CAF Double dose

Portia Mlilo
SANDWICHED: GU players keeping their eyes on their man

“There’s nothing special about Pirates” Ramoreboli

Football fans are in for an exciting weekend when two of CAF’s biggest club competition take centre stage at the National Stadium in Gaborone.

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Jwaneng Galaxy, and Gaborone United take on Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup respectively.

Winners in both encounters will progress to the group stages of the two major competitions. Township Rollers and Galaxy remain the only two local teams to make it to the group stages.

Moyagolelele, as GU are known gets the ball rolling on Saturday evening against Matsatsantsa-a-Pitori hoping to open their account an advantage going into the second leg in South Africa in two weeks time.

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The club’s legendary attacking midfielder, and now Assistant Coach, Stephen Maposa was upbeat in an interview with Voice Sport on Wednesday.

Maposa, whose goal eliminated Pirates from the 2010 Champions League, said they’re once again ready to re-write history.

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With all his charges available for selection, save for Kennedy Amutenya who’s serving a one match ban, Maposa has sent a warning to the South Africans to expect a very hostile National Stadium.

“We played against SuperSport during our preseason training in South Africa, so we already know what to expect,” he said.

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GETTING READY: Gaborone United during training

He said since the league is on in South Africa, they’ve been watching their opponents playing every weekend.

“Unlike them, our preparations are based on what we know. We also have a lot of players auditioning to play in the PSL, and this is the right stage for them to show what they’re made of,” Maposa said.

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One of the players in the books of many talent scouts is forward Onkabetse Makgantai.

The tricky striker also spoke confidently ahead of the crucial encounter.

“We can’t make the same mistake we did in the first preliminary match where we conceded a goal. Coming from a goal down away to a team like SuperSport is no child’s play,” said the striker as he urged The Reds’ supporters to come in large numbers for the 7pm kick-off.

The next day, fans will get a second dose of football action, as Morena Ramoreboli’s Galaxy welcomes a star-studded Pirates at the National Stadium.

Ezymnyama enjoys a good following in Botswana, and Ramoreboli and his boys will have to be at their very best to win supporters to their side.

The former Bafana Bafana coach however seemed unbothered by his opponents’s checkered history and stature.

Just two months back he was in charge of some of their players, as Head-Coach of Bafana Bafana in the COSAFA Cup competition.

He said although they go into the match as underdogs, he has no doubt that his boys can deliver.

“There’s nothing special about Pirates except that they are always on television and regarded as one of the best. I’ve coached some of their players and I know they will want to prove a thing or two to me. So I do not anticipate an easy game,” said Ramoreboli.

He said he has developed the likes of Sipho Chaine, Kabelo Dlamini, Monnapule Saleng and Thembinkosi, and has seen them grow until they played as professionals.

CAF Double dose
FLASHBACK: Action from a previous encounter

“We’re one step away from the group stage, so we must eliminate Pirates,” he added with conviction.

His sentiments were shared by Galaxy legend Olebogeng Malejwe who called on his former colleagues to leave everything on the ground.

“We must fight with all we have to win the first leg so that our job becomes easy when they host us in the second leg. I know it is going to be a tough task but I trust our players. They are capable of putting up a good fight. Besides, who will not want to brag that he scored against one of the best teams in Africa,” asked Malejwe with a chuckle.

After Botswana’s best ladies side Double Action, was humbled by South Africa’s best Sundowns, the time has now come for two of the country’s top male clubs to flex against SA’s top two contenders.

Kick-off is 1500hrs.

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