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ROLLERS DEFEND UNDEFEATED STREAK…

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BTC premiership outfit Orapa United will be looking to pull an upset over archrivals Township Rollers when the two clash at the Molepolole Sports Complex this weekend. The Ostriches vs. Popa is fast becoming one of the most compelling fixtures in the domestic league. Moreover, Orapa are quickly building a reputation as Popa’s hoodoo team. An even more interesting fact is that Popa remain undefeated in seven games.

Thus far, Popa have had a good run of results under Coach Nikolas Kavazovic who has been successfully guiding the team to victories since taking over this season. Rollers have since accumulated a staggering 24 points out of eight games and keeping a clean track record with 100 percent winning streak. Nikolas Kavazovic has introduced his charges to new tactics and they have adapted to his formation without a sweat.

The 3-4-3 formation has been a revelation for Popa with Tshepho Matete and Motsholetsi Sikele taking fresh roles as full backs. With Mosha Gaolaolwe out on injury, the once forgotten Oscar Ncenga will be brought back to make up the three men backline alongside Simisani Mathumo and Tshepho Motlhabankwe, who will be complimented by the full backs will fortify the defence. Mapalastina are expected to field an impeccable midfield including Maano Ditshupo and Lemponye Tshireletso interchangeably leading the attacks and frequently helping in defence.

The trio of Edwin Moalosi, Segolame Boy and Mthokozisi Msomi leading the attacks in front of goal, a rather Sharp Moalosi will be preying on the defense. Meanwhile Orapa United caretaker coach Daniel Nare will have a mammoth task of trying to balance the unstable Ostriches. Orapa are currently stuck on position six with 11 points after eight fixtures. Nare has been doing well at previous club Miscellaneous after leading the club to a comfortable third position with 13 points. Nare will have to take up Madinda Ndlovu’s staggering formation for the time being while trying to get the team back on track after their fortunes declined under the leadership of the Zimbabwean mentor.

Thanking Mosige and Olekantse Mambo will be in the heart of the defense while Lesenya Ramoraka and Kealeboga Molebatsi will occupy the left back and right back respectively keeping a stable four men rigid defense. Kemmy Pilatwe and Tapiwa Nyamanjiva will be the pair in the midfield to take up the battle against Lemponye Tshireletso and Maano Ditshupo, although their pairing has been a headache.

Orapa supporters will expect that the reunion of Kemmy Pilatwe and Nare yield positive results for the Debswana mining company sponsored outfit. Lemogang Maswena and Gift Moyo will both be playing out wide challenging the likes Tshepho Matete and Motsholetsi Sikele. Explosive speed and hard tackling will be expected to grace the sides of the pitch. Nare will trust Omaatla Kebatho to test Keagile Kgosipula’s goalposts with Tendai Nyumasi coming from deep to support the lone striker.

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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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