Township Rollers’ attacker, Refilwe Tholakele struck four times to help her team beat Sharps Shooting Stars 5-4 in an entertaining opener of the Gaborone Region Division 1 Women League encounter played at the Taung grounds on Saturday afternoon.
The fixture was always going to be emotional as former Rollers coach, Gaolethoo ‘Ronaldo’ Nkutlwisang led Popa’s ‘breakaway’ team. Ronaldo quit Rollers late last year after claiming that she was owed P60,000.
On the pitch, sparks flew from the onset. It only took five minutes for Sharps to break the deadlock. Oratile Rathari tapped in Tshenolo Ikitseng’s cross from close range. Sharps nearly doubled the lead five minutes later with Ikitseng putting another teasing cross into the box, but Alexandra Benjamin could only hit the cross bar. Following quick counter attack, Tholakele levelled the matters in the 15th minute beating the keeper to the far bottom corner. Sharps regained their lead in 22nd minute after Rollers’ keeper Itireleng Motlokwa showed some butter fingers as she parried back into play what looked like an easy shot.
The rebound found Tshegofatso Mosotho at the right place at the right time and she did not disappoint as she slotted into an empty net. Popa levelled matters for the second time in the game two minutes later as Kesego Matatsha flicked over on coming keeper following a miscommunication in the Sharps defence. Both teams squandered clear-cut chances as they went in to the break level.
The first ten minutes of the second half did not follow up the excitement of the first, as neither side failed to take grip of the game. On the hour mark, Tholakele received a long ball from the back, from what appeared to be an offside position. She beat two on rushing defenders with skill and once again slotted at the far bottom corner to give her team the lead for the first time in the match.
Five minutes later, Tholakele, who caused all sort of troubles for the opponents’ defence had her shot saved by the keeper while a minute later at the other end, substitute Kealeboga Mosimanegape squandered a chance
“We had to beat them. We drew against them a fortnight ago in a tournament. We corrected our mistakes well hence why we did well today. His counterpart, Ronaldo said she had nothing to prove against Rollers and said she was impressed with her youthful side’s display on the day. “It wasn’t anything of that sort. It’s our first game and we wanted to get off to a good start. It was nothing to do with how I left Rollers; we lost 5-4 and lost the three points. We saw our mistakes and we will correct in the next fixture,” she said.
Sharps: Lesego Moeng, Amantle Setswamafoko, Lesly Oki, Sarah Moyo, Masego Nfandiso, Tshenolo Ikitseng, Tuelo Mafoka, Tshegofatso Mosotho, Goitsemang Tlamma, Oratile Rathari, Alexandra Benjamin
Rollers: Itireleng Motlokwa, Refilwe Tholakele, Maduo Kantini, Watohipi Nkwe, Keatlaretse Mokgethwane, Kesegofetse Mochawe, Kesego Matatsha, Pelontle Khumo, Amodimo Samuel, Galage Edward, Thato Mosalakatane
Sharps 4 (Rathari 5th, Mosotho 22nd, Tlamma 90th, Nfandiso 90th+)
Rollers 5 (Tholakele 15th, 60th, 80th, 87th, Matatsha 24th)