The Mascom Top 8 has not only upped competition among local teams but also between coaches. The Top 8 Coach of the Tournament has since become one of the interesting awards in this tournament as coaches always look to elevate their tactics in a bid to outclass each other. When Orapa United and Township Rollers take on each other in the Mascom Top 8 final on 3rd March 2018, all eyes will be on who will take the prestigious award this year. The battle is between Orapa United’s Daniel Nare and Rollers’ Nikola Kavazovic who are both in their first Mascom Top 8 finals. Since its inception (Mascom Top 8) this title has been won by the coach whose team lifts the trophy which makes the battle even interesting. The coach whose tactics on the day will prove to work will get this award. Nare has tried his luck before with Gunners but did not succeed. This is Kavazovic’s first try and already he has reached the finals. Both coaches have shown great tactical awareness as well as ability. Even their performance in the league has been top notch. However, there are fears that Nare could be hard done by the presence of head coach Bongani Mafu who assumes his duties this week after being given his work permit. Nare, who has been in charge of the team at games, will now assume his assistant coach position. However, having been in charge of the team for over 70 percent of the Mascom Top 8 games the former Gunner and BMC gaffer still stand a chance. The tournament’s guidelines outline that for a coach to qualify for this award he should have been in charge of the team in at least 70 percent of their games.
Another award which will attract attention is the Yellow Boot. Leading the pack to claim the award is Gaborone United’s Obonwe Maome. Maome whose team is out of the competition have scored five goals, two ahead of Orapa United’s Kobamelo Kebaikanye. It remains to be seen if the speedy winger would turn tables around to surpass Maome. While Maome is at a disadvantage, Kebaikanye however will need to put a hat-trick behind Rollers’ goalkeeper to take the Yellow Boot. The game between Rollers and Orapa United promises to be a mouthwatering encounter. The two teams never disappoint when the play each other as there is always a point to prove to each other to the delight of fans –many goals are always scored. The Mascom Top 8 Local Organising Committee (LOC) has explained its decision of taking the Mascom Top 8 final to Francistown Stadium. This comes after queries from the members of the public about taking the final to Francistown for the third consecutive year. Football fans in the south of the country are complaining that this is not fair to them. LOC Chairman Moreo Modisenyane clarified this, saying all they want is to get maximum capacity during the day of the match. Modisenyane explained that Francistown is the biggest stadium in terms of capacity hence taking the game to Francistown. “After engaging with stakeholders we decided to take the game to Francistown and one of the reasons was the capacity of the stadium. Our ultimate goal is to see maximum attendance and the Francistown Stadium provides for this,” he said. Furthermore, he said the aim is to take the game of football to the people and this season there has never been a Top 8 game played in Francistown. Modisenyane added that this year they are looking to fill up the stadium.
He is confident that this will happen looking at the teams that will be playing on that day. “Looking at the support base that Rollers have it is obvious that we will surpass the attendance of the previous season. On the other hand, Orapa United also mobilise supporters from neighbouring villages to fill up the stadium,” he explained, saying they are targeting over 20 000 spectators on the match day. The sponsors (Mascom) representative also showed delight with the choice to take the game to Francistown looking at how the games turned out in the previous seasons. Last season the Mascom Top 8 final between Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United pulled a massive crowd at Francistown which Modisenyane said surpassed 15 000. Looking at the support base of the two, the LOC believes that this season the cup final will even more people and produce even a mouthwatering spectacle. The tickets for the game which will be played on 3rd March 2018 will go on sale from the 19th February 2018. Botswana Premier League (BPL) CEO Thabo Ntshinogang said the first 500 people to buy tickets for the eastern, southern and northern stands will be given P10 discount. “The tickets will be sold at Computicket. More outlets will be communicated in due course where people can buy the tickets,” said Ntshinogang.