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Orapa United beat GU to set up Top 8 date with Rollers

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Orapa United and Township Rollers will meet in the Mascom Top 8 final for the second time in three years after the Ostritches eased 4-1 past a hapless Gaborone United in the second semi final played this Saturday evening at the National Stadium.

Rollers on the other hand reached the final on the away goal rule advantage after they drew 1-1 with Jwaneng Galaxy on Friday night at the same venue. The two had drawn 2-2 in the first leg played in Lobatse, ending the contest with a 3-all draw that sees Rollers go through since they scored more goals away from home. Many had hoped for a dream Gaborone derby in the final of the seventh edition of the tournament but obviously Orapa United had other ideas. Fresh from a 1-0 first leg victory at home a week ago, Orapa only needed a draw to gain passage to the final, but they made sure of the progression by putting fout goals past GU’s goal minder Goitseone Semelamela.

When in the 31st minute Kabelo Seakanyeng converted a penalty for GU, there was hope for a tough contest, but Tendai Nyumasi’s equaliser 8 minutes later dampened the spirits of the Gaborone lads who to win had to then score two more goals with Orapa not responding. But it was never to be as Onkabetse Makgantai scored a second for the Ostritches in the 50th minute. GU were surely left with a mountain to climb and their body language after that goal told a story of a team that had given up on making a comeback. 

Things became even more easier for Daniel Nare’s charges as they utilised the wings with telling effect to punish GU, with Kobamelo Kebaikanye scoring a coffin-nailing brace in the 80th and 88th minute to win the match 4-1. GU coach Rudolf Zapata praised Orapa for playing a great game, saying the Ostritches deserved the win. Nare on the other side said he was surprised at the ease with which they beat GU, saying he had only expected a one-goal gap scoreline.

Orapa’s win means they are making it to the final for the third consecutive year having won it in 2015 against Rollers, then losing it in the 2016 final to Jwaneng Galaxy. Both sides, Rollers and Orapa, will be looking to win the cup for the second time. Gaborone United are the only side to have won the competition twice with Rollers having reached five finals. The final is set for later this month on February 24 at a venue to be confirmed – either the national stadium or the Francistown Sport Complex.

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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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