Galaxy brush aside Orapa to win Bots’s knock-out cup
By Bakang Mhaladi
FRANCISTOWN – Jwaneng Galaxy brushed aside fellow diamond miners, Orapa United 4-3 in a thrilling final to win the Mascom Top 8 cup and with it, pocketed a cool P1.2million over the weekend.
Galaxy defied odds, just like Orapa United last season, to win the cup in their debut appearance.
Orapa were the slight favourites to win back-to-back Top 8 cups and with their supporters in the majority and making the early noises, the Ostriches looked to fly. The match was played only 200km from Orapa’s home base while Galaxy had to travel 600km to the venue.
But Galaxy, after a tentative opening first half in which they chose to cede possession to their ‘older brothers’, broke the shackles with two quick goals in the second stanza.
Striker Morris Ruzivo ejected the few Galaxy traveling fans from their seats when he tapped in the 47th minute before veteran defensive midfielder, Boitumelo Mafoko was given acres of space in the 60th to direct his header into the top corner for a 2-0 lead.
Galaxy was shining and the trophy was half through to Jwaneng, before Thabang
Mosige and Tendai Nyumasi brought late parity to stun Mike Sithole’s charges and force the tie into extra time.
After Orapa rallied back, it appeared they would go on and clinch the tie after Galaxy midfielder, Olebogeng Malebye had been shown a controversial second yellow, in a case of mistaken identity.
But it was already written in the stars and Galaxy put the tie to bed with two goals in extra time, the towering Christopher Musonda and Tebogo Sembowa getting their names on the score sheet. Nyumasi, who played his heart out, ensured a nail biting finish, prodding the ball home late on, but Galaxy closed the game out.
It was a night that saw Thabang Sesinyi, a former Orapa United player, torment his former team mates willy nilly.
Sesinyi, who saw an off season move to Baroka FC in the South African Premiership fall through, was a cut above his peers. He underlined his class with probably the finest move of the night, delicately moving past his marker with a deft touch, before lifting his eyes and sending an inch perfect diagonal ball from the left wing to Sembowa for the third goal in the 118th minute.
It was a cruel reminder of what Orapa United had lost. Sesinyi was instrumental in the Ostriches’ run last season, scoring in the final and has not removed his foot from the pedal after inspiring his new side to their first major trophy since their promotion to the Premiership two seasons ago.
Sithole immediately declared that his side is chasing a double this season. “I am happy for the boys, they showed character after we went one man down. We are going for a double this season,” the Zambian coach said.
Galaxy are second on the BTC Premiership standings, trailing leaders, Township Rollers by two points with eight games left in the season.
For Ndlovu, it was a bitter pill to swallow as the loss effectively marked the end of their season.
“We went down but we fought back,” he said. “We had a beautiful goal disallowed and that agitated my players and we lost focus, it cost us a great deal.”
Orapa is third in the league, eight points behind Rollers.