Masitaoka consolidate top spot

Tshepo Kehimile

‘Maja Tlhaga’ in seventh heaven as they banish Holy Ghost to open five-point gap

Masitaoka FC continued their unrelenting push for promotion to the Premier League on Saturday, banishing Holy Ghost 2-0 to open up a five-point gap at the top of the Debswana First Division South.

Astonishingly, it was the high-flying Molepolole outfit’s seventh clean sheet in a row.

Indeed, you have to go back to October 30th for the last time ‘Maja Tlhaga’ conceded a league goal.

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Over 630 minutes of football have passed since Masitaoka suffered a 2-1 defeat to Mogoditshane Fighters.

How times have changed since then.

While Masitaoka were exorcising Holy Ghost to record a seventh successive victory, Fighters were slipping up against Black Forest, registering back-to-back losses for the first time this season.

Fighters entered the new year leading the league by a single point; two games into 2020 and they now trial Masitaoka by five points.

However, Nelson Olebile’s troops were made to sweat for the win against a well-organised Holy Ghost side.

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With little to choose between the two teams and the game seemingly destined to finish goalless, an 80th minute set-piece proved Holy Ghost’s undoing.

For the second consecutive week, striker Emmanuel Ditodi forced his way onto the score sheet, bundling home Thabiso Keitumetse’s inviting corner and sending Masitaoka’s travelling supporters to seventh heaven.

The points were sealed right at the death when Christopher Lemme, newly signed from Division One South side Taung Young Strikers, finished from close range.

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Speaking to Voice Sport after the game, a relieved Olebile was full of praise for his team’s second half performance.

“It was a tactical game. But I feel we could have finished off the game in the first half as my boys were rushing things when they reached the final third. We addressed that at half-time and we improved and ended getting that one goal we needed to unsettle Holy Ghost’s defence and it paid dividends.”

The tactician was also quick to pay respect to his opposite number in the Holy Ghost dugout, former Zebra’s coach Major David Bright.

“I always knew that it was not going to be easy to sail through Holy Ghost because of Bright’s experience. But the boys’ confidence worked in our favour and we salvaged the maximum points,” summarised Olebile, whose team are potentially just eight games away from sealing a first-ever place in the elite league.

For his part, Bright attributed the result to a lack of experience in his young squad.

“We played like a team that was not at home. We gave them too much respect at the start of the match and even though we improved as the game progressed, it was not enough.

“We have a pool of young players who really did not come to the party when we needed them most. But I still have hope that they will do well with time. Masitaoka came here with great confidence and snatched a win from us,” concluded Bright darkly.

The weekend got even better for Masitaoka, as the teams in third and fourth place both dropped points.

Union Flamengo Santos were held to a 0-0 draw with Broadhurst United while Mochudi Centre Chiefs suffered a shock 1-0 loss at home to Red Sparks.

The results leave them nine and ten points adrift of the league leaders respectively.

Weekend results

Mochudi Centre Chiefs 0-1 Red Sparks
Mochudi Rovers 1-1 Ncojane Youngsters
Jwaneng Fighters 1-1 Matebejana FC
Union Flamengo Santos 0-0 Broadhurst United
Holy Ghost FC 0-2 Masitaoka FC
Mogoditshane Fighters 0-1 Black Forest

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