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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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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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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

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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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