Debswana First Division (South and North) leagues are gaining momentum with the 2017/18 premier league relegated sides Gilport Lions and Tafic FC currently leading the pack. Gilport Lions leads the Southern pack with 15 points from six games played after losing just one game since the start of the league. It is ahead with only three points infront of second and third placed Black Peril and Broadhurst United, who are following with 12 points each.
Free scoring and on form Gilport Lions has been enjoying a good run under the mentorship of Paradzayi Mandivenga who stood with the club through thick and thin last season in the Premier League. The team is feeding detractors a humble pie after many had expected them to have a tough season following relegation to First Division, which boosts of premier league aspirants such as Mogoditshane Fighters, Uniao Flamengo Santos and Black Peril.
Gilport Lions have continued a good run by brushing aside Mogoditshane Fighters 3-0 in the last encounter to maintain top spot. However, the team General Manager Mpho Sephiri revealed that they are not under pressure to return to the top flight football as for now they are focusing on the rebuilding process. She said returning to the premier league will come as a bonus, if it happens.
She said the team had a good pre season preparations as they managed to build a strong team and allowed new players who came in to settle down and gel with the rest of the team. “We lost some of our key players when we relegated from the premier league. Therefore, we knew it was not going to be easy in the first division but for now we are in good shape. We will talk about premier league return based on how the seasons unfolds as time goes. We are on a building momentum for now,” she added.
From the north Tafic alias Matjimenyenga find themselves perched at the summit with 13 points after five games in a closely contested run towards solidifying first position before the festive break with another season contender and favorites Morupule Wanderers breathing down their neck with 12 points from five games as well. Tafic is yet to taste defeat winning four games and registering one draw.
Football analyst, Jimmy George, observes that the good performance of the two teamsis a clear demonstration that they are regrouping from the bad spell they had in the premier league, which led to their relegation. He said the duo was marred by challenges last season with regards to administration matters and it seems like now things that were not done well have been corrected.
He said with experience that the teams possess fresh from top flight relegation gives them an upper hand as compared to the other sides in the first division. “First Division leagues are very competitive because in the south you have strong sides like Mogoditshane Fighters, Santos and Peril while in the North there is Morupule Wanderers, Sua Flamengos and GNT. All these pose tough competition to both Gilport and Tafic respectively, but the current performance of the two teams show the level of preparation that was taken by the clubs,” said George.
The Debswana First Division has already scored a major milestone with live television broadcasts following a five year broadcast deal between Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Baboneng Film Productions. So far, the leagues (North and South) are showing glimpses of fireworks and promise an entertaining season of great football.