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Gilport in lion’s den

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BTC Premiership minnows Gilport Lions are on the brink of relegating to the dusty fields of the National First Division. With only eight games left for the team before the end of the 2017/18 season, Gilport are currently languishing at the bottom of the BTC Premiership log standings with a measly eight points. On paper, there is still hope that the Lions can still survive the dreaded relegation axe, however the odds are increasingly being stacked against them. In their last five matches, they lost all four of their games and drew against TAFIC Sporting Club.

Undoubtedly, the Lions have had an unpleasant season thus far. It is unlikely that the turn out of events come as a surprise to most football supporters. This Saturday the weeping Lions are expected to lock horns with the fellow relegation candidates Security Systems in Molepolole. Coming into the game, both teams will need their best if they are to survive relegation. Systems are also fighting for survival in the elite league with only 24 points in position 14 of the log standings. It is a tough call to make given the fact that both teams are desperate for maximum points and anything can happen on the day.

During their last encounter, Systems defeated Lions 2-0. Still on that, Systems are expected to come into the game a revamped lot following the recent appointment of Chico Nare as the team head coach. Nare’s immediate task at Systems is to survive relegation and the weekend game will see him try to turn his team’s fortunes around. Nevertheless, Lions Coach Mandivenga Paradzayi remains hopeful that it is not yet over until the final whistle. Speaking after their 3-2 defeat to Mochudi Centre Chiefs recently, Paradzayi said things are not looking good for his charges but they do not intend to give up. Paradzayi said he is playing with young players and it is not easy to motivate them given the challenges facing the team.

For his part, Lions chairman Kelesitse Gilika confirmed the team’s financial difficulties while they are trying to keep the team together. The outspoken chairman said it has not been an easy road for him and his team. However, they are already halfway to servicing their debts. Gilika said there is still hope in the team and like most of their rivals struggling with finances, they too will find a solution to their financial headaches. In their last games, the Lions are expected to face BDF XI, Police XI, Extension Gunners, Gaborone United and Jwaneng Galaxy among others. Meanwhile another team still hoping to escape the hot seat are Uniao Flamengo Santos 16 points.

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Zapata takes charge

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TAKING CHARGE: Zapata assumes his position

Township Rollers Head Coach Rodolfo Zapata was this past Tuesday in charge of the team’s training session, a first since he was appointed Rollers coach in November 2018.

Sun Sports has been reliably informed by sources that were present at the morning session that the Argentine coach was at the grounds and it was all clear that he is now the man in control of the team.

Zapata was made to jump through hoops before he could finally take over the reins at Rollers. First he had to battle with his former club, Gaborone United to cancel his active working permit with the team. The matter dragged for more than a month.

When GU finally gave in, Zapata’s qualifications as a coach were questioned. This came as shocking given that Zapata is GU’s former coach. Nevertheless, a source within Botswana Football Association (BFA) circles has told this paper that Zapata was cleared by CAF last week. As things stand Zapata will be expected on the bench this coming Friday when they play Notwane. If not, then his first job will be the Mascom Top 8 Semi-final against GU next week.

The Rollers management could not be reached yesterday as their phones rang unanswered and repeated efforts revealed that the team spokesperson, Bafana Pheto is currently across borders.
Meanwhile, Zapata’s arrival comes at a crucial time following Rollers ‘s embarrassing defeat to the hands of rivals Jwaneng Galaxy this past weekend. Galaxy cut short the endless winning streak of the defending championships to serve them their second loss since the beginning of the league with a score line of 3-1.

Of late , unconfirmed reports suggest that players had grown impatient with the caretaker coach, Thabo Motang. They differed and questioned his decisions on the pitch. Motang is now reported to have gone back to the department he knows best, goalkeeper coach.

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Moluba wants a replica of previous success

Tshepo Kehemile

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PLAY MAKER: Moalosi is a prolific goal scorer

Township Rollers influential midfielder, Edwin Moalosi confirmed his ambitions to help his team to repeat their run in the previous season to win both Botswana Telecommunication (BTC) Premiership league and the Mascom Top 8. Moluba as he is affectionately known said this after their 3-1 loss to Jwaneng Galaxy at the National Stadium this past Saturday.

Rollers 2018/19 BTC league campaign have been impressive thus far as they are still at the summit of the log despite their loss over the weekend. The Galaxy loss was their second, having lost to the other mining team, Orapa United. However, they have already reached the semi-finals of the Mascom Top 8.

Moalosi told Sun Sport that this season is not going to be a walk in the path, “It is not easy being the defending Champions as you become the team to beat, every team will try hard not to give you space to play or attack hence all the games we play become a mammoth task,” said Moalosi.

Moalosi further stated that being eliminated from the Confederations of African Football (CAF) Champions league early was a blessing in disguise, “We are now out of the CAF Champions league and we can now focus on doing well in the domestic league and cup tournament (Mascom Top 8).

In addition, we need to double our efforts as players so that we reach our ultimate goals,” he said.
Quizzed about his individual goals as a player despite picking so many injuries this season, he said, “Injuries are part of the game, it only depends on every player as to how you respond to it, I am always positive regardless of the circumstances I come across. I want to increase my goal tally and hopefully improve my assists as well,” explained.

However, Jwaneng Galaxy Captain, Olebogeng Malebye who scored a marvellous curler on the day said they are going to give Rollers a run for their money this season, “We are going to fight to death to try and leapfrog Rollers and eventually win the league as it has been our aim for a long time. And finally, we managed to beat them after a very long time trying with no success,” said Malebye.

Jwaneng Galaxy’s season is slowly improving as they are now second on the log, and Orapa United seems to be struggling a bit but the league is still open. Another round of BTC Premiership league matches is expected to continue this coming weekend with a couple of interesting fixtures to look out to including Township Rollers and Notwane FC on Friday at Molepolole and Security Systems and Mochudi Centre Chiefs on Saturday at the same venue, just to mention a few.

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