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Mental strength key in delicate Chiefs, Galaxy tie

Key man: Patrick Kaunda is a potential match winner for Galaxy PIC: KAGISO ONKATSWITSE
Mental strength could play a key role on Sunday when defending champions, Jwaneng Galaxy and Mochudi Centre Chiefs lock horns in the second leg of the Mascom Top 8 quarter-final in Jwaneng.

The tie is delicately poised after Magosi registered a 2-1 victory at home in the first leg played at Lobatse Sports Complex a fortnight ago.

 Goals from Khumoetsile Kufigwa and Lesego Galenamotlhale in the second half cancelled out Patrick Kaunda’s opener to set up what should be an interesting fixture. The hosts will be playing their second game after the sacking of head coach, Mike Sithole while Magosi are still waiting for the finalisation of Kinnah Phiri’s papers before he can sit on the bench. With both sides having had their fair share of challenges both on and off the field, the Sunday showdown could be decided by the mental strength of any of the sides. Galaxy, despite trailing, can take solace from the fact that they managed to get an away goal in the first leg going into this match. A 1-0 victory will see Galaxy progress to the next stage of the competition. Chiefs will also look to put at least one goal in the net to cancel out Galaxy’s away goal advantage. Magosi seem to be slowly getting back into shape, although they lost their last game against Security Systems.

Caretaker coach, Innocent Morapedi recently expressed his hope that despite the struggle in the league, they can go all the way in the knockout competition. Kufigwa is expected once again to lead the attack while they remain cautious with a packed midfield to avoid conceding. It will be interesting to see how Galaxy will approach the game. However, they have the arsenal to go all out for attack with the likes of Thero Setsile, Kaunda and Tebogo Sembowa all capable of bringing in goals. In the first leg, Sithole decided to start Setsile on the bench together with Gilbert Baruti. While Chiefs are chasing their first ever success in the competition, Galaxy will be looking to set a record by becoming the only team to win in two successive editions.

The following day, Township Rollers and BDF XI will meet

at the National Stadium to wrap up the quarter-final stage. Rollers carry a 2-0 lead going into the second leg courtesy of Lemponye Tshireletso and Jerome Ramatlhakwane’s goals. Rollers head coach, Nikola Kavazovic has hinted at making several changes to the team that started against Gaborone United (GU) in the league last Sunday. The dramatic end to the 2-2 draw against GU left Kavazovic disappointed with the performance of some of his charges. He said it appeared they lacked motivation unlike when the season started and hinted at ringing changes against BDF XI on Monday. “There is lack of motivation and of course that is my responsibility; I must work on that. Some players disappointed extremely. Everyone will be surprised when they see the starting line up in the next game against BDF XI,” Kavazovic said after the dramatic end to the Gaborone derby last Sunday. However, the Serbian gaffer hailed his captain, Maano Ditshupo’s mental strength which he said many players at the moment, lack.

Ditshupo played the holding midfield role with his usual central partner, Ivan Ntege on the bench. Tshireletso was roped in as Ditshupo’s partner. “Maano did a good job. He did exactly what I asked him to do. Some of the players do not have such mental strength like him,” he said. He added that after several straight wins in the league they felt like they have reached the top, but warned that was basically nothing. He said they will have to work on it.

His side go into the second leg with two important away goals but face unpredictable BDF XI, which has been blowing hot and cold this season. The soldiers look balanced in terms of attack and defence and have the second best goal difference in the league, behind Rollers. Keeagile Kobe in attack has started the season like a house on fire while Yusuf Mandawa has also settled in quickly at Metebele. They have already lost twice to Rollers this season.





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