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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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Makwengwe promises fire and fury

Isaac Pheko

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ON A MISSION: Makwengwe

Gaborone United (GU)headcoach Philimon Makwengwe has sent a chilling message to his future opponents following a 0-1 loss to reigning BTC Premiership champions Township Rollers this past weekend.

A buoyant Makwengwe who is searching for at least two hungry strikers at GU declared that there will be nothing but misery in store for his future opponents. Following the closely contested Gaborone derby Makwengwe said:

“I have to improve in attack, I am not scoring goals, and I need to change my position on the log. I know the buzz was around the Gaborone Derby but that was never my concern. My team is currently in the red and I needed the points. I have to get out of the red and attacking my opponents is necessary”.

The unrelenting coach made it clear that Moyagoleele should not perform below their showing against Rollers last weekend. Makwengwe said the Money Machine will need to be “attack minded” in their next fixtures.

“What people should know is that Township Rollers have beaten me three times. They beat me twice back in 2012 during the Mascom Top 8. That was not the last time as they defeated me again at Prisons Airwick means this is now the fourth time.

The local tactician said losses to the Mma-Masire outfit should be a wake-up call for him. Nevertheless, Makwengwe said Rollers are the champions and one of the best teams not only in the country but the rest of the region.

“This is a team that gives a good brand of Botswana football. I am a champion myself, I am not a loser but I cannot beat Rollers alone.” Regarding the rest of the first round, Makwengwe said they will hit the ground running, I have no time to lament on negatives, I will not bemoan so many things.

My next opponents should stand in line and prepare to become victims.” The experienced coach said GU are a big brand and they should move away from where they are in the log standings. Losing 0-1 to a team like Rollers shows that we have to work on consistency.

The coach conceded the fact that he needs to make changes in his squad. I need about eight players including a fast winger on the left, I need a striker or two and these should be real strikers not people who play upfront.

Makwengwe said the current strikers at the team include a local who is a work in progress and a foreigner who is not giving enough to the team.“People want me to hide and I cannot, when you come into this country and you brush aside a local and even the labour law says you have to be better than them(locals), I bet in any profession.

If you want to play a striker for me, work harder.” The coach said he does not have an outright striker, which leaves a gap in the team. “A striker is somebody who pushes and is busy. If he doesn’t score himself, he has to use other players. It doesn’t matter if he is alone against four.”

Makwengwe said he needs two strikers to avoid changing the team too much. “In January, I am going into the market and I am going to buy. My next game is against Miscelleneous and they are coming down. I will have no mercy. Whoever comes I will have no mercy.”

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Old rivals faceoff

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BITTER RIVALS: Notwane Head coach Pio Paul

Notwane Football Club (Sechaba) and Mochudi Centre Chiefs (Magosi), are to battle it out in a potentially massive encounter as both clubs are coming from draws in their previous matches against Prisons IX and Black Forest respectively.

The clash is scheduled to take place at 4pm this Saturday at Molepolole Sports Complex.Sechaba, as Notwane is affectionately known were relegated back in 2015 while Magosi has been going through a financial crisis that hit the club recently.

Having played 9 games a piece, Notwane FC, currently on the 9th position in the BTC Premiership league log standings have won two, drew four and lost three games whereas Centre Chiefs who are occupying the 12th spot have won one, drew five and lost three games.

In a brief interview with Sun Sport this week, Notwane FC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mogomotsi ‘Ace’ Orapeleng said, “We are going all out to win this fixture, taking nothing away from Centre Chiefs, we are not going to read much into what they have been going through lately hence our approach to the match will be of ‘great’ respect.

This past weekend we dropped a massive two points which could have made a difference against Prisons IX thus making us more desperate to collect three (3) points in this coming clash with Centre Chiefs,” he said.

Questioned about the anxiety brought by this particular contest he said: “Notwane FC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs are big brands of Botswana football, we are aware of the fact that the personnel have changed; new players, management and even sponsors but the ultimate truth is that these two have great following and most people are anxious to see how the events will turn out on the weekend,” said Orapeleng.

For his part, Mochudi Centre Chiefs Vice-Chairman, Clifford Mogomotsi confirmed their aim is to try and improve their position in the league log standings, “In every match we play, our approach is to always expand our position on the log, regardless of which team we play against. Notwane FC is a fantastic team but we are going to fight until the end to win the match,” said Mogomotsi.

Mogomotsi further pointed out that playing against Notwane FC has always been exulting, “Notwane FC has always given us entertaining football as we almost play a similar style of play,” said the Vice-Chairman.

On the possibility of losing points through the impending verdict after failure to honour their game against Miscellaneous a fortnight ago: “Our date with Botswana Premier League (BPL) Disciplinary Committee (DC) has been set, and we are awaiting that,” he explained.

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