SSKB Stadium will be the battleground tomorrow as Notwane and FC Satmos meet in a sink or swim relegation encounter.
The two teams are fighting for the last remaining spot in the Premier League with both Letlapeng and ECCO City Greens’ fate already decided. Satmos need a victory in order to save their situation while a draw will be enough for Notwane to stay in the elite league. The Selebi-Phikwe side however face a tricky situation as their case against Sankoyo is still pending.
Satmos had won their case against Sankoyo who they accused of fielding an improperly registered player, Morris Ruzivo during their league encounter early this year.
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) disciplinary committee awarded them three points and two goals. Those points have been held for now though since Sankoyo have appealed the ruling. Satmos are now hoping that they beat Notwane and wait for a determination to be made regarding Sankoyo’s appeal.
If they end up being awarded the points, they will again have to face Notwane in a play-off match to determine who remains in the Premier League. Satmos are 14th with 26points while Notwane are at position 13 with 31 points. For the fourth straight season, Notwane find themselves in the battle for survival despite boasting some of the most experienced and exciting players in the league.
They had a bad start to the season, but hit form this year after a victory against Extension Gunners. They went onto to hold Mochudi Centre Chiefs to a draw before beating Rollers, but they seem to have reached a dead end. They have lost four of their last six games, and conceding 12 goals in the process. Satmos have also been on a losing spree despite showing some resilience against Chiefs a fortnight ago.
They were good defensively and created opportunities through counter attacks. However, they went on to lose 2-1 against Rollers in the last game. Satmos will be without their attacker, Lesego Moiphemedi who was sent off for an off-the-ball incident during their game against Chiefs.
Mosimanegape Ramohibidu as well as Gaetwesepe Legoreng will have to be at their best if they are to stop Notwane marksman, Zebron Njobvu.
Satmos coach, Kenneth Mogae is optimistic they can pull a victory in this game particularly because they have not been playing badly in the last three games.
“We did not get the results, but I think we were the better team. It is just that sometimes you need luck to win and I think we did not have luck in those games,” he said.
He said the players are focused and motivated ahead of the game despite not having been able to get the results they wanted in the past few games. Mogae joined Satmos in the middle of the season following his dismissal from cross-town rivals, Nico. He found Satmos in a precarious situation.
He explained that when he arrived, he realised the team had not had a proper pre-season training which affected the players’ physical fitness.
“I realised that they could not play beyond 60 minutes hence the slow start to the season because they did not have proper pre-season training, but I managed to solve that problem.
“I have also managed to motivate and make them believe in themselves,” he explained.
He said at this point it is important to focus more on motivating the players, instead of coaching. Mogae is convinced they can get something out of their game against Notwane.
Notwane’s Fabian Zulu, on the other hand, stressed the importance of not putting their players under pressure. “We do not have to press the panic button and try and change the programme because that could put the boys under pressure. We have players as young as 17 years and all they have to know is that it is a normal game just like others,” he said.
He said the reason why Notwane find themselves in the situation is because of their financial situation. He however expressed optimism that tomorrow’s game would be an entertaining one. Besides the relegation fight, the battle for the second spot will be decided this weekend. Two points separate third placed Rollers and Orapa United at number two.
Orapa United take on Sankoyo Bush Bucks while Rollers play Gaborone United (GU). Chiefs will be crowned champions after wrapping up the league title a fortnight ago.
Meanwhile, Extension Gunners have been docked three points and two goals by the Botswana Premier League (BPL) DC over the registration of Michael Pillar. BR Highlanders who had lodged a protest complaining about his registration have since been given the points.
Gunners however remain in position seven with 40 points with a game left to play. BR Highlanders move into position nine with 38 points, just one point behind BMC who are sitting at position eight.