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Botswana snubs Messi

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Zebras’ captain Joel Mogorosi is among the 30 national team captains who did not think highly of Monday night’s Ballon D’Or winner Lionel Messi. Instead, the Township Rollers’ winger voted for Christiano Ronaldo as the best and did not even include Messi in the list of his top three best footballers of 2015.

In voting for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, each FIFA member country is accorded three votes from the national team’s coach and captain, with the third vote coming from the media. All the three voters from Botswana – coach Peter Butler, Mogorosi and journalist Oaitse Mathala – picked Ronaldo as the world’s best footballer with Messi coming in second place for Butler and Mathala.

Curiously, Messi did not feature in Mogorosi’s top three, with Barcelona’s Luis Suarez coming second in his assessment, and Manchester City’s Yaya Toure coming third. Toure, who lost out on the African Footballer of Year award last week was also voted third by Butler while Brazilian and Barcelona star Neymar completed Mathala’s top three.

Once the votes were leaked onto Twitter within minutes of Messi being crowned the winner, curious votes from other football stars and coaches emerged, with some voting for Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben despite spending much of the season sidelined through injury. Chief to note was the fact that Messi, voting as captain of Argentina, did not include Ronaldo in his top three of teammates Luis Suarez, Neymar and Andres Iniesta.

The favour was duly returned by Portugal’s captain who instead voted for his teammates Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale. Ronaldo neither featured in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s top three.  

England’s captain Wayne Rooney went for Messi and Thomas Muller ahead of Ronaldo, and neither did he vote his coach Louis Van Gaal for the coach’s top prize. Instead Rooney picked Jose Mourinho as the best along with Pep Guardiola and Chile manager Jose Sampaoli.

In not including Messi in his top three, Mogorosi was part of the 30 captains that included Robert Lewandoski (Poland), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Chris Wood (New Zealand), Ronaldo (Portugal), Scott Brown (Scotland) and Diego Godín of Uruguay

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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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