Chiefs and Rollers to meet in league decider
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) confirmed this week that the controversial play-off title decider to crown last season’s premier league champions will take place at the Francistown Sports Complex next Saturday (the 23rd).
Either Township Rollers or Mochudi Centre Chiefs will be declared the winners of the 2015/16 season as the BFA attempt to move forward and draw a line, once and for all, across the sorry debacle that has plagued the country’s elite domestic league.
However Chiefs have acted in outrage at the upcoming game, with the club’s Public Relations Officer, Clifford Mogomotsi, dismissing the fixture as ‘just a friendly’.
Mogomotsi confirmed Magosi will honour the league-deciding match but claimed they will merely be going through the motions as, due to off-field complications, they have been unable to prepare properly for the game.
Chiefs, who haven’t even returned for pre-season training yet, are currently a team in transition and are in the process of rebuilding after losing head coach Mike Sithole and his assistant Michael Mogaladi to Jwaneng Galaxy.
To add to their woes, Mogomotsi revealed that key players, Tendai Nyumasi and Lemponye Tshireletso, who were an integral part of Magosi’s success last season, have joined other teams.
Due to these disruptions, Mogomotsi was pessimistic about his side’s chances in next week’s match, saying scornfully, “I have lost interest in that game. I think it’s best we just go to the bus rank and hand over the trophy to Rollers. What is the point of us travelling to Francistown incurring costs when we do not have the material to compete? Our players are still on break. They need to rest and it means they will only start training next week.”
The irate PR officer was in no mood to mince his words and was especially critical of the BFA, saying, “Our investor has also left us because of this Mickey Mouse football association. He could not stand for this kind of joke and now football is going to suffer. I would not even invite supporters to attend because it’s just a friendly game.”
In stark contrast to Chiefs’ disorganised struggles, Rollers have enjoyed a relatively smooth build-up to next Saturday’s encounter.
Mapalastina have already started preparing for next season, only returning from an intensive, ten-day pre-season camp in Rustenburg South Africa last Sunday.
The camp included a friendly against Mamelodi Sundowns’ reserve team, which Popa’s head coach Mark Harrison described as ‘a useful run-out’.
Looking ahead to next season, Harrison is confident his side will once again challenge for trophies.
“This time we will have a smaller group to work with in order to comply with the quota of 25 registered players but the quality should improve. Our main intention was to get the team back to the right fitness levels, and ensure that we bond as a team in camp. It has been a hectic season and all we need is to play the last fixture and focus on our preparations for the 2016/17 season,” said Harrison.
Meanwhile, pleased BFA President Tebogo Sebego expressed his relief that the league deciding game will finally go ahead, leaving both clubs with ample time to prepare for next season.
Ignoring Mogomotsi’s negative comments, Sebego remained hopeful that both teams will be committed to do their best and deliver a quality, entertaining game.
The President concluded by urging football supporters, the media and Batswana at large to support this important match in whatever way possible.
It seems then, that barring another protest/cancellation/disruption of some sort, next Saturday will finally bring an end to the long, drawn out drama that was the 2015/16 season!