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Top 8 fever hits Ghetto

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The Francistown Sports Complex is expected to attract over 20 000 spectators during the Mascom Top 8 Final on 3rd March. The Top 7th edition final will be played at the twenty-six thousand seater facility for the third consecutive time when the popular Township Rollers collide with Orapa United .The facility is the largest sports venue in the country, attracted over 15 000 spectators when Jwaneng Galaxy beat Orapa United 4-3 in last year’s Top 8 final. The modern facility boast of an impressive pitch and an electric atmosphere during high profile games like the Top 8 final. In recent years, the facility has hosted thrilling matches that often conclude in a nail biting fashion. The final game will be the third consecutive final to be hosted at the city of Francistown.

The first final was between Orapa United and Township Rollers in the 2015/2016 edition in which Orapa United pulled a major upset against Popa. Once again, the facility located in the Madzibalori area of Francistown has beat the archaic National Stadium in Gaborone to host the Tse di Tona tournament decider. Speaking at a Press Conference on Tuesday the Mascom Top 8 Local Organizing committee chairman Moreo Modisenyane said the near 30 000 seating capacity of the facility was one of the factors that led to their decision.

With the drought of top-flight football having hit hard on Francistown over the years Modisenyane said they had to bring football to the people. “We decided to give this final to the Francistown Community, we haven’t hosted any Mascom Top 8 game in Francistown so we give the Francistown community this final clash.” Moreover, the last Mascom Top 8 final attracted over 15 000 spectators and this year 5000 more are expected to throng the Francistown Stadium.

“Rollers are undoubtedly the most popular team in the country and we know Orapa can also pull a crowd so we expect nothing less than twenty thousand, I am putting my head on the block and saying we are going to exceed the 20 000 mark,” said Modisenyane. In attempts to pull a massive crowd they will be abridged prices for the first 500 spectators who will buy the Nswazi Stand (Eastern) tickets, which cost P40, will get a P10 discount, the tickets price will be condensed to P30. For the northern and southern stands the ticket’s that cost P30 will be reduced to P20.

“We want to reward the early bird’s spectators so this reward period will go on from the 19th to 26th of February. After the 26th the prices will be back to normal prices even if we don’t reach that 500 spectators,” Botswana Premier League (BPL) CEO Thabo Ntshinogang said during the press conference. Security will be improved once more, “we had deployed a 120 security officers and forty police men in the last final. Around 60 security officers were based inside the stadium and another 60 were outside . We are hoping to increase the numbers for the safe guarding of property and spectators.”

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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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