PALAPYE: Second placed Morupule Wanderers await the undefeated runaway log leaders, TAFIC in a crucial First Division North league encounter tomorrow.
Two points separate the two sides, after TAFIC dropped points at Sua Flamingoes, while Wanderers did their assignment soundly in a 4-1 win over Francistown City Greens. Now the ball is in Wanderers court to leapfrog TAFIC. An intense three-horse title race ensued at the beginning of the season, with Flamingoes also in the picture, but that has narrowed down to two.
Flamingoes tripped mid-season, leaving the fight to TAFIC and Wanderers. TAFIC has been unrelenting and they fashioned a sublime first round and endured a few scratches from two draws. Wanderers have been persistent chasers, but the Palapye side has been defeated twice. They lost their opening match of the season to rivals Motlakase.
They bounced back with a seven-match winning streak and then stumbled against their weekend opponents in the reverse fixture. Matjimenyenga beat Wanderers 3-1 in Francistown. ‘Basimane Ba Magala’ as Wanderers are affectionately known, bounced back again and won their next three matches, scoring eight goals and conceding just once. Wanderers have proven to be a tough nut to crack in Pilikwe. In their seven home games, Wanderers went down only once and won six times.
TAFIC face a massive assignment, and their title credentials will certainly be tested. They are a balanced side with a proven record as the league’s best scorers with 29 goals and hold the best defensive record having conceded six in 12 matches. The new year, however, has not been so friendly. They played two, won one and drew the other. They were made to sweat for the four points. Matjimenyenga has not kissed the net as much as they would have wished but their defence was still unyielding.
Wanderers know they cannot let this opportunity slip. Team assistant coach, Pule Mogotsi said they respect TAFIC, but are prepared to go all out for the maximum points.
He said they had done a great job in ensuring they keep TAFIC under pressure and it paid off. Mogotsi said they had also wrapped up their transfer business and they have covered their shortfalls.
“We pushed our weight long enough and TAFIC felt us and dropped points. It is for us to profit from our home advantage. We need our supporters to pack the ground. TAFIC supporters are a travelling lot and they should find us ready,” he said. Matjimenyenga coach Elias Chinyemba also appreciates the stakes are high in the encounter. He understands a slip up at this time of the season could spell doom to an almost perfect season.
Chinyemba said he was expecting Wanderers to come all out. He said his preparation rituals were the same, only with an added intensity to counter play their opponents.
“It is going to be an exciting game. We are very ready. We know Morupule have everything to play for. They are home and they want to leapfrog us. We also need maximum points, and we will go all out,” Chinyemba said.
In other games, Motlakase welcome stubborn rookies Eleven Angels, Palapye All Stars are home to Real Movers, Green Lovers host Francistown City Greens and Calendar Stars host fourth-placed Nico United.
In the only Sunday encounter, Great North Tigers will be home to Sua Flamingoes. All games kick off at 4pm.