Premier League bound Masitaoka Football Club, will over the weekend paint the Bakwena capital blue where they will spend the whole week lying in wait for the limping Kgatleng side, Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Maaparankwe).
The two sides lock horns at Molepolole Sports Complex on (29th Feb 2020) Saturday evening in a mouthwatering encounter that promises fireworks. Donning their trademark royal blue and white replicas, crowds supporting the Molepolole based Majatlhaga have been flooding the dusty grounds of DFDS. They are now demanding that the team graduate to better facilities more conduce for carpet football, which the players have been dishing out in truckloads since the start of 2019/20 season.
Eager to gain automatic promotion to the Premier league, and get the monkey off their back for being the only major village that does not feature a team in the elite league, the Molepolole side will go for the jocular from the first whistle -a sequel of the thrashing they handed second placed Mogoditshane Fighters last weekend. A win on Saturday will extend Masitaoka’s lead at the summit of DFDS to eight (8) points, regardless of the outcome of the Fighters game. The 11 points gap that separates the two sides will not amount for much when Nelson ‘Manelo’ Olebile’s charges trot into Molepolole Sports Complex before an anticipated capacity crowd on Saturday evening. The vociferous crowd will spur Majatlhaga on to the detriment of the visitors from Kgatleng.
“Our target is to secure the three points to keep the momentum towards gaining automatic promotion at the end of the DFDS 2019/20 season. We are not concerned about who they are as we treat every opponent in the league as equals,” cautions Olebile.
On the other hand, Mochudi Centre Chiefs cannot afford to faulter. They are fighting to bridge the gap between them and log leaders to sustain the race against title contenders, and dropping crucial points is not part of their game plan. They want all three points to keep Masitaoka at bay! The former Premier league Champions, who have been a shadow of themselves in recent years are desperate to return to their glory days. But truth be told, they are facing an uphill battle. Chiefs were relegated to the DFDS last season after a series of poor performances following deep seated divisions within management, which culminated in the departure of key sponsors when the results stopped coming.
An upbeat Magosi mouthpiece, John Marumo has warned Masitaoka to tread carefully and never take them for granted in the massive encounter. Quick to concede that they are facing some challenges, Marumo however maintains that Centre Chiefs is a big team that still harbours ambitions of returning the premier league. He said every member of the team including management, supporters and the teachnical team -led by coach Elias Chinyenze, are working around the clock doing their part to prepare for the encounter that will pit Bakwena against Bakgatla. “The rivalry between the two is legendary. We are aware of the massive support they command but our following needs no introduction. We know they are under pressure to please their people in Molepolole but we also have a responsibility to secure the three points to keep our hopes alive as title contenders. It is not over yet! We also want to finish the season at the top,” said Marumo, reiterating that the encounter is a big encounter
He boasted that Centre Chiefs is a massive brand with a huge following, which they will tap into to intimidate Masitaoka. On the team’s preparedness Marumo said they are happy that they do not have any injuries, which will give the coach sufficient time to prepare the players mentally for the tough encounter that threatens to extinguish their hopes of promotion. “It is going to be all about psychological preparedness and state of the mindset. Our technical bench will emphasise on players to focus, keep their eyes glued to the winning the game,” he said.
In vernacular, Marumo declared; “Ntata, more wa mmokwane o ngwaiwa ka setlhotlho. Re pelo botlhoko gore ba koo dimo ga lloko. Re semeletse ka ipaakanyo ee tsennetseng re batloo gapa dintlha.”
Masitaoka made their intentions clear about promotion to the elite league in the first-round encounter against the much hyped Mochudi Centre Chiefs -who were touted to terrorise first division opponents to regain promotion. Majatlhaga invaded Chiefs in their backyard and walloped the once formidable Sedibelo 1-0 in Modipane on 19/10/2020
It remains to be seen if the celebrations will continue at Molepolole Sports Complex on Saturday, or if Mochudi Centre Chiefs will muster enough strength to stop the marauding Masitaoka and remind them that it is not over till the last whistle. But Masitaoka is alive to the lurking danger, and according to Olebile, they will draw from their reserves and play each of the remaining six fixtures like cup finals.
Formed in Molepolole in 1968, Masitaoka are looking at making history by being the first ever Molepolole based side to gain promotion to the elite league. Masitaoka was relegated from First Division in 2014 following a series of poor performances after management disintegrated due to serious misunderstandings. Notwithstanding the setback, those who did not abandon the team remained resolute about the dream to one day play in the Premier League. Acquiring the status of the defunct Tlokweng based side, Black Peril in DFDS in July 2019 was a deliberate manoeuvre that brought Masitaoka closer to the ultimate dream of rubbing shoulders with the creme-de-la-creme in local football. After trying unsuccessfully to gain promotion to DFDS for four consecutive seasons, always failing in the knockout playoffs after intensive preparations, lady luck finally smiled their way when Black Peril folded thus availing a slot. Masitaoka sponsor -businessman Mmonesi Aryl Ralebala grabbed the opportunity with both hands parting with a handsome loot in the transaction estimated to have cost around half a million pula, and as the saying goes ‘the rest is history’.
Soon after the deal was signed, the technical team wne ton a shopping spree to reinforce the youthful side with more experienced players among them Koketso Majafi, Topo Piet and Emmanuel Nlu, to build a formidable squad that has been terrorising opponents.
Exceptional performance by Masitaoka is not by fluke or chance. It is fuelled by Molepolole born businesman Mmonesi Aryl Ralebala who acquired 90 percent shareholding of the team in 2017 and is currently using one of his companies -Tswana Gas, as the main sponsor. The mastermind who managed the transition from a society to a private company, is renowned Gaborone attorney, Tshiamo Rantao waxes lyrical about the privatisation model adopted by Masitaoka. “It is the best model that local teams should emulate if they want to transition to professional football. It is a win-win for the investor and the community,” said Rantao.
Masitaoka spokesperson Godfrey Ratlhaga said: “through the exploits of this team and in partnership with the community we want to develop sport/ football, not only in Molepolole, but the whole of Kweneng. Promotion to the premier league will enable us to secure more strategic partnerships that will enable us to roll out our masterplan going forward. We are unwavering in our pursuit of that ultimate goal. We remain focussed”.