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CHIEFS, ROLLERS CLASH IN MASCOM TOP 8 SEMIS

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There will be a lot of scores to settle during the first leg of the Mascom Top 8 semi-finals this weekend in Francistown.

Besides the P1, 200,000 first prize carrot being dangled by the tournament sponsor, there will be pride, bragging rights and self-validation at stake. By far, the most interesting fixture will be between big spending mortal rivals Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers at the Francistown sports complex.

Nevertheless, it will be marauding Centre Chiefs that will be coming into the semi-finals with a monkey riding on their backs. The Mascom Top silverware has embarrassingly eluded the glamorous Magosi since its inception in the 2011/12 season. In some cases Magosi have been humiliated in the Top 8 failing to make it through to the semi-finals.

However, Magosi now have a clean slate this season and Popa will be a big target in front of the Kgatleng giants. However, the game is evenly matched as both teams are currently on sizzling form in the beMOBILE premier league and picking a winner now will surely be a tricky affair.  

This Friday, Magosi will be buoyed by their free scoring   juggernaut Lemponye ‘FC’ Tshireletso who has brought   nothing else but sheer terror against the opposition this season. Currently, the evergreen striker is topping the top goal scorer standings. He will surely be a marked man by Rollers. Beside Tshireletso, Rollers will have to contend with Ayanda Molefe and Tendai Nyumasi in defence.

Magosi headcoach Mike ‘Dubula’ Sithole is expected to run with the ball and attack early on. On the flip side, Rollers will be bringing arguably the best pound for pound squad in the league.

English coach Mark Harrison commands a battalion of experience and talent from robust winger Joel Mogorosi to nimble goal scoring machine Sekhana ‘Nandos’ Koko. Harrison is expected to be strong in almost all departments having recently acquired the services of Ofentse ‘Size 10’ Nato and Terence ‘Terror’ Mandaza.

Given the chances on Friday, Rollers will score crucial goals. Mapalastina who have only one Top 8 title to their name have made it to the final two more times losing to both Gaborone United and army side BDF XI.

“This is going to be a big game with two big teams that are on form,” said Harrison this week. Harrison who beat Gilport Lions 3-0 in a league fixture, this week said there will be a lot of expectation for the game this weekend. “We play football to get involved in such matches. Both teams want to play in the Top 8 final.”

Rollers captain Maano Ditshupo said Popa is ready for Magosi on Friday. “Preparations have already began   and we want the cup. We are confident that our plan for the game will give us results.” In their last encounter, Rollers edged Magosi 3-0. Meanwhile, another mouth-watering encounter will see Orapa United taking on 2013/14 Top 8 champions BDF XI at the Itekeng stadium in Orapa on Saturday.

Headcoach Madinda Ndlovu’s Ostriches have been known to be tough customers especially at their home ground at Itekeng. Ndlovu has plenty of experience in winning cups and championships.

With a squad consisting of players like Thabang Sesinyi, Patrick Motsepe, Patrick Lenyeletse and Ronald Chikomo any team should be wary of Orapa. Meanwhile BDF XI boasts an arsenal of their own including Mwampule Masule, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Phenyo Mongala, Ofentse Mmipi and Patrick Kaunda.

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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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