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Radipotsane braces for tough mission at Chouka-chouka

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The Palapye based outfit still sits within the relegation bracket at the foot of the table but with an ambition to remain in the top tier. The devastating truth is that they have a mere eight games left for them to turn their fortunes around.

With the number of games played so far, it makes sense to believe that Motlakase Power Dynamos is terrifyingly close to relegation but the acquisition of Radipotsane at the beginning of this year was seen as a solution to their persistent problems. With a traceable reputation of winning games with meagre squads, Radipotsane believes they can avoid relegation by the end of the season but he is acutely aware of the mammoth task facing him.

“We have nine games left. Out of these games, we just have to win seven and we will be safe. There are fewer gaps between us and the few teams above,” he told Sun Sports ahead of their past weekend’s game against Nico United, which they went on to win 2-1. “If Galaxy can win five games in a row, then it is possible with us. It is an achievable feat,” Radipotsane added confidently. Although he is not a coveted coach who has won many championships, Radipotsane deserves an instant respect in dealing with small teams that usually constitute smaller and meagre squads with little mix of experienced players.

He has shown his mettle before. With a relatively small squad, he once guided Motlakase to a top 8 bracket in the top tier league. “The boys must believe in themselves. The management must believe in us and offer the necessary support. If we all pull together then we can make it.

“There is a slight improvement. This team has been conceding more goals. About five or four per game and it has since changed,” he added. It is widely known that Motlakase is in dire financial straits and that most premiership and seasoned performers are far from Motlakase’s financial reach, leaving Radipotsane to work with what is at his disposal – a crop of unproven players who in most cases are campaigning in the premiership for the first time.

But the guttural coach believes his players are competent enough. “I believe the team is competent. If they can match the likes of Township Rollers then there is no need to doubt them. They must keep fighting until the end,” he said.

His mission to help Motlakase survive relegation started well as he helped them to their third victory of the season. Moreover, their rampant approach in the transfer window could be another showing that the former Jwaneng Galaxy and Gaborone United mentor is taking the task seriously. During the just ended transfer window, Motlakase signed 12 players; the highest number registered at the Botswana Premier League (BPL) offices.

They have registered Thero Ntau, Lapologang Motlogi, Mpho Odubeng, Maphakela Ramoraka, Moemedi Mothibi, Phetogo Lerato,  Ishmael Mengwe, Aobakwe Solomon, Mogakolodi Balatotse, Gabathomphe Tsheko, Otsile Seanego and Vusimusi Sibiya. Of all the 12 players, only four were recruited from the premier league teams. The rest were recruited from teams campaigning in the lower divisions.

However, in the process of recruiting during the transfer window, they failed to hold on to their influential players. Former Extension Gunners marksman Othusitse Mahube has since joined division one side Morupule Wanderers in Palapye.

Youngster Thato Kebue who was a key figure in the team has signed for Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Experienced midfielder Botshelo Lerato has signed for Gaborone United. Nico United snatched Phineas Kgotlaang.

Radipotsane is inheriting a team that has struggled severely since the beginning of the season. The side has served their supporters with a horrifying and dull brand of football, registering more losses and draws.

But Radipotsane’s arrival was praised as he was once the envy of most fans. Most of the Motlakase faithful have put behind their frustration of seeing Radipotsane slap them with a heart-breaking move from their team to a then first division outfit Jwaneng Galaxy.

Based on the history, they believe the gaffer will save them. Their weekend victory against Nico United must instil in them the belief that indeed their task of keeping their premier league status is achievable.

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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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