PALAPYE: Unfashionable Santa Green, which had a determined run in last season’s Orange FA Cup have now set their sights on causing a storm in the Debswana First Division North.
The Veggies find themselves at the summit of the log after three outings. Coach Kabelo Sephatla said his young charges settled quicker than he had anticipated.
The Mahalapye outfit edged Great North Tigers 1-0 in their first match, held Motlakase Power Dynamos to a 2-2 draw, and dispatched Francistown City Greens 3-1.
Their credentials will be tested in a top of the table clash when they welcome second placed Nico United this weekend.
They are equal on seven points with the Veggies ahead due to a superior goal difference. The two meet on Saturday at the BR Highlanders Ground in Mahalapye. Although intentions are a top-half finish at the end of the season, Sephatla believes his charges have the potential to cause a shock.
He said he would not put pressure on the squad with title ambitions but promised they would bring a battle in all the games.
“We had a good start, and the boys have settled quickly. I am observing the performance until the end of the first round and if we maintain the same run then we will go all the way,” he said.
The coach said the Veggies’ rise was due to continuity and the retention of players. He said most of the squad members developed together from Junior Secondary School under his mentorship.
He said the players are understanding and have a high level of commitment. “They are not paid, but we have made them understand the bigger picture. They understand the possibilities of better opportunities and they are focused,” the coach said.
“We continue to develop together, they understand their strengths and weaknesses. They are growing and they are also helping me to grow.” The squad has the experienced Tilly Setlhako, Gofamodimo Samuel, Onkokame Matsela and Goitsemang Monnathebe. Sephatla is counting on their 12th man to be the difference when his side takes on Majombolo. He said they started preparations early after the Independence Day holidays break.
“Mahalapye community really enjoy watching us and our support base is undoubtedly growing. I anticipate good numbers to back the boys, it’s (Nico) a very important fixture.”
Majombolo coach, Peter Muchina said they are prepared for the Vergies.
He said he studied his opponents during the Eastern Bloc playoffs that were held in Selebi-Phikwe. He acknowledged his opponents are a young tenacious side.
“They are full of energy and have massive hunger. Nico have an equally young squad, we will match them pound for pound. We are expecting a high tempo game and we (are) prepared. The better team will win,” he said.
Elsewhere, Sua Flamingoes welcome Chouka in a titanic clash in Sowa Town. Chouka are searching for an elusive win after three consecutive draws, while Flamingoes are also looking to get their season underway following a shaky start. Eleven Angels are facing a mammoth task against Sankoyo Bush Bucks. Bucks are fresh from a heavy 5-0 win over Tonota FC. Tonota rookies are home to Green Lovers.
Calendar Stars host City Greens in a Francistown derby, while Great North Tigers take the long trip to Maun Terrors.