Gaborone — The long awaited 2018/19 Debswana First Division campaign kicks off tomorrow.
Jeremiah Sejabosigo reports that the Debswana First Division South (FDS) start, which was postponed four weeks ago, gets underway tomorrow, with five matches set to kick-off at 4pm.
The sixth match between Gilport Lions and Modipane United will be played in the evening at 7pm at the newly opened Lekidi astro turf ground.
Since getting relegated from the BTC Premiership in May, Lions have lost many players including former Zebras defender Otlaantshekela Mooketsi, Elvis Meleka, Nqobile Mpala, Lobopo Moremi and Atang Morwamang among others.
The few experienced players they have managed to retain are goalkeeper, Moatlhodi Ndana, defender Tumisang 'Butcher' Sekanonyana and striker Stephen Sibanda, who is on loan from Gaborone United.
The club's director, Kelesitse Gilika, said they were on a rebuilding mission.
Modipane United, who survived relegation by a whisker last season, have strengthened their ranks with the acquisition of several players.
Their new signings include Thapelo Modise from Extension Gunners, Tirelo Molomo and Fologang Osenotse from Black Peril, Kagiso Mokaeya (White City), Onkarabile Matlapeng (Tlokweng Pirates), Balatotse Balatotse (Matlala Cosmos), Lapologang Ramogaladi (Mountain Birds), Phatsimo Ratereki and Bokang Gobuiwang from Pilikwe United.
Broadhurst United, who were a revelation in the second tier last season, host newly promoted Jwaneng Fighters at 4pm at SSG.
Fighters have acquired experienced players such as former Zebras star Boitumelo 'Navara' Mafoko, former Nico United playmaker Odumetse 'Mascom' Rakoma and Lapologang Motlogi from Motlakase Power Dynamos.
They have also brought in Kago Keotlogele and Keabetswe Masu from Jwaneng Galaxy.
Another newly promoted side, Blue Stars, from Ghanzi, will get a taste of life in the second tier when they clash with Black Peril at the Tlokweng VDC Ground, while Mochudi Rovers take a long journey to Tsabong for an encounter with Black Rangers at the Tsabong Stadium.
Another encounter will be between Red Sparks and Matebejana at Red Sparks Ground in Tlokweng.
A colossal encounter is expected between Mogoditshane Fighters and Union Flamengo Santos at Fighters Ground in Mogoditshane.
Santos, which were relegated from the BTC Premiership last season, will be looking to get their campaign off to a positive start in an attempt to bounce back to the Premiership.
Meanwhile, Thamani Shabani reports from Francistown that a sold out crowd is expected at the 26 000 seater Francistown Stadium to launch the 2018/19 Debswana First Division North with a double header tomorrow.
It will be all smiles and sunshine for the football fans in the northern region, who have been awaiting the league with baited breath.
The launch was postponed for a month due to miscommunication by both parties (first division north and south) in implementing obligations of the contract signed with Baboneng Film production, which was given a five-year deal of P9 million to broadcast the Debswana First Division league (North and South).
The first header will see Great North Tigers (GNT) Football Club logging horns with the Tafic at 3 pm as a buildup game to the launch at 6pm.
The gates will open at 1 pm to give football lovers time to enter the stadium and settle down for the first big match of the day.
Then at 6pm the game of the day pits Calendar Stars against Green Lovers, with other games played in other areas such as Selebi Phikwe and Sowa
Debswana First Division North secretary general, Rapula Gaotlhobogwe, confirmed that preparations for the launch were at an advanced stage and going smoothly.
"Baboneng have confirmed to us that everything will go as planned. They have just finished inspecting the stadium and I am hoping that they are satisfied with it. It is our hope that they (Baboneng) will broadcast the games as per the agreement," he added.
He said they decided to make the launch a double header to showcase talent as well as to hype the mood and atmosphere of fans in Francistown and surrounding areas.
"We are looking forward to the best competition during this season and we believe that teams have recruited new and good players to fight for the top spot," Gaotlhobogwe said.
Meanwhile, it is not yet clear whether the Francistown Old stadium, which is the property of the Francistown City Council, will also be available for use for the league.
The stadium has been undergoing maintenance.
City of Francistown Council Chief Architecture and Building Services Officer, Ms Gofentsemang Chabane could not be reached for comment.
Source : BOPA