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Rollers tested but weather Gunners storm

BOITUMELO KHUTSAFALO
Milestone: Township Rollers coach is unbeaten since it took over at the start of the season PIC:MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Township Rollers coach, Nikola Kavazovic has said they were forced to change tact and defend their slender 1-0 lead against Extension Gunners 20 minutes into the second half after they were reduced to 10 men following Ivan Ntege’s dismissal.

The Serbian mentor said he asked his players at halftime to attack for 20 minutes after which they then had to switch to more defensive play to protect their 1-0 lead.

Ntege received his marching orders with less than five minutes before the halftime break after his numerous late tackles. He was first cautioned with yellow card early in the first half. After several warnings, he then received his second yellow card for almost an identical tackle that led to his first yellow card. “After Ntege was sent off, I let my boys to try some counter attacks for about 20 minutes. After that, we were aware that we must defend because this is a very good team (Gunners) and we did it. We managed to keep a clean sheet and collected three points,” he said. In the second half, Rollers had to introduce Kaone van Der Westhuizen and Thato Bolweleng to join the already packed defence, which comprised Tshepo Motlhabankwe, Simisane Mathumo, Percy More and Mosha Gaolaolwe. Kavazovic said he was happy that the plan worked as they go for the break unbeaten. He, however said they need to stay focussed when the league resumes in January. “We must stay motivated because there is not only the league, there is Mascom Top 8 and CAF Champions League, which is my personal priority this season,”  he added. Rollers have already started preparations for the continental competition with the addition of Ofentse Nato who last week penned a one and half year deal.  Rollers will go into the Christmas break with a 11-point gap at the summit. The last time they lost a league match was in November last year against rivals, Mochudi Centre Chiefs. For the past two matches, the log leaders have had to settle for fewer

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options with several key players out with injury. Against Sankoyo Bush Bucks in the midweek, Rollers were without Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Motsholetsi Sikele and Edwin Moalosi who had joined Joel Mogorosi and Galagwe Moyana on the injury list. Moalosi however returned against Gunners on Sunday. With both Ramatlhakwane and Mthokozisi Msomi out, Moalosi was thrown further up the field as a striker. 

The game had few talking points except for the dismissal of the Rollers midfielder, Ntege who received two yellow cards. It was all Gunners in the second half, but poor decision making in the final third was their main undoing. They missed a chance to move into the top five, but remained in position seven with 17 points. However coach, Itumeleng Duiker will go into the festive break with a heavy smile considering that his young player, Mothusi Cooper seems to be coming of age. Against Rollers, the nippy midfielder orchestrated almost all the dangerous moves and gave Rollers a hard time.

Jwaneng Galaxy bounced back to winning ways and moved back to position two when they beat BDF XI 1-0 on Sunday. The victory pushed them two positions up after being leapfrogged by Gaborone United (GU) and Miscellaneous this past week.  They trail Rollers by 11 points, but have a game in hand. Miscellaneous also ended the year on a high note and sent their coach, Boyo Radipotsane a birthday present when they demolished Uniao Flamengo Santos 4-0 on Saturday.

They are in position three with 20 points. GU, who were supposed to play Gilport Lions, had to go for an early Christmas break with the latter currently facing challenges in the league. They recently parted ways with most of their players and remained with only eight. They are holding trials to try and get replacements.



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