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History made as Rollers march to CAF Group stages

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Township Rollers made history as they became the first Botswana side to book a place in the group stages of the CAF Champions League following a goalless draw with Tanzanian champions Young Africans (Yanga) at a second leg match played at a packed National Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Rollers came into the reverse fixture leading 2-1 from their shock victory in Yanga’s home ground a fortnight ago in Tanzania.

To win the tie and proceed to the next stage, Rollers needed a draw or for Yanga to win with a margin of one goal but with no more than two goals to their credit. Rollers achieved that as the Saturday result meant they proceed via a 2-1 aggregate score, ensuring they enter a gruelling stage where they will play six more matches in the competition across the continent against possible opponents in the mould of former champions TP Mazembe, Al Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns a ong others.

Rollers’ captain Maano Ditshupo was ecstatic after the match, praising and giving gratitude to the multitudes of people who thronged the stadium to give them support. “They drove us, we had to fight hard not to disappoint them as they really gave us the necessary motivation,” he said after the match. Ditshupo added that they had achieved everything they had set out to achieve this season having vowed to win the Top 8 championship, and now entering the group stages of the champions league.

Similarly excited was the experienced Tshepo Talkie Motlhabankwe who described the victory as the best birthday present he could ever get. “Throughout the week I pushed my teammates, reminding them that March 17 is my birthday and that they have to ensure I enjoy my day,” Motlhabankwe said, adding that playing the group stages will give them more experience that will rub positively on the development of Botswana football. After the match, the Rollers players showered Motlhabankwe with all manner of confetti, ranging from potato chips to water, to mark their excitement for getting what he had called for.

Rollers will know their group stage opponents on Wednesday next week when the the draw will be conducted in Cairo. The group stages carry a minimum prize money of around P5 million. In the Saturday match, Rollers dominated proceedings from the start, bouyoed by the over 20 000 supporters who cut across the Botswana club divide. Yanga never really threatened the Rollers’ defence despite beefing up their team with five players who did not play in the first leg. Rollers’ goalkeeper Keeagile Kgosipula had a lonely match where he saw very little action on the day as his defence kept their opponents at bay. It was only in the 70th minute that Yanga threatened to score with their player Odrey Chirwa firing wide from close range when he only had Kgosipula to beat.

Ahead of the match on Friday, Rollers head coach Nikola Kavazovic had talked of the importance of the match, saying a positive result could ensure the local game gets to be tested against established continental giants.

“We are now definitely among the 20 best teams in Africa, we have defeated a top side in Al-Merreikh and in the first round we showed confidence in our game in Tanzania. I believe we deserve a place in the group stages and we will work for it. Yanga are African giants and we are still a developing team, but I believe we are now favourites to go through,” Kavazovic said.

“I am very proud of my players,” he added. “Whatever happens on Saturday, we have already done a lot, more than what was expected, more than what was achieved in the previous seasons. The second goal in the first leg against Yanga showed our model of play, our trademark. That goal was not just good by African standards…even by international, world standards it was good, 21 completed passes, one minute 40 seconds without Yanga having the ball and we scored. We will keep to our style,” Kavazovic added.

Yanga’s Assistant Coach Noel Mwandila had expressed confidence on Friday, that his Tanzanian side would prevail, owing to performances back at home. ‬
“After the Rollers game in Tanzania we played two league games where we scored three goals in each match, so I believe we have overcome the problem of not converting goals in the first leg. We will have one or two players not being available, but we also have our captain who did not feature in the first leg who is now available,” Mwandila said. However, things did not go according to plan for Yanga as Rollers bullied them throughout the match, with the likes of Joel Mogorosi, Mosha Gaolaolwe and Lemponye Tshireletso squandering clear chances.

Rollers had made two changes from their 2-1 first leg win over Yanga in Dar es Salaam with Edwin Moalosi and Edwin Olerile coming in for Kaone Vanderwesthuizen and the injured Mthokozisi Msomi. Other players who featured for Rollers include Simisani Mathumo, Motsholetsi Sikele and Segolame Boy.

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Sports

Heelang, hands off journalists!

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In our last edition, we touched on athletes who need to be media savvy, however it appears the vaccine needs to be administered on sports leaders too.

