FRANCISTOWN: Debswana First Division North (FDN) side BR Highlanders have secured automatic promotion to the elite league after beating Great North Tigers (GNT) by a solitary goal at the Francistown Stadium.
Veteran marksman, Emmanuel Thakadu scored the match-deciding goal two minutes from time. Going into the match, Highlanders needed a victory to ensure that they reach an unassailable lead in the league and in the process secure a return to the prestigious BTC Premiership.Highlanders have now accumulated 45 points with one remaining league match. They had more of a positive match than their weekend opponents who employed a relatively defensive approach for the entire 90 minutes.
The experienced Thakadu had a chance to put the visitors ahead in the 10th minute but he sent his shot wide with GNT goalkeeper, Thatayaone Thandazela the only man to beat. Seven minutes later, Thakadu once again found himself with the goalkeeper to beat after he had navigated his way past the host defenders.
He however failed to take responsibility and passed the ball to right winger Boikobo Osupile who ballooned his shot over the bar. In 44th minute, Thakadu missed another notable opportunity to score. The former Miscellaneous striker once again sent his shot inches wide after pouncing on a loose ball inside the goal area.
GNT were so poor in the first half that they failed to create notable scoring opportunities. On several occasions in the first stanza they tried long-range shots but they were easily dealt with by Highlanders goalkeeper, Molatlhegi Lapologang.
In the second half, the visitors continued piling pressure on GNT, but were let down by lack of predatory instincts. The hosts also looked like a rejuvenated side in the second half.
Highlanders’ persistence for a goal finally paid off in the 88th minute. Thakadu cleverly connected with a low cross from the left flank to secure the much-needed win. The goal sent hordes of travelling Highlanders supporters into a frenzy.
Meanwhile, Sua Flamingoes also closed in on a spot for the play-offs with a 4-1 home win over Francistown City Greens. They now have 41 points.Third-placed Motlakase Power Dynamos who are also in contention for a second play-off spot also secured a 2-1 victory against Nico United in Palapye over the weekend. The second play-offs position will now be decided in the last round matches billed for this weekend.
GNT: Thatayaone Thandazela, Kadisa Gibson, Thabo Leposo, Montiredi Molapise, Moagi Marman, Mosa Tamokate, Bollen Modise, Maemo Sekepe, Aobakwe Mdaki, Gothusamang Nkola (Innocent Keoreile), Batshwere Olebeng
Highlanders: Molatlhegi Lapologang, Gofamodimo Samuel, Setshwaneng Oletile, Keabetswe Obonetse, Onkarabile Tsheko, Tillie Setlhako, Emmanuel Thakadu, Mogakolodi Balatotswe, Temo Keorileng, Oweditse Malokwane, Boikobo Osupile,
BR Highlanders 1 (Thakadu 88th)