Africa: Jwaneng Galaxy

Upon the conclusion of the group stages draw last month in Johannesburg, fans of the African game had almost concluded who would advance to the knockout stages of the tournament – purely based on club pedigree and experience on the continent.

Match Day 1 of the group stages concluded on Sunday and with most clubs securing home victories as expected. However, there was a result that sent shockwaves across the continent as Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy stunned former champions, Wydad Athletic Club 1-0 in their own backyard.

The north versus south tie between two clubs was a fixture of clubs with distinctly contrasting experiences on the continent.

Wydad AC – founded in 86 years ago in 1937 with 22 League titles, three CAF Champions League gold medals as well as a TotalEnergies CAF Super Cup title were certainly touted as favourites against Galaxy a side that was founded in 2014 and only making their second group stage appearance in the competition.

While the Botswanan side were rightfully viewed as the underdogs, alarm bells could have been rung when looking at their journey to the group stages.

Enroute to securing a place in the group stages, Galaxy triumphed over Uganda’s Vipers SC before doing the unthinkable in sinking Orlando Pirates in the 2nd Preliminary Round of qualifiers – an achievement that sees them secure a place in the competition’s group stages along with Wydad, Simba AC as well as Asec Mimosas.

Led by coach Morena Ramoreboli, a South African-born coach that is gradually earning respect across the continent, Galaxy on paper may be viewed as the underdogs but on the field of play, they have certainly proved that they too can hold their own against any African side.

Ramoreboli is no stranger to causing heartache to big clubs.

Before last weekend’s upset over Wydad that was preceded by Pirates’ elimination, the 42-year-old coach once stunned the Pirates in a cup competition back in 2011 while coaching a fourth-tier side with a heavy 4-1 defeat that saw the South African giants crashing out of the competition.

While there is still a long way to go in the competition, Galaxy have certainly added a dynamic twist to Africa’s premier club competition this season.

Up next for the two-time Botswana Premier League champions is a home encounter against east African powerhouse, Simba SC in Match Day 2 of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League on Saturday. Kick-off is at 13h00 GMT at the Galaxy Stadium.

About Jwaneng Galaxy FC

Galaxy were founded in 2014 after the merging of the then Jwaneng Comets and the Debswana Youngsters.

Galaxy were promoted to the Botswana Premier League for the first time in 2015 and in a space of eight years, have won two league titles, with the most recent being in the 2022/23 season.

They are coached by Morena Ramoreboli, a South African born coach who is also a winner of the 2021 COSAFA Cup with the South African men’s national team as head coach.