After watching the opening matches of the 2015/2016 beMOBILE Premiership season, Mmegi Sport reporters predict how a potentially exciting campaign will unfold
Chiefs, Rollers tipped
The battle for supremacy will be a tight contest between usual suspects, Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs Writes, BOITUMELO KHUTSAFALO.
Champions: Township Rollers and defending champions, Mochudi Centre Chiefs have signalled their intentions with explosive starts.
Gaborone United (GU) and Extension Gunners also registered victories despite leaving it late.
Rollers and Chiefs will once again be favourites, but GU and Gunners also look promising with the talent they have in their respective squads.
Relegation: BR Highlanders this time might find it hard to make a great escape.
They had a bad start last season, but managed to recover in the second round. Green Lovers, FC Satmos and Miscellaneous are most likely to find themselves in the relegation zone.
Player of the season: He will most likely come from a team that will clinch the league title. Segolame Boy, Benson Shilongo or Mkhanyeseli Siwahla could have a lot of influence.
Coach of the season: Mike Sithole and Mark Harrison have started brightly, but could face competition for the award from Pio Paul and Madinda Ndlovu at Orapa United.
Signing of the season: Rollers, Chiefs and Gunners have made big name signings already. However Mogogi Gabonamong’s signing could be what Rollers needed to reclaim the glory with star defender, Oscar Ncenga injury prone.
Flashpoints: Wrangles over the transfer of players have become an usual occurrence every season. This season will not be an exception.
New innovations: The Botswana Premier League (BPL) have come up with new ideas including attempting to draw large crowds to the games. These include resolutions to schedule all the games played in Maun, the National Stadium and Itekeng Stadium at night.
Hopefully, this will help increase the number of spectators in the games and in the end augmenting clubs’ revenues.
Eagerly awaited moment: The matches between Rollers and Chiefs will once again be one of the highlights of the season.
Rollers have made several big name signings including Galabgwe Moyana who crossed the floor from Chiefs. wChiefs, on the other hand, are close to signing Lesego Molemogi and Dirang Moloi who played for Rollers last season.
Chiefs to take it
Mmegi Correspondent, MOMPATI TLHANKANE puts his neck on the line and predicts that Mochudi Centre Chiefs will retain the title despite emerging threats from rivals Township Rollers and last season’s Mascom Top 8 winner, Gaborone United.
Champions: Despite their growing rivalry with Township Rollers, defending champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs will retain the title but not on a silver platter. With Mara Moloi back to scoring ways, it will be Chiefs’ title to lose.
Rollers could still pose threat looking at the calibre of signings they have made.
Relegation: Sankoyo, BR Highlanders, Satmos, Miscellaneous and Green Lovers.
Player of the season: Segolame Boy had an impressive inaugural season for Rollers and he will continue from where he left.
Jackie Mothatego has settled well at Chiefs and that might be enough to land him the most prestigious individual award of the season.
Coach of the season: Mike Sithole is a man of tactics and he is likely to retain the award.
Signing of the season: With a huge experience and the ability to switch roles, Mogogi Gabonamong is the perfect man for Rollers’ shaky defence and midfield.
Flashpoints: Issues like the branding conflict between football sponsors, players’ transfers.
New innovations: The player of the month award is expected to ignite sparks.
Eagerly awaited moment: To see how the new Township Rollers coach Mark Harrison will perform in his maiden appearance in Botswana football.
The October fixture between Chiefs and Rollers is always something to look forward too.
Paul to Excell
Staff Writer, MQONDISI DUBE argues it would be the usual two-horse race between Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs for the title while Gilport Lions, Green Lovers and Miscellaneous, Sankoyo and Satmos will all be in the relegation mix.
Champions: It will turn out to be a close contest between defending champions, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and perennial rivals, Township Rollers. However, Gaborone United cannot be discounted.
Relegation: Satmos, Sankoyo, Gilport Lions, Miscellaneous and Green Lovers
Player of the season: The returning Mogogi Gabonamong might prove to be a big influence for Rollers. Kabelo Dambe, Segolame Boy and Joel Mogorosi will stake a claim as well.
Coach of the season: Pio Paul might prove to be shrewd piece of business for Extension Gunners.
He has a promising squad, which might move closer to the established top three. Don’t discount Mike Sithole, Mark Harrison and Rahman Gumbo.
Signing of the season: Exciting South African, Tshegofatso Chimuku looks ready to carry on from where he left last season.
He might be a wise buy for a Gunners side looking for pace, vim and youth.
Flashpoints: The Premiership leadership has thus far impressed in their organisational aspects. However, controversy is always sniffing around. Clubs embroiled in player disputes might emerge as the unwanted distraction. The irritating last minute change of fixtures might be another unwanted regular.
New innovations: The player of the month award is expected to spur players on and provide an exciting dimension to the league
Eagerly awaited moments: To see how former champions Rollers utilise their star studded squad after heavy criticism of signing every available top player. A season nowadays is incomplete without clashes between Chiefs and Rollers.
Lovers, Galaxy to surprise
Newly promoted teams Green Lovers and Jwaneng Galaxy will be this year’s surprise packages, while the champions will emerge from perennial candidates Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs, with Extension Gunners finding their footing, argues Mmegi Sport Correspondent, KABELO BORANABI
Champions: Looking at the signings Chiefs and Rollers have made, the two teams will fight for top honours. Extension Gunners cannot be ruled out.
Under the guidance of their former player Keitumetse ‘Pio’ Paul, the team looks sharper than ever and will pose a threat this season.
Relegation: Gilport Lions are yet to make any big signing and with the squad they have, they might not survive.
The Mahalapye outfit, BR Highlanders avoided relegation last season but this year Tebogo Mokute’s boys do not look that convincing.
Player of the season: Rollers’ Segolame Boy, Mogomotsi Mokoka of Gunners and Chiefs’ Jackie Mothathego have looked impressive early on.
Green Lovers’ marksman, Moatlhodi Ralesotla is a dark horse.
Coach of the season: Rollers’ mentor Mark Harrison and Gunners’ Paul are coaches hungry for success. Oris Radipotsane may be a contender if only he gets into the Top 8.
Signing of the Season: Mogomotsi Mokoka and Mogogi Gabonamong
Flash point of the season: Squabbles over player ownership.
New innovations: The newly introduced player of the month award is set to motivate the players this season.
Eagerly awaited moment: It will be interesting to see how Green Lovers handle playing away from their home ground, the Serowe Sports Complex.
The Serowe derby between Miscellaneous and Lovers is a must watch.