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Teams eye semi-final berths in P1.4m battle

KABELO BORANABI
Eyes on the trophy: The Mascom Top8 reaches a decisive phase this weekend PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Semi-final places are up for grabs as the Mascom Top 8 quarter final battles will be concluded this weekend.

Four games will be played between from this evening to Monday, as the race for the P1.4million prize money heats up.

It all starts with a repeat of last season’s final as Gaborone United (GU) welcome Jwaneng Galaxy at the Royal Aria Stadium in Tlokweng. Galaxy carry a slender 1-0 lead from a first leg that ended in chaos, as fans attacked GU coach, Nikola Kavazovic who later quit the Reds.

It is now down to Phillimon Makwengwe to lead the Reds to the semifinals. As he returns to the bench, Makwengwe will remember the 2-0 defeat in the final played in March. The Reds are oozing with confidence after scoring six in their last game against BR Highlanders.

Attacking midfielders, Thatayaone Kgamanyane and Dirang Moloi are in great form while Obonwe Maome returned to the starting line up with a goal and will be hoping to carry on. As the Reds plot vengeance, Galaxy would not be a walkover. The diamond miners have scored 23 goals in all competitions this season and conceded a lot.

Their attack line has the likes of Tebogo Sembowa, Thabang Sesinyi and Patrick Kaunda who scored a brace in their last outing.

Galaxy have never lost to GU since May 2017 in any competition, a record Miguel da Costa would be eager to extend. Da Costa maybe without first choice keeper, Katlego Mbise who was stretchered out in a league midweek fixture against Township Rollers.

On Saturday afternoon, the Molepolole Sports Complex will host a battle between two local technical minds, where Daniel ‘Chico’ Nare’s power play meets Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote’s high pressing football. Systems are looking to overturn a 1-0 defeat.  Nare’s integral part of the plan would be the wingers, Morris Rusivo and Thatayaone Ramatlapeng.

The duo has been instrumental in the Alarm Boys’ success this season as they provide the team with width while dipping crosses

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for the ever-reliable Kenanano Kgetholetsile.

Systems compact their midfield with hard men, Thato Ogopotse, Ronald Chikomo and Michael Pillar hence they have not conceded much. However, they meet a side that presses very high.

Mpote usually deploys Mbatshi Elias as false number nine supported by speedy wingers, Kobamelo Kebaikanye and Gofaone Mabaya. This allows fluency in attack with midfielders like Allen Ndodole and Raziki Hamisi dishing through ball to the attackers. It will be interesting to see which style prevails on the afternoon.

A tricky affair is expected on Sunday afternoon between BDF XI and Police XI at the Otse Stadium. The teams played to a goalless draw in the first leg and Matebele would be carrying the advantage in to the second leg. The stage sets a perfect platform from both coaches to redeem themselves after a series of topsy-turvy results.

Only eight wins between the two sides, the pressure is certainly on both coaches.

Police’s Mike Sithole will be hoping to be the first coach to lead the Jungle Kings to the semifinals while Nelson Setshwane is on course to push the team to replicate its 2013 triumph.

Molepolole City Stars look like a sheep ready for slaughter as they visit Rollers at the Royal Aria Stadium in the last of the quarterfinals on Monday. City Stars have been in depressing form with just two wins in 13 games played in all competitions.

They carry a 2-0 deficit to Tlokweng and Wame Mokoke would be feeling the pressure. The young tactician has only won once since taking over the reigns in October. The Blues’ attack line is in menacing mood.

There are three goals in the past two games for Tumisang Orebonye while Lemponye Tshireletso has scored five in the last six games. While Tomas Trucha is spoilt for choice, this could be a platform for the Residents to cause an upset.



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