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Township Rollers thump hapless Orapa United to be crowned the 2018 Mascom Top 8 champions



Defensive shambles and lack of creativity and commitment conspired to render Orapa United toothless as Township Rollers emphatically thumped them 4-2 in the Mascom Top 8 final duel played at the Francistown Sport Complex on Saturday afternoon.


There was no stopping Rollers as they bolted early towards their second Top 8 crown having won the inauguaral edition back in 2012. Rollers were playing their fifth finsl of the tournament that has spanned seven seasons.


Rollers’ statement of intent was made as early as the 10th minute when they scored their first goal through a strike from Lemponye Tshireletso with Edwin Moalosi scoring the second goal only 10 minutes later to make it 2-0 at recess. Rollers would continue where they had left off in the second half, taking advantage of Orapa United’s sustained defensive blunders to score their third goal in the 56th minute through Bogosi Nfila who had come from the bench in the 35th minute to replace the injured second goal scorer, Moalosi. Moalosi would lare be reported to have suffered a broken arm although he was able to receive his medal with just a bandage on the affected arm.

Rollers made sure of the crown in the 65th minute when Kaone Vanderwesthuizen also came from the bench to score their fourth goal. At the time, it was all done and dusted and  the resultant temporary lapse on the Rollers’ side saw United pull back two goals through Omaatla Kebatho in the 71st minute and Onkabetse Makgantai in the 82nd minute. Desperate times had set in on the part of United with substitute Ronald Chikomo being sent off via a straight red card in the 80th minute after launching a dangerous tackle on Rollers’ goal keeper Keeagile Kgosipula.

It was a disappointing display from Orapa United whose usually raucous supporters were subdued for the entire match especially after Tshireletso’s goal. The supporters had earlier painted Francistown orange when in their several fully-loaded buses they traversed the city streets with song, dance and horn. They too should have been shocked by their team’s dismal performance that betrayed the hype and air of anticipation that had preceded the match. United looked disjointed and seemed to lack motivation and the drive for the crown of the most lucrative football competion in the country. 

From the bench, instructions were haphazard, coming from two coaches in head coach Bongani Mafu and his assistant Daniel Nare whose instructions seemed to add to the confusion on the pitch. Nare has over the earlier stages of the tournament presided as Orapa United coach until they reached the finals. Mafu only came in to take charge in Saturday’s final, prompting some fuming supporters to blame their loss on the changed coaching hands. Orapa United only started showing up after the introduction in the second half of Gift Moyo and Chikomo. Their entry into the match added pace and intent into their game and helped open up Rollers’ defence, leading to their two late consolation goals.

Mafu described their loss as “self-inflicted pain,” adding that his side was from the onset put under pressure by Rollers and never recovered. “They got off the mark very fast, they came at us, they pressed us high and they forced mistakes out of us,” the coach said after the match. “It is a learning curve, and with the squad that we have, the future looks bright,” Mafu said, adding that he was full of admiration for Chikomo’s attitude and wishing every player played like him. “He got that red card because he carried this game in his heart, he really wanted it badly but in the end it was a rough and dangerous tackle, and he deserved the red card.”

Captain Maano Ditshupo was crowned Man of the Match, winning himself P4000 while his club pocketed P1 300 000. Rollers jet off to Tanzania on Sunday for their Tuesday CAF Champions League encounter against Young Africans. 

TOWNSHIP ROLLERS: Keagile Kgosipula 23; Tshepo Motlhabankwe 8; Simisani Mathumo 5; Mosha Gaolaolwe 4; Galabgwe Moyana 10; Motsholetsi sikele 28; Ofentse Nato 20;  Maano Ditshupo 22; Segolame Boy 11; Lemponye Tshireletso 12; Edwin Moalosi 7    Reserves: Bogosi Mfila 9; Tshepo Matete 187; Ivan Ntege 15; Kaone Vanderwesthuizen 15; Gape Mohutsiwa 6; Thato Bolweleng 2; Mwampule Masule 1

ORAPA UNITED:  Mosimanegape Robert 1; Thabang Mosige 6; Olekantse Mambo 24; Kealeboga Molebatsi 28; Lesenya Ramoraka 44; Tapiwa Nyamanjiva 20; Baboloki Makhura 19;  Kobamelo Kebaikanye 11; Onkabetse Makgantai 14; Tendai Nyumasi 10; Omaatla Kebatho 13; Reserves:  Kaelo Joseph 31; Lemogang Maswena 18; Obonye Moswate 22; Patrick Lenyeletse 9; Gift Moyo 8; Kabo Mungabe 23;  Ronald Chikomo 7

REFEREE: Joshua Bondo




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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko



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



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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