GIANTS GO FOR BROKE
Two of the sleeping giants in Botswana football will tomorrow Saturday lock horns at the Lobatse Stadium in a be Mobile Premier League encounter. Lobatse based Extension Gunners will welcome Francistown based Tafic Sporting club. Kick-off time is 1530 hours.
In the past this encounter was surely to attract thousands of football lovers. The two have however saw their failure to attract top quality players reduce them to just ordinary teams. This however looks to change if what the two clubs aim to do is anything to go by.
Gunners would be boosted by the turn of events at the club’s executive level. The committee resigned en masse and a new committee has since been roped in. This prompted coach Chico Nare who went into a self imposed exile to make a u-turn to Mapantsula camp. Nare made a grand entrance last week in Francistown when his side entertained Ecco, receiving a standing ovation from the Gunners faithful as he marched to the sidelines.
Gunners’ assistant coach Nelson Olebile who has been working alongside Nare for the past three seasons has reportedly been taking the team through their paces in Nare’s absentia. This week Nare was away in Lesotho for national duty with the under-23 team and Olebile just like he did during his absence drilled the Peleng boys. When Voice Sport quizzed him about the big shoes of Nare he was quick to point out that Nare is the one who called him to work with him.
‘’We have been here for quite a long time. He knows what I can do. He has been letting me do this each time he was in camp with the Under-23. With time I think the team will be back to normal and full fitness. Last week we only trained twice because it rained non stop for two days. When we left on Friday we were not fit so we had a game plan that suited our players and it worked well as we managed to hold Ecco to a draw,’’ Olebile told said.
Olebile added that they intend to do well against another Francistown team to restore the faith of the multitudes of the club’s followers.
‘’We have been training twice a day this week in order to make-up for time lost during the unrest in the executive. We have a game plan for Tafic. We will be at home and thousands of our supporters would be behind all the way,” he told Voice Sport.
Olebile said the squad is currently missing Kenny Ramodisa and Kgololo Leteane for undisclosed reasons, while Hendrick Moyo is with the Under 23 team but would be joining the rest of the squad later.
Gunners’ utility player Maano Ditshupo was upbeat ahead of the Saturday clash and unflinchingly told Voice Sport that the three points belongs to the Lobatse giants.
‘’We want to play for pride, we may have had our own internal problems but we are still the same old players. Psychologically we are ready to die for the team so just watch this movement rising from the dead. We can beat any team at any given time. We have done that already,’’ warned Ditshupo.
While Olebile is confident they will improve their log position, Tafic gaffer Paul Moyo who has all the experience told Voice Sport that his charges are not yet where he would love them to be. He was however happy that they were improving with each game.
‘’We can do better than when we beat Uniao Santos last weekend. We build from each past game. We didn’t do enough pre-season and hence the reason we started slowly, we had a lot of trialists who didn’t make it. The team has now started to gel and the understanding is better. Our preparations for each game are the same. One can only change the tactics if they are aware of the opponents’ strategy and play. I will also look at the past game and see what to change for the better,’’ Moyo said.
Quizzed about the thousand of Gunners supporters that are expected to throng the Lobatse stadium Moyo did not sound intimidated but rather pointed out that if supporters come in large numbers that will be what they need.
‘’We need people to watch games because that’s what football is all about. I have a determined team and only missing Alfonso Modisaotsile who is out with injury. Influential striker, Tamocha Bedi is also getting back to full fitness so we can’t complain.’’
Veteran defender, Lovemore Mokgweetsi was also optimistic that with their team training twice a day they have made positive progress and there is no way they can falter against Gunners.
‘’We have a young team that enjoys competition. They are really committed and from what I have seen morale is high and competition is healthy, nobody is guaranteed a place and not even the senior players. This is working for the team and it reminds me of the Tafic of a decade ago,’’ he said.