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Rollers dominate Top 8 nominiees

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BTC Premiership log leader Township Rollers are leading the pack with three nominations at the 2017/18 Mascom Top 8 awards scheduled for the Gaborone International Convention Center (GICC) this evening (Wednesday). The indomitable Mapalastina looks set to walk away with all the three awards that they are nominated for. Rollers captain Maano Ditshupo is expected to walk away with the Player of the Tournament award. Consistent performance and leadership qualities led his side to a historic Mascom Top 8 triumph at the Francistown Sports Complex last month.The box to box midfield was a revelation this season and his pursuant performance was enough to earn him a nomination and make him a favourite for the award.

Although Ditshupo richly deserves it there are two strong candidates competing for the award. The two include Kobamelo Kebaikanye(BDF XI) and Gilbert Baruti (Black Forest). The two have been outstanding in the tournament but they stand a fat chance of winning the award bring in the quality that Ditshupo showcased. On the other hand, Mapalastina coach Nikola Kavazovic is the favorite to walk away as the coach of the tournament, which will earn him an enviable trophy haul with a glittering season for the Serbian. However, Daniel Nare was a fundamental factor in Orapa United’s bumpy ride to the final. The local coach is the biggest threat to Kavazovic. Jwaneng Galaxy’s current assistant Coach Matshidiso Moseki is a dark horse in this race for best coach. Moseki bowed out in the semis after giving Rollers a run for their money.

However, he knocked out Mochudi Center Chiefs inspiring his side to a stellar comeback. In the goalkeeper’s category another Rollers player Keagile Kgosipula is favoured to win the award looking back at his sensational short stopping performance and the impressive saves that led Popa to the finals. Meanwhile, Ezekiel Morake (Jwaneng Galaxy) and Mosimanegape Robert (Orapa United) will be to blame for their downfall in this category after making huge errors that cost their teams the big prize. Morake gave away cheap goals against Rollers in the semis while Robert also gave away his award against the semi opponents this time at the final stage. Meanwhile Obonye Maome of Gaborone United has no competitors for the Golden Boot, the midfielder scored five goals in the tournament. In the officials category the Best Referee of the Tournament pits together Tirelo Mositwane, Joshua Bondo and Lekgotla Johannes while Best Assistant Referee of the Tournament will see, Ookeditse Keitseope, Botsalo Mosimanewatlala and Moemedi Monakwane battle it out.

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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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