… but Coach Morena Ramoreboli isn’t saying much about the clash that lies between them and a second-time entry into the group stages of the CAF Champions League
Defending champions of Botswana Premier League, Jwaneng Galaxy, have clinched a coveted spot in the second preliminary round of the CAF Champions League.
Their ticket to the next stage was secured after a hard-fought duel against Uganda’s Vipers SC, resulting in a nail-biting aggregate score of 3-2 and setting the stage for a clash with South Africa formidable Orlando Pirates on 15 September.
Known to their fans as Galaxy Stars, Jwaneng Galaxy marked their ascent with a commanding performance in the tournament’s preliminary round. In the initial leg on 20 August, proved their mettle by triumphing over Vipers with a decisive 2-0 score line.
Botswana’s home-ground advantage played a role in this victory, allowing Galaxy to secure the win without conceding a goal.
However, the advancement was not without its challenges. A trip to Kampala, Uganda for the second leg of the preliminary round posed a tougher test.
While Galaxy suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat in this away game, their earlier lead proved to be the saving grace, resulting in a cumulative 3-2 lead on aggregate. The defining moment came from a stunning free kick by Gilbert Baruti.
Vipers’ waves of attack
The spokesman of Jwaneng Galaxy, Tankiso Morake, encapsulated the journey thus: “We did ourselves justice by winning the first leg in Botswana, which we did without conceding.
Recognising the uphill battle in Uganda, he acknowledged Vipers’ reputation as a disciplined team that has previously bested African giants like TP Mazembe.
Discussing the nuances of the Uganda encounter, Morake divulged a tactical lapse. “We went into the game a bit defensive and found ourselves too deep,” he noted. “This played to Vipers’ advantage as they launched waves of attack.”
Goalkeeper Phoko’s acumen
He lauded the acumen of goalkeeper Goitseone Phoko, whose impermeable resistance prevented more goals from slipping past Galaxy’s defence. Despite conceding a goal in the first half, the Jwaneng side remained resolute.
Morake went on to recount a pivotal moment in the game’s chronicle. “The second half saw a transformed Galaxy, thanks to the strategic substitutions made by Coach Morena Ramoreboli,” he pointed out.
He noted the shift in momentum, emphasising Galaxy’s renewed focus on attack and tempo control. This strategy rattled the Ugandans, leading to Galaxy’s crucial second-half goal that not only secured a 2-1 victory but also paved the way for Galaxy’s aggregate triumph of 3-2.
Looking ahead, Galaxy now have their sights trained on a showdown with South African juggernauts, Orlando Pirates. Morake refrained from extensive commentary on the impending clash, only stating briefly: “For now, I cannot speak of Pirates.”
However, he voiced their ambitious target of reaching at least the group stages of the tournament. Should Galaxy prevail against Pirates, it would mark a significant achievement, propelling them into the CAF Champions League group stages for a second time.