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Match fixing concern in league survival battle

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Match fixing concern in league survival battle
NOW OR NEVER: Police in action

Police XI fears northern conspiracy in relegation quagmire

Police XI are shaking in their boots. The Jungle Kings face Sankoyo Bush Bucks this Saturday in a match that could send them crashing down to the dusty first division grounds.

The Police outfit has every reason to be worried. The odds are stuck against them in a relegation battle that has gone down to the wire.

Nico United’s dramatic 3-1 victory against Sankoyo Bush Bucks over the weekend gave the Selebi Phikwe outfit a lifeline and brought a nervy ending to the eventful 2016/17 season.

Both United, Miscellaneous and Police XI’s BTC Premiership status hangs by a thread. The dreaded axe will come crushing down this Saturday and one team from this trio will bite the dust to join Green Lovers and United Hotspurs who were relegated a fortnight ago.

The jury is out and all eyes are on Police XI. They are the most resourced club amongst the three.

The Cops, just like BDF XI enjoy government support and are expected to easily avoid relegation.

The Jungle Kings parted ways with their Coach Junior Letlaamoreng with just four games left before end of the season.

In came former coach Sthandwa Mogwadi who was expected to steady the sinking police ship.

Mogwadi who won the league with the Jungle Kings in 2006 got a rude awakening with a 2-0 defeat to Champions Township Rollers.

The hapless Police went on to lose their next two matches, first 3-2 to Galaxy and a humbling 2-1 defeat to Gilport Lions over the weekend.

Sthandwa’s tactical acumen will be put to the test once again this Saturday when he takes on a unpredictable Sankoyo Bush Bucks in Maun.

Only two points separate the three teams and the Cops just need to avoid a loss to secure their premier league status. Bush Bucks are on position 11 with 32 points followed by Police with 31 points. On the 13th and 14th positions are Miscellaneous and Nico United with 30 and 29 points respectively.

With two teams from the north already relegated, and two more tethering on the brink, officials from Police XI are worried that the northern teams may conspire to eliminate the Otse outfit in their do or die final match.

Speaking to Voice Sport on Wednesday, Police XI Public Relations Officer Jason Chabota said there is a high possibility that Nico and Miscellaneous will collect maximum points as their relegated opponents have nothing to play for.

“We are in trouble I must admit,” he said.

“There’s an outcry concerning the number of relegated northern teams. My fear is they might connive to eliminate us,” said Chabota hinting at the possibility of match fixing.

Chabota rued chances missed against Gilport Lions last Saturday, where a point could have secured their league status.

“We play good football but we are not aggressive enough going forward,” he said.

Chabota said their striking force is a bit weak, while the midfield easily loses possession.

The momentum seems to be with the Phikwe side who posted positive results in their last two matches.

Majombolo played to a 0-0 draw against Rollers and defeated Bucks 3-1 on Saturday.

They take on Hotspurs, who have nothing to play and may already be looking forward to life in the first division.

While Majombolo have to negotiate a way past Spurs, Miscellaneous have to dig themselves out of the grave against their ‘village buddies’ in a Serowe derby that could decide the future of football in the village.

It will be in the interest of Spurs that Nico remain in the premier league, which could make their return next season a little bit easier.

On the other hand football commentators reckons that the Serowe derby will never go down in history as the final match to end the village’s football pride.

This is inline with concerns raised by Police XI, who believe the Serowe derby maybe just a formality.

However Nico United Public Relations Officer Ace Orapeleng said rumours of match fixing don’t concern them.

He said they don’t expect any favours from Sankoyo Bush Bucks.

The Maun outfit holds the key to a safe haven for all the relegation threatened northern teams.

Should Ngurungu defeat Police XI on Saturday and both Nico and Miscellaneous win their respective ties, Jungle Kings will be playing in the second tier next season.

“Hotspurs may have relegated, but I’m certain they want to go out with pride, so it wont be an easy match,” said Orapeleng.

The Nico PRO said Spurs players will be playing to market themselves to other teams.

“They will be playing for their lives which makes this fixture even more trickier,” he said.

Battle lines are drawn and football fans await with bated breath.

Who will pull a Houdini on the last day of action? Kick-off is 15:30.