Letlhakeng — Mochudi Centre Chiefs caretaker coach, Innocent Morapedi has appealed to Magosi supporters to leave the past behind and start the year on a clean slate by supporting their team in its time of need.
Speaking in an interview ahead of their first game after the Christmas break against Orapa United at Molepolole tomorrow (January 13), Morapedi indicated that Chiefs supporters are very well aware of the trying times that the team currently faces, and said that this is the time that their loyalty should be most demonstrated.
"One does not desert his family in times of hardships and I plead with the supporters to come in large numbers to support the team. Players and coaches will come and go, but the supporters will always be around and so should their devotion," he said.
Morapedi said that at the moment he is also worried about whether he would be able to raise a team for the weekend game.
"If by late Friday I can have enough players to come up with a starting eleven and atleast three substitutes, then I would be ready to take on Orapa United. I would then not be worried about absent or injured players," he said.
Meanwhile, as the premiership returns to action this weekend, among the many games spread across the country much focus would perhaps be on the Orapa United's new coach, Bongani Mafu who is likely to be on the bench against his past immediate employer, Mochudi Centre Chiefs in his very first game.
Mafu is still awaiting his work permit and said in an interview that he is hopeful the paper work would be ready by today.
The Zimbabwean gaffer left Chiefs last season after guiding them to seventh place amid failure to fulfill some contractual agreements.
The tactician landed at Orapa United where fate pitted him against Chiefs in his very first game.
However, the tactician who some still regard as a good coach, said that this would mean nothing once the two teams clash on Saturday at the Molepolole Sports Complex.
"I always knew that one day I would get a coaching job with one team locally, so facing Chiefs was always bound to happen, and the fact that it came so soon is not any significant. I even think it is better that it came this soon so that we can do away with it," he said.
Mafu said that his past experience and inside knowledge on Chiefs would be irrelevant as many changes have occurred at Chiefs since his departure.
"They have since acquired some players that I don't have knowledge on and again I left very good tacticians there in Morapedi and Piro Moloi who have the ability to plan well against any coach," he said.
Mafu, who indicated his happiness on being back in the local fold after months of absence, said that the top four target set for him by his new employers is nothing to worry about as it is achievable.
"As long as there is support and enough staff, the target is realistic, and having looked at the players and resources at my disposal, I am satisfied we will achieve that," he said.
For his part, Morapedi also said that he would be taking to the field against Orapa United and not Mafu.
"A large chunk of coaches locally have coached Chiefs at one point, so the case of Mafu is no different, and on Saturday we will face Orapa just like we have other teams coached by our former coaches," he said.
Morapedi said the only issue he is worried about is the fitness of his players, saying that it is common that players might lack match fitness in the first games after break.
He also said that because of the currently open transfer window, it is also common that players might be distracted by interest from other teams to give their all.
Both teams meet at a time when they have started the season on a low note, with Orapa United currently sitting at position six from 13 games while Chiefs occupy a distant position 11 from as many games.
The two teams have also been equally guilty of misfiring upfront while leaky at the back.
The Ostriches have only managed 17 goals in 13 games while letting in 14.
Chiefs on the other hand have picked the ball from the back of their net 18 times and celebrated only 14 times.
The game kicks off at 430pm. In other BTC Premiership games, Flamengo Santos face Sharps Shooting Stars at Molepolole Sports Complex today (January 12) at 7pm.
On Saturday, Tafic welcome Extension Gunners at Francistown while Security Systems play Jwaneng Galaxy at Lobatse sports complex.
Gilport Lions take a long road 'home' to Francistown to welcome Sankoyo Bush Bucks while Police XI lie in wait for Gaborone United at Otse stadium.
On Sunday (January 14) BDF XI face Black Forest at Molepolole while log leaders, Township Rollers welcome Miscellaneous at Lobatse Stadium.
All the Saturday and Sunday games start at 430pm except the clash between Tafic and Gunners which starts at 7pm.
Source : BOPA