A fixture of confusion

Kabelo Dipholo
UP FOR THE CHALLENGE: Action against Chiefs

* Angels/Rollers match marred by last minute changes

* Rejected Old F-town stadium to host a BPL match

It’s 10am on Wednesday morning, and both Eleven Angels and Township Rollers are not sure where and when their next fixture will be played.

Initially the match was scheduled for 1600hrs this Saturday at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium, but the fixture was then moved to 1900hrs on Friday at the Serowe Stadium due to the unavailability of the stadium in Francistown.

Angels registered their displeasure with the sudden change of the venue, further indicating that they were not financially ready to honor the fixture in Serowe.

At 11am, the Botswana Football League made their second change in two days and fixtured the match for 1600hrs at the Old Francistown stadium on Saturday.

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The old Council stadium was in the past deemed unsuitable for premier league football.

An unhappy Rollers Public Relations Officer (PRO) Phempherethe Pheto told Voice Sports that the many changes have affected their entire approach to the weekend match.

Pheto said, for them football does not only happen on the field of play.

“We have merchandise teams, membership drives and other initiatives such as Unayo from our sponsors Stanbic Bank which are part of our weekend activities. We had initially planned to do membership drives at areas such as Mathangawane, but when the fixture was moved to Serowe we had to cancel and engaged the Palapye branch for an activation. Unfortunately, the fixture was moved back to Francistown, and the whole thing has been confusing to both our supporters and players,” said Pheto.

He said when the fixture was changed for the first time they had already booked accommodation in Francistown which they were forced to cancel.

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“We couldn’t find accommodation in Serowe, so we ended up booking in Mahalapye, but had tm cancel when the match was finally moved back to Francistown,” Pheto told Voice Sport.

Pheto also felt that the decision to take the match to the old stadium, is unwise and disadvantages Angels who were looking to cash in on gate takings.

“The BPL overlooked issues of security when the settled for this stadium. The old stadium is not good for football, and this decision is taking football backwards. Football has to grow from all angles, but such decisions are not helping,” fired Pheto.

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His concerns were echoed by a bemused Angels founder and Head Coach Seemo Mpatane.

“It is all too confusing. We cannot even advertise this match because we don’t have a venue, date and time,” Mpatane said.

Despite these many unsettling last minute changes, the young coach said his youthful players are looking forward to facing Rollers.

“These are the kind of games you look forward to when you gain promotion in to the top league. My players are looking forward to play against their idols such as Tsotso Ngele. I don’t even have to motivate them, they’re excited and can’t wait to test themselves against arguably the biggest team in the country,” Mpatane said.

This will be the two teams’ first ever meeting, and the ambitious coach believes the 0-0 draw against BDF XI was a perfect result ahead of the crunch encounter.

“It’s not an easy feat to draw away to BDF, and I’m happy with the point, but Saturday will be a totally different ball game, I just hope we don’t concede an early goal,” he said.

Mpatane should also be concerned about goals at the other end of the pitch too.

Angels are yet to score a goals in 2023.

Before their weekend nil-all draw against BDF, the Francistown side had lost 0-2 to and 2-0 to Police XI and Orapa United respectively.

The barren run coincided with the absence of their talented attacker Monty Enosa who was in Europe for trials.

Although he featured in the weekend match, Mpatane’s side still failed to find the back of the net.

“We surely missed him. He gives us shape when he’s around. We create a lot of chances, we just have to bury them,” the coach said about his prized asset who’s expected to leave for Europe anytime soon after impressing in Denmark.

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Kickoff is 1600hrs, Old Francistown Stadium.

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