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Nico, Flamingoes chase Holy Grail

KOKETSO KGOBOGE
Pursuers: Nico are right behind Flamingoes PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
PALAPYE: Leaders Sua Flamingoes and second placed Nico United will continue their chase for the Holy Grail with a crucial clash in Selebi-Phikwe tomorrow.

The two are neck-to-neck as they chase promotion to the top flight. Tomorrow’s meeting has all the hallmarks of a humdinger. United would be itching to serve Flamingoes a cold revenge dish at their backyard after suffering defeat in the reverse fixture.

The dynamics are the same as the day Flamingoes put two past Majombolo goal at Paul Henry Stadium in the first round. At the time United appeared impenetrable after five opening wins and draw in their first six matches. At the time, Flamingoes were going through a turbulent time, and entered the match as underdogs.

The situation is similar to what is obtaining now, as Flamingoes are on a bad patch despite leading the log. United have an opportunity to return the favour and leapfrog Flamingoes. They enjoyed the most impressive start of the year, with four wins out of five matches. Nico have not conceded since the start of the year, and have drawn level with Flamingoes on 39 points. Flamingoes go into the fixtures as underdogs after another false start to the second round that was marred by a series of draws and a painstaking 1-0 home defeat to Santa Green.

The Sowa side however, found its feet in the last two matches, beating Sankoyo Bush Bucks and Premiership outfit, Molepolole City Stars with identical 1-0 score lines. The Rapelang ‘Raizor’ Tsatsilebe led Flamingoes would be looking to build on the wins against a tough United.

Tsatsilebe doesn’t believe the encounter

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is a league decider but a high profile match they would like to win. He travels to Selebi-Phikwe with a squad free from injuries.

“It is too early to think of matches deciding the league, but a win would have a greater impact on our plans for promotion. We have sat at the top position for a long time and our focus remains on managing our position,” Tsatsilebe said. United failed to recover after their defeat to Flamingoes in the first round, and this would have them worried ahead of tomorrow’s tie. They endured a series of draws that pushed them to third position although they eventually recovered.

They would also require an added effort after being inactive last weekend, which was reserved for Orange FA Cup matches. Assistant coach, Monametsi ‘Sunday’ Kelebale said moral in the camp is high. A full squad complement is motivated by the magnitude of the match and they are optimistic of a positive result.  “A win against the leaders is obviously very critical and it will boost our chances with five games to the end of the league. We are focused on promotion whether automatic or through the playoffs,” Kelebale said.

In other matches, Eleven Angels host Santa Green at Jackalas No.2, Francistown City Greens welcome Maun Terrors, Calendar Stars travel to Bush Bucks and Motlakase would be home in Pilikwe to Green Lovers. In the only Sunday encounter GNT host Tonota FC in Francistown.



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