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All eyes on Tsotso Ngele tonight

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Coach Major David Bright and goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe are convinced that given enough game time and opportunity, Mogakolodi Tsotso Ngele could prove  to be the game changer in tonight’s encounter between Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout final.

Botswana’s lone ranger in South African premier league is expected to feature for his mega rich outfit Mamelodi Sundowns as they meet their feared rivals from Soweto at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Ngele rose to stardom under this cup when he scored twice in Mbombela after coming on as a substitute for Platinum Stars when they beat Orlando Pirates. After his two late goals scored in the 79th and 88 minutes, big clubs began jostling for his signature with Mamelodi Sundowns becoming his final destination.

In the last season he featured in the final for his former club against Supersport United but they lost 3-2. In that final he scored the second goal after coming in as a substitute. His form in the past competitions has always left many football fans asking for more.

In the recent semi-finals against Free State Stars he opened the scoring floodgates before making two assists in their 6-1 memorable victory. Pitso Mosimane will be looking to the highly technically-gifted Botswana’s bogeyman to replicate his yesteryear’s form that saw Platinum Stars lifting the coveted trophy and breaking the hearts of Pirates supporters.

Against Chiefs, Mosimane is facing his longtime friend whom he had previously employed as his assistant during his reign as Bafana Bafana coach. Steve Kompela is under pressure to win silverware for his glamour club which has broken its old culture of not believing in South African local coaches.

Kompela stumbled in the MTN 8 final when his club was white-washed by the youthful Ajax Cape Town side in September. Another loss would certainly reduce his days at Naturena. Despite Sundowns boasting equally talented stars, Ngele remains the most influential man and could prove to be the difference tonight.

He knows and understands the taste of success in this particular competition already at individual level. He won Telkom Player of the Tournament and a cool R200 000 price in the process. He was the second Motswana to win the coveted prize after Joel Mogorosi had won it with Bloemfontein Celtic after leading it to victory against the same Sundowns in the finals.

Ngele’s former teammate at Platinum Stars Kabelo Dambe who was present in both finals when they won in Mbombela and when they lost against Supersport United, feels that if Ngele could be given enough game time he will punish Kaizer Chiefs. Dambe is now with Township Rollers. “He is a talented player. If given enough playing time against Chiefs he will score. He must not be brought in when the game is already dead. He needs time to read the game and know where to exploit the situation,” he said.

Major David Bright, currently coaching first division outfit Thanda Royal Zulu in South Africa, also shares the sentiments. “It will depend on how Pitso wants to use him. He is very skillful he will score goals if he can play him alongside Hlompho Kekana and Bongani Zungu who will mark and protect him so that he plays behind false No.9,” Bright told Sun Sports from his home base in Richards Bay, Kwazulu Natal.

Tsotso, Botswana’s brightest star, is expected to keep supporters on the edge of their seats with his vast skills. A lot will be itching for a tussle between Tsotso and the stubborn Chiefs defence manned by the towering Eric Mothoho and Ivan Bukenya. Ngele was quoted in South African media saying Chiefs should be very worried because “We want to win titles.”

Should Ngele score and help his team win this cup it will set a new record for his coach who will be the first coach in ABSA premiership to have won all the cups in his coaching history during PSL era while his opponent Kompela will be aiming to win his first-ever cup as a coach.

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Zapata takes charge

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TAKING CHARGE: Zapata assumes his position

Township Rollers Head Coach Rodolfo Zapata was this past Tuesday in charge of the team’s training session, a first since he was appointed Rollers coach in November 2018.

Sun Sports has been reliably informed by sources that were present at the morning session that the Argentine coach was at the grounds and it was all clear that he is now the man in control of the team.

Zapata was made to jump through hoops before he could finally take over the reins at Rollers. First he had to battle with his former club, Gaborone United to cancel his active working permit with the team. The matter dragged for more than a month.

When GU finally gave in, Zapata’s qualifications as a coach were questioned. This came as shocking given that Zapata is GU’s former coach. Nevertheless, a source within Botswana Football Association (BFA) circles has told this paper that Zapata was cleared by CAF last week. As things stand Zapata will be expected on the bench this coming Friday when they play Notwane. If not, then his first job will be the Mascom Top 8 Semi-final against GU next week.

The Rollers management could not be reached yesterday as their phones rang unanswered and repeated efforts revealed that the team spokesperson, Bafana Pheto is currently across borders.
Meanwhile, Zapata’s arrival comes at a crucial time following Rollers ‘s embarrassing defeat to the hands of rivals Jwaneng Galaxy this past weekend. Galaxy cut short the endless winning streak of the defending championships to serve them their second loss since the beginning of the league with a score line of 3-1.

Of late , unconfirmed reports suggest that players had grown impatient with the caretaker coach, Thabo Motang. They differed and questioned his decisions on the pitch. Motang is now reported to have gone back to the department he knows best, goalkeeper coach.

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Moluba wants a replica of previous success

Tshepo Kehemile

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PLAY MAKER: Moalosi is a prolific goal scorer

Township Rollers influential midfielder, Edwin Moalosi confirmed his ambitions to help his team to repeat their run in the previous season to win both Botswana Telecommunication (BTC) Premiership league and the Mascom Top 8. Moluba as he is affectionately known said this after their 3-1 loss to Jwaneng Galaxy at the National Stadium this past Saturday.

Rollers 2018/19 BTC league campaign have been impressive thus far as they are still at the summit of the log despite their loss over the weekend. The Galaxy loss was their second, having lost to the other mining team, Orapa United. However, they have already reached the semi-finals of the Mascom Top 8.

Moalosi told Sun Sport that this season is not going to be a walk in the path, “It is not easy being the defending Champions as you become the team to beat, every team will try hard not to give you space to play or attack hence all the games we play become a mammoth task,” said Moalosi.

Moalosi further stated that being eliminated from the Confederations of African Football (CAF) Champions league early was a blessing in disguise, “We are now out of the CAF Champions league and we can now focus on doing well in the domestic league and cup tournament (Mascom Top 8).

In addition, we need to double our efforts as players so that we reach our ultimate goals,” he said.
Quizzed about his individual goals as a player despite picking so many injuries this season, he said, “Injuries are part of the game, it only depends on every player as to how you respond to it, I am always positive regardless of the circumstances I come across. I want to increase my goal tally and hopefully improve my assists as well,” explained.

However, Jwaneng Galaxy Captain, Olebogeng Malebye who scored a marvellous curler on the day said they are going to give Rollers a run for their money this season, “We are going to fight to death to try and leapfrog Rollers and eventually win the league as it has been our aim for a long time. And finally, we managed to beat them after a very long time trying with no success,” said Malebye.

Jwaneng Galaxy’s season is slowly improving as they are now second on the log, and Orapa United seems to be struggling a bit but the league is still open. Another round of BTC Premiership league matches is expected to continue this coming weekend with a couple of interesting fixtures to look out to including Township Rollers and Notwane FC on Friday at Molepolole and Security Systems and Mochudi Centre Chiefs on Saturday at the same venue, just to mention a few.

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