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GU reclaim the city’s bragging rights

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It was an afternoon to remember last Saturday as Gaborone United reclaimed the city’s bragging rights with a 2-1 victory against cross-town rivals Township Rollers, in an action packed BTC Premiership fixture.

Mara Moloi was the first to find the back of the net with a header giving the ‘Reds’ a lead on the 11th minute.

Popa tried to come from behind but GU keeper Goitseone Phoko was up for the task as he kept their enterprising strike force at bay till half time.

On the 72nd minute of the game, Thatayaone Kgamanyane extended GU’s lead but Rollers were not deterred as they kept surging forward and were rewarded as Motsholetsi Sikele halved the deficit.

Speaking after the game GU Caretaker Coach, Pontsho Moloi, said although he felt they could have done better, he was happy with the desire and the attitude of his players. He said scoring first has always worked for them even in the past games as it helps them to stay composed for the remainder of the game.

“Today we played under a lot of pressure because our opponents are a big team and they have good quality players. I also have a great quality and experienced squad and they know what to do when we are under pressure. We work and talk about this at training and here we are with yet another win. We take every game as it comes and next up is Prisons XI who are breathing heavily up our necks on the league table and it is going to be an interesting game, ” said Moloi.

Rollers Coach, Frank Nuttal, said despite the loss he takes a lot of positives from the game. He said they have a lot of injuries at the team.

He said he brought in Kamogelo Matsabu as a captain in the absence of Simisani Mathumo who is nursing an injury .

Rollers fans however did not take kindly to the results as they went on the rampage throwing bottles at referees and the Police had to intervene to rescue the match officials.

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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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