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Can Piro stop Teenage?

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Focus shifts to Orange FA Cup

The newly crowned Mascom Top 8 Champions, Orapa United will shift their focus to another challenge this Friday when they host Gaborone United in the Orange FA Cup last 16 round match.

The last time the two teams met in a league game Moyagoleele defeated the host Orapa United 2-0. Mara Moloi and Obonwe Maome scored to give the visitors maximum points.

The Reds travel to Itekeng Stadium to try and dislodge the Ostriches from their fortress. GU have been doing well off late. The Old Naledi outfit has registered five consecutive wins under the tutelage of caretaker Coach Pontsho “Piro” Moloi.

In their last league game, GU bagged the city’s bragging rights in a 2-1 derby win at the expense of Township Rollers.

United who were not active this weekend played two friendly matches against division one side Master Blackpool and Notwane FC which they won 4-1 and 5-1 respectively.

Speaking to Voice Sport this Wednesday, The Ostriches Coach Teenage Mpote said as the Orange FA Cup Defending Champions, their Top 8 triumph is in the past and their focus has now shifted to the task at hand.

“Our intention is to defend this cup with all we have,” said Mpote.

“We know anything can happen in a cup game but we intend to use our home ground advantage. We won’t be travelling, which gives us more time to train the whole week after a hectic cup final over the weekend, Mpote told Voice Sport.

The tactician said he’s anticipating a highly tactical game against an unpredictable GU side who are on a good run.

“It’s a pressure game, and obviously all eyes will be on us as the defending champions, so we need to play with caution to avoid unnecessary mistakes,”said Mpote.

GU Coach Moloi, who watched his Friday opponents dispose off Rollers last Saturday in Francistown said he’s prepared to face a team he referred to as ‘tough opponents’.

Piro said he’ll consult his notes after studying Orapa for over 120 minutes against Rollers.

“I had the opportunity to identify their strengths and weaknesses which helped us in our preparations,” said Moloi, adding that it’ll be tough and equally exciting to face the Defending Champions.

“The weekend break has given injured players time to recover, and we now have a full strength squad to select from,” revealed Moloi.

The former Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Zebras’ tricky winger further told Voice Sport that while they respect their opponents they see the Orange FA Cup as one of this season’s realistic chances of winning silverware after missing out on the Top 8.

“We’ll go all out for a win and go through to the quarter finals. We are however not under any pressure. All we can do on the night is give our best,”he said.

Kick-of is 1900hrs.

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The rise of Piro

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*Football legend thriving in managerial hot seat

Having made his name as one of the country’s most successful footballers, Pontsho Piro Moloi is fast proving himself an equally accomplished coach.

The 38-year-old Gaborone United caretaker coach, who hung up his boots in 2016, has enjoyed a perfect start to life in the Money Machine hot seat, guiding the Reds to six wins out of six.

Despite his managerial inexperience, Moloi was handed the Moyagoleele reigns in January following the suspension of Phillimon Makwengwe.

It proved to be a masterstroke from the GU hierarchy.

The unassuming, softly-spoken Moloi has breathed new fire into the Gaborone giant’s, reigniting a title bid that looked all but extinguished at the start of the year.

Five points off table-topping Jwaneng Galaxy with ten games left to play – if the season ever resumes – GU are now serious contenders.

Moloi knows exactly what it takes to lift the league, having won it four times as a player during a glittering 10-year career with Mochudi Centre Chiefs.

The Magosi legend would earn himself a similar status with GU fans if he could lead the Reds to a first title in 11 years.

The former attacking midfielder’s ‘perfect six’ include league victories over both Orapa United and Township Rollers, as well as knocking the Ostriches, who were the defending champions, out of the Orange FA Cup to reach the quarter-finals.

Moloi’s laidback demeanour is in stark contrast to GU’s more animated coaches of the recent past, with the likes of Madinda Ndlovu, Rodolfo Zapata and even Makwengwe himself known for their touchline theatrics.

Indeed, giving instructions from the bench, clad in sunglasses, his hands tucked into his pockets, the mild-mannered Moloi looks an unlikely leader.

As the rest of the league are quickly learning, however, looks can be deceiving!

Speaking to Voice Sport this week, Moloi humbly attributed his team’s recent success to the ‘dedication, hard work and discipline’ of the players.

“It has not been an easy journey and credit must go to my boys. They have passion for the game and always do their best to bring results. Some of the players are my age mates, we played together so we understand each other better and some we even hang off the field,” said the man who won over 50 international caps with the Zebras.

Moloi was also quick to praise Makwengwe for his help and advice, stressing they have a ‘strong relationship’ and he regards the seasoned veteran as a mentor.

In his 14 years as a player, Moloi was famous for his flair and attacking intent. However, it is GU’s defence that have caught the eye since Moloi took over, with Mayagoleele keeping four clean sheets in six outings.

Another key element to GU’s stunning revival was Moloi’s shrewd signing of Lesego Galenamotlhale from Chiefs during the transfer window.

Since joining GU, the vastly experienced Galenamotlhale has formed a formidable partnership with club captain Alphanso Modisaotsile in the heart of the Red’s midfield.

“He has settled into the club brilliantly. Lesego took over the armband at Chiefs when I retired so I knew exactly what to expect from him and he has not disappointed!”

Turning his attention to a new addition at the other end of his career, Moloi likened exciting 22-year-old striker Misani Thupa, a summer signing from Extension Gunner, to a young Joel Mogorosi.

“He is very quick going forward, a very talented and fearless player. He is young, learning and I am impressed by his performance. With the guidance of Modisaotsile and Mogorosi, he is coming up well!” said the caretaker coach, who currently holds a CAF C Coaching Licence but plans to eventually go abroad to further his coaching credentials

“There are no courses locally,” he noted grimly.

With all local football suspended until at least the 10 April as Botswana and the world attempt to stop the spread of Coronavirus, local coaches would do well to use the time off coming up with a plan to stop Moloi and his rampant Reds.

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Botswana to host Africa football legends

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As part of their 10th anniversary celebrations, Footballers Union Botswana (FUB) will host a match between Botswana and Africa football legends on the 29th of May.

Football supporters will have an opportunity to select their preferred players from a shortlist of 40 local legends through an SMS voting competition. Active former players came up with the list which comprises legendsfrom the south and the northern part of the country.

The Africa Legends team will be led by UEFA Champions league winner Geremi Njitap.

The former versatile Chelsea and Real Madrid star is the current President of FIFpro Africa.

There will be also players like Thomas Sweswe, Nhlanhla Tsahabala from South Africa, Aruna Dindane from Ivory Coast, Desmond Maringwa the former youngest captain of Dynamos.

Speaking to Voice Sport about the match, FUB Secretary Kgosana Masaseng said proceeds made from the game will be used to help some of former players with challenges like Twizer Ramoshibidu, Seboloko Khutsafalo and Malepa Bolelang.

He said they will also sponsor those who would want to pursue coaching courses, administration and further their academics.

He said this year they are sponsoring Sekhana Koko who is pursuing his Advance Sports Management at Nelson Mandela University.

“We have documented our story, 10 years of existence which is a one hour documentary and we also have a printed version to tell our story then and now. I would like to thank Botswana National Sports Commission for availing their facilities to host this big match, All Kasi is the technical sponsor and Nice Touch will be providing transport,” said Masaseng

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