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Magosi seek shock upset

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The most enticing game of the BTC Premiership this weekend is arguably between Kgatleng sleeping giants Mochudi Center Chiefs and 2016/17 reigning champions Township Rollers at the National stadium. In recent history, neither form nor the impressive roster from each side has decided the outcome of the match. This is the sort of fixture where the character of players will always lead to spectacular goals being scored and amazing acrobats in the goal line. The 12th man is also a big factor as tempers flare in the stands and errors being severely punished.

Thus far, Magosi have have had a torrid early part of the season while the sizzling Popa Popa have been in great form. However that doesn’t declare Popa as the winners of the match considering their the sizzling form. Magosi have always given Mapalastina a torrid time and this makes for entertaining football. Lately Rollers have seen their side form a more organized side under Serbian Coach Nikola Kavazovic, the side has a hard rock defense which has left attackers sweating and failing to get behind with Semisane Mathumo, Edwin Olerile, Mosha Gaolaolwe and Tshepho Mothabankwe who have all formed an unshakable defensive mechanism at the back.

Kavazovic has played a leading role early after taking up the job, with his onus of changing play during the game being fruitful as players respond positively and look more comfortable with the tasks. Kovazovic can switch from 4-5-1, 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 in the blink of an eye. The coach will have to be cautious on his approach this time and play his trusted 4-5-1 formation which will give him shape at the back, with this formation Kovazovic will use Tshepho Matete and Motsholetsi Sikele as the full backs, tasking them with attacking and defensive duties while the back line remains in place most of the time.Maano Ditshupo will be the guard in the center of the park while Lemponye Tshireletso will be unleashed to play a free role, with his creativity in the midfield expected to impact on the leading striker Mthokozisi Msomi in the absence of leading goal scorer Joel Mogorosi who is out on injury.

The last time Rollers lost a league game was last year November against a stubborn Magosi side at the same venue and the MmaMasire based side will not want to see their unbeaten run sail away from them in discarded fashion. On the other hand, Chiefs can send shock waves through the Rollers faithful as they go into the game without anything to lose, the Kgatleng based side has seen their performance decline over the past season and it doesn’t look different this season as their start to the season cannot be looked at with both eyes.

Innocent Morapedi’s troops will have to dig deep if they plan a shock upset over the star studded Mapalastina who have gone unbeaten for more than 20 games in the league now. Morapedi will obviously call to task his trusted and ancient 4-4-2 formation with four flat defenders, Thato Kebue, Charles Mutero, Gosegonna Molapise and Katlego Keobake, the four will be holding the high line for Magosi. Magosi will need a lot of energy and speed in the midfield with Captain Lesego Galenamothale missing out on suspension, Thato Ogopotse and Lawrence Majawa will fit in the center of the park and try to control the tempo of the game.

Magosi will put up pacey wingers in Lesego Lubinda and Thatayaone Ramatlapeng who will put to test the aging Township Rollers defenders, the set of wingers are expected to play in crosses a lot of the time targeting their lethal strikers Khumoitsile Kufigwa and Tendai Nyamadzao who will pose aerial threat to Popa. Newly appointed Magosi coach Kinnah Phiri will be watching his side from the stands as he continues to wait for his work permit, his presence can turn motivational to the current crop of demoralized Magosi players however.

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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