The warders take 2-1 lead into promotional play-off with Sua
This Saturday, Sua Flamingoes and Prisons XI go head to head for the second time in a week with a place in the Premier League very much up for grabs.
Sua have the clichéd ‘mountain to climb’ if they are to reach the elite division for the first time in their 27-year history.
In this case ‘the mountain’ is overturning the 2-1 defeat they suffered at home to Prisons in the first-leg of the BTC Premiership play-offs last weekend.
The result means that Sua have to score at least twice to have a chance of promotion; a 1-0 win will not be enough as Prisons would still go through courtesy of the away goals rule.
Despite the daunting deficit, Flamingoes’ coach Dominic Changwe is confident his charges can turn the tie around against a Prisons side looking to return to the top flight after an eight-year absence.
Based on the fact they created several goal-scoring chances in the first leg, he remains optimistic that if his side are more clinical in front of goal they will ultimately emerge victorious.
“We need to work on our finishing; (in the first-leg) we missed many chances and conceded silly goals,” remarked Changwe, whose team ended the regular season a point above Motlakase Power Dynamos to secure second place in the First Division North and pip the Palapye-based outfit to the play-offs.
“Our opponents are a balanced but beatable team. The morale in the camp is very high and my boys are saying if Prisons managed to score two goals they will also do it,” the wily tactician told Voice Sport on Wednesday.
Insisting the tie was still in the balance, Changwe concluded by saying, “We will take it as a different game all together; the team that will rises to the occasion will get the ticket to Premier League!”
Changwe’s opposite number, Phillimon Makhwengwe revealed his squad were ‘rocked by injury’ going into last weekend’s game in Sowa Town, making their victory all the more impressive.
Although he described the two goals – one a piece for Mokuye Shakambayo and Kelello Kgosimore – his side scored as ‘crucial’, the former Botswana Football Association (BFA) Technical Education Officer said he has warned his boys the tie is not over yet.
“90 minutes is too much time for our opponents to come from behind, so we need to play with caution to avoid silly mistakes,” he stressed, adding that although his team played well in the first-leg, there was still room for improvement.
“We might be in the lead but our reaction was a bit slow, something which we worked on during training this week. Our plan was to score at least three goals away so for now we are not safe. Sua are very strong on their wing attacks, their right flank troubled us but their defence was weak,” commented Makhwengwe, who took over the reigns at Prisons this season, guiding them to a second place finish in the First Division South, six points behind eventual champions Notwane but five above third-placed Broadhurst.
The footballing veteran revealed his two strikers, Shakambayo and Kitso Mpuisang, were carrying knocks but expected both to be fit for Saturday’s 3pm kick off.
However, he confirmed goalkeeper Ontiretse Gaotlhobogwe will definitely miss the match with injury.
The SSG stadium is the venue for one of the biggest games in the footballing calendar; ecstasy and a place with the big boys awaits the winners while the losers face the despair of a season wasted – that’s how great the stakes are!