- Last season they registered less than 10 wins for the first time in 14 years
- They are currently in a relegation scrap
Football purists always say that no club can ever be deemed to good to go down, the likes of Township Rollers and Gaborone United have endured the pain of the dreaded relegation axe over the years and the thought of going back seems in the rear view mirror for the country’s elite clubs. If this season’s relegation scrap is anything to go by then local football could witness another big club casualty to the lower tier as Mochudi Centre Chiefs are currently embroiled in a survival scrap, something they have not been accustomed to in the last 12 years.
The Kgatleng giants have won the league four times in the last 11 years, making them the second most successful team in the league in that period. With the decline of GU as a perennial title threat, Chiefs became a worthy adversary for Rollers in the last decade with both teams dominating the league.
However, the last two seasons have seen the pride of Mochudi fail to assert themselves and challenge for the league title, their downward spiral began in the 2016/2017 season whereby they finished 7th. Last season (2017/2018) they endured yet another trying season as they finished 9th on the log, the club ended the season with less than 10 wins for the first time in 14 years. They also missed out on qualifying for the Mascom Top 8 for the first time ever.
This past Friday, Chiefs lost 2-1 against Miscellaneous, the defeat sees them occupy the 14th spot on the log and they are anxiously approaching the last nine games of the season with the likelihood of being chopped if results do not improve.
Financial problems & poor player welfare
When the club lost the financial assistance from the likes of MacLean Letshwiti and Seyed Jamali in the past few years it made it difficult for them to strengthen the team to sustain their success. The financial problems then spilled over to the players and this affected the team’s welfare, with reports of late payments becoming more a regular occurrence.
At one point the club even started to scrap sign on fees for new players and introduced a gratuity system which did not sit well with potential signings. The club then failed to attract big name signings while their rivals continued to strengthen their squads, a gulf in class then grew in the past two years as the club could not keep up anymore.
The financial problems also saw players boycotting training and planning a strike before a league game last year, the club ended up failing to honour the fixture and they faced the wrath of the Disciplinary Committee who fined the P10 000 and docked them three points and two goals in December.
The factional wars within the Magosi camp have been well documented, court battles and verbal back and forth arguments between the warring factions have resulted in a tumultuous situation at the club. “Such instability has the possibility of scaring off potential investors and we would have to get our house in order before we can entertain the idea of having another investor,” one anonymous club source told Gazette Sport.
Factional wars have resulted in the club’s brand taking a major hit and they appear to be still feeling the effects of the dispute.
Key departures over the years
The club has failed to compensate for the departures of key players in the last six years, numerous star players were not replaced with equally talented personnel. Departures of the likes of Lemponye Tshireletso, Lesego Galenamotlhale, Kekaetswe ‘Mara’ Moloi, Galabgwe Moyana as well as the retirement of club legend Pontsho Moloi has gradually seen them fail to assemble enough star power to keep up with the league’s elite teams.
The 2011/2012 Mochudi Centre Chiefs side was one of the league’s best ever assembled teams in the last 10 years but the gradual departures of the players has seen them make major downgrades in terms of replacements. An array of stars came with a fear factor as they easily disposed of opponents but those days appear to be over as they are currently standing on just three wins in 21 games this season.