Vol.23 No.131

Friday 1 September 2006    
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Sport
The curse of Magosi

FIRST CUT
DENNIS KEAGILE

9/1/2006 6:17:26 PM (GMT +2)

The closest Mochudi Centre Chiefs have come close to winning the national soccer title was in 1981, 1990 and 2001. The 1981 and 1990 cases are perhaps more significant than 2001 when Magosi finished second to Mogoditshane Fighters because the Mochudi outfit missed the title by a whisker.


In 1981, it was a boardroom decision that denied Chiefs their first league title. BDF XI were awarded points in the boardroom after protesting that Police XI had used an improperly registered player. The two points at the end of the season ensured that Matebele beat Chiefs to the title by a point.

Then came 1990 when right from the onset, Chiefs and Gaborone United (GU) were involved in a fierce two-way battle which was only decided by the last game of the season. Chiefs needed to beat already relegated Nico United to pip GU to the title with the hope that TAFIC would do them a favour by holding the Reds to a draw.

TAFIC did their part but to the surprise of many, Magosi wilted to an already doomed Majombolo in Selebi-Phikwe. A disputed penalty awarded by the then controversial referee James Sankuluba ended Chiefs' hope. It was a shattering blow to Ezekiel Mooki and his young team. Chiefs however redeemed themselves by winning the defunct Lion Cup in 1991. That was the last major cup Magosi won. It has indeed been a tortuous journey for Chiefs, currently the only big club that has not been crowned national.

But why has Magosi always flattered to deceive? The reason are many and varied but perhaps the fact is that whenever they seem to be on the verge of breaking ground, they would quarrel over small things. In the process, they lack that solidity and togetherness necessary to go all the way.

Ironically, Magosi has been one of the teams at the forefront trying to change the face of Botswana football. They have tried many formulas in a bid to be seen as the pioneers of change. Some of the changes have been partly successful while others have failed to bear fruit. Now as the 2006-2007 Premier League kick-off draws nearer, Magosi has been busy in the market trying to strengthen the squad. The big questions are: Can they find the right mix this time? Can they have the stamina and stay united throughout the campaign? Well, the commitment and enthusiasm from the new executive committee seems to be very high. But the mark of a good committee is staying together when faced with challenges and taking those challenges head on.

There is a big challenge for the Ernest Molome- led committee to end the near misses that the club has witnessed over the years. The committee ought to unite the supporters and encourage them to come to the games in large numbers.

Currently, off the field, Township Rollers seem to be the most organised team as reflected by the regular turn out of their supporters at their games. This has tended to lessen the burden on the executive committee as Rollers have been getting encouraging income from gate-takings.

But as for Chiefs, it is time now to deliver although the biggest challenge will be on the committee to weather the storm.

*** After narrowly losing to Zambia in the COSAFA Castle Cup semi- finals, the national soccer team, the Zebras meet Mauritania at the start of the qualifiers for the 2008 African Cup of Nations. This will be Colwyn Rowe's (Zebras' new coach) second game in charge and this time he ought to bring a good result.

Against Zambia, it was obvious that he is trying to shed away the defensive approach that has been the hallmark of his predecessor, Jelusic Veselin. Though the team wilted in the second half, it had given a good performance. Good luck to Zebras. Send us your comments about Mmegi newspaper Search For Old Newspaper Editions To advertise contact us through email

 
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