Although he was only in the stands to witness Gaborone United defeat TAFIC at the Lobatse Sports Complex this past weekend, Nikola Kavazovic’s influence and approach was clearly visible in the way Moyagoleele set up their team.
Kavazovic is currently awaiting his work permit but he sent instructions that led to GU defeating the Francistown club 2-1 courtesy of goals from Thapelo Motlhanka and Joel Mogorosi while Kagisano Mungu replied for TAFIC. Kavazovic is in his second spell in Botswana football, during his time with Township Rollers his side was notorious for making quick starts and punishing their opponents early in their games.
During his Rollers tenure, Kavazovic made sure that Rollers adopted a swashbuckling approach from the first whistle, as a result they scored 27 first half goals en route to winning the league. In the first four games of the 2017/2018 season, Rollers scored six first half goals in the four games against TAFIC, Black Forest, Police XI and BDF XI, all goals were scored in the first 30 minutes.
This past weekend, GU adopted Kavazovic’s fast approach as they scored in the fifth minute through left-back Thapelo Motlhanka. GU scored as a result of the workman-like performance of Patrick Kabamba who drew defenders and created a scoring opportunity which was missed by Lesego Lubinda before Motlhanka latched on Kabamba’s pass and unleashed a shot past the helpless TAFIC goalkeeper Abednico Morapedi as the shot fizzled past him.
The early goal gave GU control of the match and they were comfortable in the first half, this was reminiscent of Kavazovic’s early Rollers days whereby he emphasized having an early cushion to demoralize his opponents. However, the second half provided a tough test for GU as TAFIC started to ask more questions of the GU defence, they eventually got their equalizer in the 77th minute as Kagisano Mungu scored.
Not to be fazed, GU pushed on and scored two minutes later as Mogorosi scored a poacher-like goal after anticipating the ball from Morapedi’s parried save a few metres from goal. Mogorosi grabbed his first goal for the club as he made a positive impact from the bench. If GU can continue to try to replicate what Kavazovic did at Rollers in terms of early starts, they could be in a stronger position to dictate how their results pan out.
Kavazovic’s first half statistics in the 2017/2018 season with Rollers
- 27 first half goals in 30 games
- 14 goals scored in the first 25 minutes
- first half goals scored in 19 out of 30 games
- dropped points in only 4 out of 19 games in which they scored in the first half