Cops arrest Chiefs’ resurgence
By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE – Mochudi Centre Chiefs’ unbeaten start to 2017 was crudely interrupted when Police XI moved in to handcuff the former champions’ impressive run
Chiefs went into their game against the Cops on Sunday on the back of some truly dizzying performances which had seen the 2014 champions pump 10 goals in two matches, preserving their unbeaten six-match run.
But the police had other ideas and stopped Chiefs from playing in a 3-1 reversal on Sunday, which sent Chiefs back to eighth place after Bongani Mafu’s side had steadily risen to fourth.
Chiefs, who have emerged as reigning league champions, Township Rollers’ bête noire over the seasons, started the current campaign in horrible fashion, which at some stage pushed them down close to the red zone.
But the mid-season arrival of proven scorers, Tendai Nyamadzawo from Gilport Lions, former Zebras striker Jerome ‘JJ’ Ramatlhakwana and Namibian wonder boy Absalom Limbondi, added much-needed vim.
Chiefs won four matches and drew two played thus far in 2017. However, the Chiefs juggernaut came firmly unstuck against a rampant Police XI on Sunday, as the bubble finally burst in cruel fashion.
‘We were off pace and could not match the tempo of the opposition,” admitted Mafu in an interview with The Southern Times.
There are reports that the players did not train in the build up to the encounter due to unpaid salaries. However, Mafu did not want to delve much into this issue.
Botswana teams, in most instances, struggle to shell players’ dues, owing to financial challenges.
But Chiefs’ off the field problems would do little to take away the shine from the Cops’ armour.
Police XI were magnificent and Chiefs did not provide the needed answers to some testing questions, which saw Hendrick Moyo, Thato Kebue (own goal) and Uyapo Seleka find the target. Chiefs’ scored a meaningless penalty through Ramatlhakwana.
Meanwhile, Rollers turned the screws at the top after a 3-0 win over Sankoyo Bush Bucks sent them four points clear. That advantage could be stretched to seven after Rollers were scheduled to meet relegation-threatened side, Mahalapye United Hotspurs in a re-arranged mid-week fixture in Serowe.
The game was postponed last month due to Rollers’ participation in the CAF Champions League.
Orapa United, on 32 points and eight off the pace, faced BDF XI in another midweek fixture, desperate to re-ignite their title charge after some indifferent results.
At the bottom, it appears all gloom and doom for Nico United, a club that was dealt a body blow after copper and nickel mine, BCL shut down last year.
Nico lost support from the mine as a result, and now look destined for the chop from the BTC Premiership, after failing to register a single point in six games since the start of the year.