Third lightning strike dooms football club

By Bakang Mhaladi

GABORONE – Lightning has already struck two deadly bolts to the mining town of Selebi-Phikwe. Now the town is bracing for a third strike.

The first and by far the most devastating saw BCL copper and nickel mine, the town’s heartbeat, shutdown owing to viability challenges in October 2016.

Last month, as the full effects of the mine’s closure sunk in, the local football club – FC Satmos Football Club disappeared from the First Division to the lower Division One league following relegation, as lightning returned to strike for the second time.

The team, formed by the late wealthy businessman, Sam Sono had stood its own in the top flight and even competed in the Mascom Top 8 competition just two seasons ago.

But as the financial crunch hit the mining town, and inevitably, the football teams, Satmos felt the full wrath.

It was not a surprise when they went down as ominous financial signs had been evident with BCL mine struggling.

Two of the most recognizable Selebi-Phikwe institutions are doomed, while a third, BTC Premiership side, Nico United, faces a make-or-break weekend.

Nico slid to the relegation zone soon after BCL mine’s closure and have been battling to recover since.

BCL was the club’s life blood as the mine’s employee made monthly

contributions to the team.

But, in the absence of the mine’s helping hand, Nico United has been

forced to feed on crumbs and has struggled to pay its players.

Now, after 12 years in the top flight, Majombolo, as the team is

affectionately known, face the ultimate litmus test.

They welcome already relegated Mahalapye United Hotspurs with nothing but victory certain to keep them in the elite league.

That too, might not be enough as their fate has slid out of their hands, and results from elsewhere will determined their stay.

Two teams, Hotspurs and Green Lovers have already confirmed their departure from the Premiership and await the third to join.

Nico, Police XI, Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Miscellaneous face the grim danger of going down.

Nico are on 29, Miscellaneous on 30while Police XI have 31 and Sankoyo are 11th with 32.

Nico coach, Peter Muchina said after their win over Sankoyo, they are now firmly focused on rescuing their Premiership status on Saturday.

It has been years since the league has witnessed a gripping head and tail contest, after the title race was decided on the penultimate weekend, while the remaining relegation slot would be sorted on the last                                                                  day.

Rollers are already champions, with a couple of top eight slots unresolved, making it one of the most exciting seasons.

May 2017
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