Nico target fragile GU lead

Quick silver: Makgantai
Quick silver: Makgantai

Gaborone United (GU) travel to Selebi-Phikwe to face Nico United well aware of how fragile their 2-1 Mascom Top 8 lead is.

The two meet in the second leg of semi final on Sunday. Kick-off is at 3pm.  Nico who are 13th in the league would want to put their poor league form behind as they eye a first ever final appearance in the ‘Tse di Tona’ Top 8 competition. 

Majombolo have only won two of their last five games, drawing one and losing two. The team, however, has shown signs of improvement under coach, Wesley Mondo.  A 1-0 win will take them to the final. Gaborone United, on the other hand, would want to continue their good form, which has seen them win three of their last five games in the league. Moyagoleele are fourth in the league, but are goal shy having scored five in five matches.

The team has been relying mostly on young talent thus bringing a lot of energy in their attack. 


On most occasions, ‘The Reds’ have been guilty of complacency and will have to guard against that when they meet Nico. 

The match will pit two strikers, one making his Premier League debut while the other is a fringe Zebras striker.  GU has the outstanding Benson Shilongo who has three goals in the competition while Nico United’s Makgantai has one. 

Nico assistant coach, Blue Same said Makgantai is a player who takes instructions well and they like his attitude, particularly at training.

If he is not distracted he is going to mature into a good player.

“We use him sparingly because of his pace. We do not want to tire him, but want to introduce him to run at defenders in the second half,” Same said.

The crucial battle: Shilongo (striker) vs Makgantai (striker)

Benson Shilongo

Strengths

The 22-year old Namibian striker has been one of the outstanding players for Moyagolele this season.

He has good aerial ability and poses threat to the Majombolo defenders. Shilongo has very artistic footwork and can beat any defender any day.  He looks more dangerous as a support striker and has a knack of scoring crucial goals.

Weaknesses

Shilongo appears selfish at times, even when it looks easier to pass a free teammate.

However, coaches at times like selfish strikers who are eager to find the net, but if it is done too often it becomes detrimental.  His other weakness is that he struggles when he is used as a lone striker.

 

Onkabetse Makgantai

Strengths

The national Under-23 striker can play different roles in the Nico United advance line. He can play as a striker, as an attacking midfielder and on the wings.  The diminutive striker is quick on his feet and can beat players for pace.

He has a very good eye for goal and can shoot from range. He is good at positioning himself and usually catches the defence from the blind spot.

 

Weaknesses

He is not good in the air and struggles against tall defenders. Because of his physical nature, he is easily dispossessed off the ball. Like most young players, his decision-making is questionable. 

 

Why Nico need it most

The Selebi-Phikwe outfit has not been performing well in the league and will look to make history by being the first team from the north to win the competition.  Progress in the cup competition will motivate them in their relegation fight, while the P1 million prize money will come in handy.

 

Why GU need it most

With the league title race getting tougher, the 2012/2013 Mascom Top 8 champions want to give the club’s fans some silverware.

 

How they got to

the semi final

Nico

Majomobolo got past Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the quarterfinals on a 3-1 aggregate score. It was the biggest shock of the round.  They won one of their three games played and lost the other two. Nico has scored four goals while conceding another four goals.

Best performance: Quarter-final

GU

Moyagoleele advanced to the semifinals after beating FC Satmos on a 6-0 aggregate score. Along the way, they scored eight times and only conceded once. They have three victories in three matches.

Best performance: Winners (2013) 

Prediction: Draw, with GU proceeding to the final

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