The climax of the Mascom Top 8 this past weekend thrilled spectators and pundits alike. The P1 million competition served up thrilling performances from various clubs this season; many have been successful in their own right while others have been left to despair.
Elijah Chikwanda became the second Zambian coach to win the lucrative competition since its inception in 2012. Mike Sithole guided Township Rollers to victory in the first edition of the tournament. Major David Bright remains the only Motswana coach to have lifted the trophy; he masterminded Gaborone United’s success last year. Atshele Molapi (Ecco City Greens) and Letang Kgengwenyane (BDF XI) came close to emulating Bright’s achievement.
Jerome Louis came close to equaling Mogakolodi Ngele’s record of six goals in a single Mascom Top 8 season. His five goal tally earned him the top goal scorer award but fell a goal short of eclipsing Ngele’s record. BDF XI’s Lesego Lubinda is the only player to have scored a hat trick this season; he achieved the feat in a 5-2 win over Nico United in the previous round.
2014 finalists, Rollers, have been haunted by their former players this season. Their former striker Tebogo Sembowa scored against them in the semi finals while Boitumelo Mafoko did the same against his former club this past weekend.
Magosi’s Top 8 curse
Mochudi Centre Chiefs often start every tournament as favourites. They won numerous trophies in recent years but the Mascom Top 8 has continued to elude them. They have failed to progress past the semi final stage in all three editions of the competition. Chiefs reached the semi finals in the first two seasons, but this term they were knocked out by Rollers in the quarter-finals.
Winners BDF XI have accumulated the highest number of goals this season. They scored nine goals in total and the club produced numerous goal scorers in the tournament. The likes of Saukani Zulu, Lesego Lubinda, Bonolo Phuduhudu, Boitumelo Mafoko, Ndiyapo Letsholathebe and Mokgathi Mokgathi all registered goals for the army side. They are the only side to produce six different scorers in a single tournament.
Player of the season?
Numerous names will crop up when determining the player who excelled above others in the Mascom Top 8. Jerome Louis, Kabelo Seakanyeng, Bonolo Phuduhudu, Saukani Zulu, Ronald Chikomo and Sekhana Koko have all been influential in their respective clubs.
Louis is already assured of P20 000 in prize money for winning the Yellow Boot (top scorer’s award) after his goals helped Popa reach the final. Seakanyeng has been one of the best wingers in the league this season and his Man Of the Match award in last weekend’s final proved his credentials as one of Matebele’s best players this year.
The winger also played a major role in his club’s 5-2 win over Nico United; he was the side’s main attacking threat and his deliveries were converted by his team mates.
Boitumelo Mafoko is hailed by many as an ‘unsung hero’; he has helped stabilize the club’s midfield and has allowed his fellow midfielders to flourish. Mafoko also proved his versatility when he played in central defense in the final; his goal was probably the icing on the cake for his successful season. The Player of the Season award is worth P40 000.