Fallen Kgatleng giants, Mochudi Centre Chiefs kicked off their campaign in the dusty First Division grounds with a 1-0 win over another former Premier League side, Mogoditshane Fighters in an entertaining match played at SSG grounds.
The encounter was the Debswana First Division South opening game between the two sides eager to return to top-flight football next season.
From the first whistle, both teams showed the desire to win and attacked each other but without creating any clear scoring chances. However Fighters seemed to take control of the match gradually, with their midfield starting to gel.
Their first real chance came in the 25th minute when Fighters’ Kabo Ngongorego forced a good save out of Otsile Ben in Chiefs’ goals from a well-struck freekick just outside the box. Another chance followed when their winger, Thuso Keraetswe found space inside the box but shot over the bar.
On the other end, Chiefs strikers, Terrence Mandaza and Jerome Ramatlhakwana combined, but the latter failed to finish off the beautiful move.
Fighters nearly got the opener when Tumo Kgosiedirang hit the far upright with a header from a corner kick. The two teams went to the break deadlocked at 0-0.
After the break, Chiefs seemed rejuvenated, as they seemed to suceed in their plan to keep possession of the ball. That nearly bore fruit for Magosi who immediately had an opportunity through Lebogang Jabari who agonisingly missed after being put through on goal. He went for power and the ball hit the cross bar.
The Kgatleng side created a few more opportunities but still failed to score. Meanwhile
However, with just three minutes to time, Chiefs got the winner after Koketso Mphokothi found space on the blind side to control. He fired home at the far post.
After the match, Chiefs coach Oris Radipotsane said they did not play well but was happy with the three points.
“Look, this is our first game against a good side. We have assembled a new team, I am also new, so it was not going to be easy. But we will take a win. We did not have a good game,” he said.
His counterpart at Fighters, Tiroyamodimo Mohambi said he was impressed with the way his troops applied themselves.
“They have experience while I have no names in my team. But the boys showed no fear and outclassed the experienced guys. Although we lost, I can take the positives. We could have wrapped the game early but poor finishing let us down. We will work on it,” he said.
Fighters: Kenewamang Arabang, Onkemetse Motsumi, David Mothoni, Keleagetse Mogomotsi, Ngongorego, Othusegile Botswetse, Gofaone Manyapelo, Kgosiedirang, Daniel Mogapi, Sipho Motaung (Madziba), Keraetswe
Chiefs: Ben, Bolweleng, Oarabile Matlabeng, Trinity Nko, Modiri Mbise, Mmoloki Kafuko, Patrick Nkanane, Mandaza, (Koketso Mphokoti) Jomo Moatlhaping, Ramatlhakwana, Lebogang Jabari.
Mogoditshane Fighters 0
Chiefs 1 Mphokothi 87th