Agile Phoko, Dirang magic light road to final

Magician: Moloi
Magician: Moloi

Gaborone United and Township Rollers set an exciting April 25 Mascom Top 8 appointment with contrasting victories over the weekend. It was a weekend which belonged to agile Gaborone United shot stopper, Goitseone Phoko whose stock reached new levels. Township Rollers’ midfielder, Dirang Moloi meanwhile proved his magic with a finely crafted goal. Mmegi Staff Writer MQONDISI DUBE witnessed both demolition jobs

Rising Gaborone United (GU) shot stopper, Goitseone Phoko emphatically erased any lingering doubts about his talent when he produced an assortment of goalkeeping heroics to send his side through to their second Mascom Top 8 final.

Their opponents for the April 25 final, Township Rollers saw gangly magician, Dirang Moloi produce a piece of talismanic prowess to light up an otherwise lukewarm encounter against BDF XI.

In between referee, Kutlwano Leso attracted the ire of Nico United with two vital penalty calls, which could have changed the complexion of the game. Zambian coach, Wesley Mondo was scathing of Leso’s performance.

“The referee won the game,” Mondo summed up his frustrations at the end of a frenetic 90 minutes. Both semi-finals were far from explosive, save for the second half between Nico United and GU.

The road to the final began on Friday with BDF XI attempting to overturn a 2-1 deficit. However, the mountain became steeper when Dirang Moloi broke clear, chasing a Jerome Louis pass to produce the match’s finest moment with a delightful chip over goalkeeper, Takudzwa Ndoro in the 79th minute. Up to that stage, Moloi -and the match- had failed to spark the sparse crowd into life.

The cheeky goal earned Moloi the man of the match award although he was a less deserving recipient on a night BDF XI failed to press their opponents.

In Selebi-Phikwe, a near capacity crowd watched as the country’s brightest goalkeeping prospect, Phoko, effortlessly rose to the occasion with no less than six stupendous stops to propel his side to the final.

The panel tasked with coming up with the best player on the day, again fell short of expectations, picking a subdued Alphonse Modisaotsile ahead by the miles ahead Phoko.

Phoko began his afternoon by spreading himself large in the 15th minute to deny big Zambian striker, Christopher Musonda.  It was the match’s first flash point as the blocked ball bubbled around with the Nico bench rising furiously to claim a penalty ,but the referee ignored the protests.

The Nico bench finished one man short, after assistant coach, Duncan Tshegofatso was given his marching orders for protesting. Another young talent, Onkabetse Makgantai showed why he has been receiving rave reviews when he struck a fierce, rising effort, which warmed Phoko’s gloves as the ball flew out for a corner.

The Phoko show picked up tempo and quality- when he dived low to dig out a Khumoetsile Kufigwa effort, into the post, then out of play.

The young goalkeeper then went airborne to pluck out a ball struck on the run by Makgantai in the second half.

Phoko, who is blossoming under the watchful eye of former Township Rollers great, Thabo Motang then smothered a rasping shot, which had found its way through a forest of legs.  He appeared unsighted but made a last minute dip to push the ball out. His aerial command was from the top drawer.  Nico captain, Richard Legwaila, who grabbed a hat trick in the last Top 8 match against Mochudi Centre Chiefs at the same venue, found Phoko uncompromising. The keeper denied him in a one-on-one situation, making a double save at the feet of the commanding midfielder.

Motang sees a better goalkeeper in the next year. He says it will be critical for Phoko to stay grounded.  Phoko was thrust into the first team after the departure of Noah Maposa to South Africa last year.

Phoko’s display and Moloi’s magic lit up the road to a dream final, which sees former Zimbabwe internationals, Madinda Ndlovu and Rahman Gumbo go toe to toe.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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