Connect with us

Sports

Rollersâ’ finest hour

Published

on

BY KABELO GADISE BTC Premiership reigning champions Township Rollers face Sudanese giants El-Merrikh tonight at the El-Merrikh Stadium in the Sudanese capital Omdurman. Popa go into the CAF champion’s league game leading El-Merrikh 3-0 after a superb first leg game played in Gaborone a fortnight ago. However, the marauding Popa are set to face the unexpected in Omdurman when they enter 43 000 seater Al-Merrikh stadium. Proverbial sparks are bound to fly, as both teams will be seeking to advance to the next stage of the lucrative CAF African championship. The MmaMasire based outfit needs to match their rivals pound for pound. Nonetheless El- Merrikh is expected to mount pressure into the Rollers defense where cracks might surface.

The desperate Sudanese outfit will need to mount an end-to-end attack earlier in the game. However, mind games have already played out between the two sides and they will continuously roll until the last whistle. Logistical issues are said to have ensued with the hapless Popa at the receiving end. Nevertheless, Rollers have been on a great form and they will need both mental strength and nerves of steel to beat their rivals in a hostile and menacing environment. Lately, outspoken Mapalastina headcoach Nikola Kavazovic made bold statement after declaring his charges are slowly becoming African giants following their watershed 3-0 victory over the highly rated Sudanese side. Thus far, the spirit of fair play and hospitality seem to have flown out the window in Sudan and Popa needs to rise to the occasion outside their comfort zone.

The game is expected to be played under floodlights, which brings up the risk of the notorious laser beams being used against the unsuspecting Popa players, as it is a usual norm in both North and East Africa. Moreover, a combination of hostile match officials and unfair treatment from the hosting team is always on the cards in African states. Since their arrival on Monday, reports are that Popa have struggled to find a suitable training ground and this treatment is expected to prevail until the last whistle tonight (Wednesday). Tactically popa look stronger even though some feel they will be a sandwiched and pressed hard by a desperate El-Merrikh, a team that allegedly missed almost six of their key players in the first leg. Mapalastina will once more need to highlight their tactical maturity by shutting the back door with their usual backline of Tshepho Motlhabankwe and Edwin Olerile playing as wing backs while Simisane Mathumo and Mosha Gaolaolwe will be sweeping clean in the central of defense.

El-Merrikh liable to fall short in applying their aerial tactics and taking advantage of their God given size advantage. Kavazovic will be expecting his midfield to give the opponent the first ball and capitalize on the second ball. Reliable winger Joel Mogorosi will have a busy day having to unpin defenders out of their position with his movements focusing on the wide parts of the field, while defenders will be chasing behind Mogorosi, spaces will open up for the deadly trio of Segolame Boy, Motsholetsi Sikele and Edwin Moalosi. Moalosi however, remains doubtful to play due to a reported illness. Lemponye Tshireletso will be expected to rise to the occasion. El-Merrikh once the regulars of the CAF Champions League group stages now face what possibly looks as an early exit going into the second leg while Rollers sit on a healthy lead with the tide not possibly looking like turning around.

Continue Reading
Comments

Sports

Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

Published

on

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.”

Continue Reading

Sports

Bridge team fails to impress

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Trending