There is a highly contagious disease spreading rapidly in the sports space with those in power having a wrong perception of owning the media or somehow entitled to publicity. Such people want to literally dictate what should be broadcast or published, fa ba bata go go nyantshetsa o utwa gotwe, write and send back so I crosscheck.

That equals disrespecting and undermining a journalist to the lowest level; it is more like wanting to teach a scribe how to do their work. If you are in a wrong profession at your respected workplace, please kindly send in your Curriculum Vitae (CV) to newsrooms, you might land that Editor- In Chief position. Then there are those who will make scribes feel like they signed a death warrant, why did you not cover my event? You are not reliable; you are only good at chasing certain individuals. Heelang! Stop crucifying journalists, they do not owe anyone anything and realistically speaking cannot cover everything to please all.

Oops and there are those who never want anything bad or controversial associated with their name. They start off as bosom buddies, discussing ‘non offensive’ issues and once in a while a compliment thrown their way. Once the dark days come knocking and gears are changed, suddenly the same journalist ke moloi wa meno a 4 mo ganong. Really now? So, all along the witch was not visible and now that the tables have turned and it hurts like never before, things have become clearer? Perhaps, you forget what the real job of a scribe is? You cannot befriend a journalist my friends, if you do, then something is seriously wrong! Expect the good together with the bitter taste of unwanted publicity.

There is also a time when the scribes are labelled bomma dijo le bo Rradijo. To an extent that you even emphasize that there will be food at your events, so the more the merrier! I agree, generally only a few can say NO to free food but it becomes a bit untidy when you put a food price tag to your events. Ga re gane, there are some colleagues with a huge appetite and they are not even shy about it but isn’t it that there are people like that all over.

Le re tshabisa go ja, please! Another trend, initially good but now disturbing is that of organisations spoiling some rotten journalists by travelling with them to certain places, all expenses fully paid for. This includes food, accommodation and transportation. Things then become cozy when a drink or two is thrown in, nice but at what expense? Is it out of good will or tantamount to bribery?

Some associations tend to confuse it all with rubbing off bad publicity. Kgantele e nna, ao laitaka, o lebala o robetse ko Cresta Hotel ke go reketse biri? A guilty conscience then kicks in and stories are shelved. It is only a few that manage to look beyond the fancy trips and royal treatment and uphold journalism principles. Better you spoil journalists but without undue expectations, accept both the bad and the good coming your way.

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Abidal punches ticket to TS Galaxy

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[PHOTO:www.facebook.com/TownshipRollersFC]

Township Rollers’s defensive Midfielder Gape ‘Abidal’ Mohutsiwa has confirmed that he will be plying his trade at South African based TS Galaxy next season.

This follows rife speculation that Mohutsiwa’s deal with Galaxy might have somehow fallen off. The strong suspicions came about last week when the national first division side communicated the team’s new signings. Local based players of Mosha Gaolaolwe, Thero Setsile and Ezekiel Morake were mentioned in the list and Mohutsiwa’s name was suspiciously omitted. As if that was not enough, the team went on to show off pictures of the trio signing contracts with the team management but still no mention of Mohutsiwa.

Speaking to Sun Sport this week, Mohutsiwa explained that he had seen the communication but made nothing from it. “I am still going because even my work permit is ready, all is well and there is no need to panic,” he said.

The 22-year-old pointed out that TS Galaxy had informed that they will communicate dates to join them in South Africa. He is expecting their call anytime after completing the season this coming weekend.

“I also saw those pictures with the management and its is not like they signed the contracts last week. I suspect that they were just appreciating the performance made by my fellow colleagues Morake and Setsile during the COSAFA championships staged in Durban South Africa,” said Mohutsiwa.

The young Abidal as he is well known is convinced that the TS Galaxy management was just ‘boasting’ about the kind of talent they are bringing to their team. “I did not perform to the best of my ability during COSAFA championships but I cannot say they were neglecting me, I am actually fine with it,” he said.

Mohutsiwa added that as young as he is, he believes that he has a lot to offer and the intention is not to return home in a year or so. He has been signed for three years and the expectation is that he completes his term and perhaps find other lucrative deals out there.

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