the coach. Boyo  had joined United  after being fired by premiership rookies  Galaxy FC for poor results. At one point many thought that Drago was just paving way for Boyo to take over the reins for the next season, but the latter was fired as well.

Many United supporters have taken to social media to criticize United’s management  for firing Drago, saying the man could have been retained to assist as part of the technical team. Despite one heavy 4-0 loss against an unprepared and disjointed Nico United, he was still seen as what the doctor had ordered for the struggling Money Machine, based on his hard work and passion for the game.

United have also been bundled out of the prestigious Mascom Top 8 cup they were defending after winning it last season. Since winning the inaugural beMobile Premier League championship, United have been an inconsistent side characterised by infighting, further renowned for chopping and changing coaches in a short space of time.

Many times the excuse is hinged upon the failure of coaches to win titles whereas the overriding factor is often the internal wrangling that always works against the club’s success on the field.

In their usual demeanor, the United management was over the weekend denying the sacking of their coaches, saying there was no substance in what he called ‘rumours.’ This past weekend, Chairman Rapula Okaila dismissed the sacking of their coaches as just talk without substance, but that was hours before they would officially sack the Serbian. Yet the club is due to  kick start their pan African campaign in the CAF Confederations Cup.

However, the same weekend, fresh reports were suggesting that United could be taken over by Dutchman Mart Nooij. The 61-year old has vast experience working with clubs and national teams on the African continent having first come to Africa in 2003 as Burkina Faso national under 23 team coach and led them to FIFA World Youth Championship.

Still in Africa four years later, he assumed the reins in Mozambique as national team coach where in his five year-stint he qualified them to the 2010 AFCON finals in Angola only for him to resign after failing to qualify the Mambas to the 2012 finals. 

Sources close to the events have hinted to Sun Sports that Nooij will come along with an unnamed Serbian physical trainer who is currently based in Zambia. United have since parted ways with Radipotsane as well and a surprised Drago says he will stay on in the country with the hope of finding another team.

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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko

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ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff

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BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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