Rollers, Magosi among the world’s best performing clubs
The gulf in class between Botswana Premier League clubs and their global counterparts is massive given their resources, global appeal and professionalism. However, in terms of league records in the past 10 years two of the country’s top clubs Township Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs have garnered league records that are on par with their more illustrious counterparts.
European clubs’ records have been well documented due to the advanced statistical records on show in their websites. The revamping of the Botswana Premier League website could ease the difficulty of accessing the local league’s statistical information.
A Gazette Sport survey has revealed that both local clubs are in the top 20 of global clubs with the longest unbeaten runs in their respective leagues in the last ten years. A shortage or lack of statistical records has deprived the local league of being mentioned among some of the world’s top performers in domestic leagues.
Magosi previously held the country’s longest unbeaten run, 37 games. Their run began in 2007 after they lost 2-1 to Gaborone United (May 1, 2007) towards the end of the 2006/2007 league season. After the defeat they went on a four game winning streak to end the season as the runners up.
The following season, 2007/2008, saw the club extend their unbeaten run as they ended the season without a defeat to win the league title. The following season (2008/09) the Kgatleng giants won their first three games of the season before succumbing to their first defeat in 37 matches at the hands of arch rivals Rollers, who ended Magosi’s run on October 12, 2008 with a 4-1 victory.
Chiefs is among an elite group of only 12 teams around the world that have won their respective leagues unbeaten in the last decade. The Kgatleng outfit is in the company of the likes of Arsenal, Juventus, Al Ahly, Dinamo Kyiv and FC Porto to mention a few.
The former beMobile Premier League champions are a part of only eight African clubs that have achieved the unbeaten feat in the past decade. Chiefs and Malawian club Escom United are the only Southern African teams that recorded season long unbeaten records in the league in the last decade, outshining the exploits of clubs in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League as well as the Zimbabwean league.
Magosi achieved their record despite having to go through a change in the coaching department midway through the season. Mike Sithole resigned before the turn of the year, he was replaced by Beston Chambeshi who kept the team’s unbeaten record intact until the end of the season.
Unbeaten clubs are often given the ‘invincible’ tag in modern football, Magosi earned their place among the world’s elite teams during the 2007/2008 season although they are seldom given credit on a worldwide platform.
Defending league champions, Rollers, are currently on an unbeaten run that started 40 games ago. The last team to beat Madinda Ndlovu’s side in a league match was Motlakase Power Dynamos on September 21 last year at SSKB Stadium. Oris Radipotsane led the club to a convincing 2-0 victory over Popa in the previous season. The defeat galvanized the side as they garnered an impressive run of 28 games without a defeat in the league, they collected 18 wins and 10 draws in the process.
They have continued their unbeaten run into the current season, with nine wins and three draws so far. The league champions extended their run with a convincing 6-1 win against Orapa United this past weekend with goals from Maano Ditshupo (brace), Motsholetsi Sikele, Kobamelo Kebaikanye, Manqoba Ngwenya and Jerome Louis.
Popa has a long way to go before matching the longest unbeaten run in world football in the last decade, the record belongs to Egyptian side Al Ahly with 71 games from 2004 to 2007.
Rollers is currently the sixth best African team in terms of unbeaten league games since 2004. Their record is currently surpassed by the exploits of Al Ahly, Al Hilal, Diables Noirs and Zanaco. Madinda Ndlovu’s side and Zanaco have the longest unbeaten Southern African records in the recent years, the only club closer to their records are Magosi with 37 games and Mamelodi Sundowns with 19 during the 2006/2007 season.