Vol.21 No.69

Wednesday 5 May 2004    

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Sport
Gunners' supporters upbeat

LEKOPANYE MOOKETSI
5/4/2004 10:56:50 PM (GMT +2)

GUNNERS' fans celebrated as if they had won a major cup last Sunday after their team rocked Jwaneng Comets 2-0 at the National Stadium. For some of the team's old supporters, the victory was reminiscent of the glory days when Gunners was a force to reckon with.


And they could be excused for thinking this way. The Sunday match was one of Gunners' best performances this season.

The performance revived the flagging spirits of the team's supporters, who belted out piercing wolf whistles whenever Gunners made a brilliant move.

The supporters have every reason to treasure the victory as the team desperately fights against relegation.

For some years now, the Peleng club has always escaped relegation by a whisker as other top teams fight for the league championships.

But this is proving to be a dangerous game and every point has now become even more critical for the survival of the Lobatse team in the Super League.

What most of the Gunners fans are concerned about is whether their team could ever make a come back if it is to be relegated to the First Division.

Gunners' have never been relegated to the lower divisions since their promotion to top flight soccer in 1980.

They joined the super league at the same time as BDF XI. In their maiden appearance, the two teams created havoc in the league with BDF XI snatching the title ahead of Gunners.

The Lobatse said boasts that they are agemates with BDF XI and if they are to leave the super league they would both go down.

After the initial success, Gunners fortunes plummeted and it took them nine years to win the title.

However, Gunners' fortunes have dwindled but BDF XI maintained the tempo. The crack Gunners sides of yore boasted some of the cream of local soccer like Joshua Mogotsi, Tummie Duicker, Scara Kebalepile and Peter Mabile.

However, since their flamboyant manager, Rashid Chopdat left, Gunners have continued to struggle and their problems were further compounded by the withdrawal of their sponsors, LCS Wholesalers.

Currently, the team is not safe from the dreaded relegation axe but some of their supporters are not perturbed.

"We have 20 points now and we are moving somewhere. We won't relegate," vowed one of the relieved fans after the Sunday game.

Even during half time, discussions at the Pandamatenga Stand were centred around what the team needs to cheat relegation.

Gunner's coach, Innocent Morapedi said they are determined to fight for survival.

The team's captain, Standford Sebetso also echoed his coach's sentiments but with only a few games remaining before the end of season, it remains to be seen whether Gunners will again survive.

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