Mmegi Online :: Orapa’s darkest hour after dawn
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Last Updated
Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
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Orapa’s darkest hour after dawn

FRANCISTOWN: For Orapa United, it appears the darkest hour is well after dawn. A club so dominant in the past seasons is disappearing off the radar at a concerning pace. They are already 11 points adrift with the season just seven games old.
By Koketso Kgoboge Fri 03 Nov 2017, 10:59 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Orapa’s darkest hour after dawn








The Ostriches’ status as an intimidating giant appears under threat. The Ostriches altered the landscape of the top of the table battles that was dominated by Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers following their promotion three seasons ago.

In their second season in the top flight they finished second to Mochudi Centre Chiefs, booking a maiden place in the Mascom Top 8.

They won the cup at the first attempt, under the tutelage of local football’s most decorated coach, Madinda Ndlovu who joined from Rollers. The Ostriches played an intimidating game with attacking football that was never short of flair and had a robust defence.

Their decline could be traced to the end of last season after they failed to defend the Top 8 silverware against Jwaneng Galaxy.

They lost momentum in the league and were immediately on a downward spiral. They managed a third finish yet they had earlier been in command in the title race. They managed a point out of a possible nine in the last three games and Rollers ran away with the title.

Lack of depth was sighted as one of their shortfalls. Expectations were the club would improve in that regard when the off-season window opened. They signed the experienced trio of Tapiwa Nyamandjiva, Kobamelo Kebaikanye and Bogosi Kaekwe to remedy the situation, but that does not appear to be what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately the slide has spilled into the new season. The giant went into a slumber after two opening wins and are now winless in four games; very rare for Ndlovu and the Orapa side.

The Ostriches are fast losing the respect they commanded amongst their rivals since they rose to stardom. All teams seem to approach the yesteryear mighty Ostriches without an ounce of fear. The Ostriches avoided early

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defeat to rookies Uniao Flamingo Santos with a dramatic 3-2 comeback from 2-0 down at Itekeng Stadium on the opening day.

Itekeng, that has been a fortress, is turning into a theatre of nightmares. After escaping Santos by a whisker, the Ostriches were trampled twice by Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Miscellaneous at Itekeng. Miscellaneous and Bush Bucks both came out of the diamond-mining town smiling with marginal 1-0 wins. On the road Orapa have won twice, drawn once and lost once, a 2-0 to their diamond mining nemesis and title contenders, Jwaneng Galaxy. 

Orapa assistant coach, Zacharia Mudzadzi blames their rough patch on a wave of injuries. He said the only game they played with a full first team squad was the opening game.

Five key figures are out with injuries. New captain, Tendai Nyumasi has been missing in action with a groin injury, Lemogang Maswena recently joined the list after pulling his hamstring.

Right back Kealeboga Molebatsi is also nursing a hamstring, Thabang Mosige (ankle and hamstring) while Kemmy Pilato is out with nagging muscles. “We are in a tight corner; the list keeps growing and we are also unfortunate with the suspensions,” Mudzadzi said.

“Bad results obviously bring a lot of confusion. We know people are not happy and we are obviously not happy ourselves. We are playing well but we lose. “The morale has gone down; the belief has also taken a knock but we know we must get ourselves back in contention and frankly we are not that far off. It’s only that these (consecutive losses) are new to us. I am confident with one, two wins we will bounce back.”

Mudzadzi said apart from injuries nothing has changed at Orapa United. The team is resolute and the focus remains to win silverware.

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