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Mpote begins Nico reign with tough Popa test

Portia Mlilo
NEW BEGINNING: Mpote

Less than three months after he was fired as national team coach، Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote is back returning to work on a rescue mission at Nico United.

Unveiled on a six-month contract on Monday the 61-year-old tactician begins his reign with the toughest of tests: an away day at the National Stadium against his former employers the current league leaders Township Rollers.

Mpote begins Nico reign with tough Popa test
OFFICIAL UNVEILING: Nico United appoint Mpote as Head Coach

Having watched from the stands as his new charges held Popa to a 0-0 draw at the weekend an unlikely point that lifted Nico off the bottom of the table on goal-difference Mpote will be hoping for more of the same when the two sides lock horns under the Friday night floodlights.

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Speaking to Voice Sport on Wednesday the experienced gaffer was in little doubt that he has the know-how to turn-around Majambolo’s stuttering season.

“It’s not my first time finding a team in the danger zone. I previously helped Miscellaneous and BR Highlanders survive the relegation axe” said Mpote adding he was confident of saving Nico too.

When Orapa United sacked their head coach Tawurayi Mangiro at the end of last year many felt it was a foregone conclusion that Mpote would rejoin the Ostriches where he spent three happy years before taking the Botswana job full-time.

Mpote begins Nico reign with tough Popa test
ON THE CLOCK: It’s time for Teenage at Nico

Instead the Serowe native reveals he was all intent on taking a break from football altogether until Nico came calling; the lure of an SOS (Save Our Season) proved too tempting to resist!

“I will call this an outreach project. The reception is good and the players are responding well. It is not too late to redeem ourselves looking at the log. Nico is balanced but I realised our strikers lack the confidence hence the poor finishing” said Mpote who takes over a Nico side that have managed just 10 goals in 13 outings this season – only Holy Ghost (nine) have scored less.

Despite taking charge just two days ago the coach insisted he had seen more than enough in training to convince him the goals will come.

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“We have worked on that during training and people should watch out for a different team. I think the assistant coaches who have been in charge did well in building the team and I have no doubt what we have will help us survive، ” maintained Mpote، who spent his playing days as a striker for Miscellaneous، Diamond Chiefs and TASC.

A failure to find the back of the net ultimately cost him his job with the Zebras; he’ll be desperately hoping lightning doesn’t strike again in Selibe Phikwe!

Goals have been hard to come by for Rollers in recent times too Mapalastina failing to find a way past either Nico or lowly Morupule Wanderers in their last two league outings.

Mpote begins Nico reign with tough Popa test
FIRING BLANKS: Goals have been a problem for Nico this season

In fact although they are the BPL’s second top goal scorers on 22 (only Gaborone United 24 have scored more) the Blues were unable to net against three of the bottom four clubs drawing 0-0 with VTM back in November.

Hungry to put that right on Friday Rollers Coach Innocent Morapedi promised his troops would pack their scoring boots this time around.

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“We played well over the weekend but failed to convert chances. Our opponents seemed to be comfortable with a draw and that should have worked to our advantage” said Morapedi who with GU and Jwaneng Galaxy breathing down their necks knows his boys cannot afford to slip up against the Baby Jombies again.

“A win is a must; I have no doubt my players will deliver!” he said.

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