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Notwane, Prisons XI draw daggers for 'cup final'

Pio Paul
A potentially season defining First Division South encounter, will see table toppers, Notwane face second-placed Prisons XI at the SSG ground tomorrow. However, there is a possibility that the game would be moved to the more spacious Otse Police College Stadium.

The winner of the match would have a firm grip of proceedings, with just three games before the end of the campaign. Prisons XI coach, Philemon Makhwengwe has described the game as a ‘cup final’.

At the moment, the two teams have played 18 games each, with Notwane on 38 points, just one ahead of Prisons XI.  

The two teams, despite playing in the First Division, have some of the finest tactical minds in Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul and Makhwengwe.

Notwane coach, Paul is playing his cards close to his chest and does not want to twitch any muscle to indicate the pressure that comes with the game.

He told Mmegi Sport that they are expecting an interesting game, but they would approach it like any other game to avoid pressure. “Injuries are minimal except a few knocks on one or two players. We want to collect maximum points,” Paul said.

He said if they lose the game, it would make the title race wide open, which means either Notwane or Prisons will finish as number one, while both teams and Mogoditshane Fighters, could end up in the play-off number two spot.

Makhwengwe on the other hand, said unlike most people anticipating the encounter, he is not excited at all.

“I should have won my games properly

to avoid this. I should not be in this battle of seeking a point if I had executed my plan properly. We could have avoided this pressure,” he said. Makhwengwe said coaching is his job and it keeps him on his toes and tomorrow he has to go out and deliver. He said his charges are ready to take on their opponents.

He said Prisons XI do not have big names like other teams in the First Division South and the players are not used to systematic coaching that they are exposed to at the moment.

“Prisons is an underdog and we have nothing to lose. We are going to play our normal game. I like Notwane supporters because the vibe they bring to the match is going to benefit us too,” he said.

Makhwengwe said he has been in the same situation before of playing a match with high stakes, equating it to a ‘cup final’. Prisons were relegated to the First Division in 2012 and are still battling to return to the Premier League.

He said he does not want his charges to feel any pressure and has a full squad to pick from. He said his senior players, who were out during the Fighters game, have returned.




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