Mmegi Online :: Battle for P1.3m hits decisive stage
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Thursday 22 February 2018, 17:30 pm.
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Battle for P1.3m hits decisive stage

When the first fan walks through the National Stadium turnstiles this evening, nothing will be certain, but when the last makes his way out tomorrow, the two sides to do battle in the Mascom Top 8 final, will be decided, writes MQONDISI DUBE
By Mqondisi Dube Fri 02 Feb 2018, 14:41 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Battle for P1.3m hits decisive stage








The battle for the P1.3 million bounty will touch a critical stage this weekend as the Mascom Top 8 finalists will be decided at the ceremonial home of local football, the National Stadium.

Township Rollers will fancy their chances after a 2-2 draw away to Jwaneng Galaxy on Sunday, while Gaborone United (GU) have to overcome a 1-0 deficit suffered at the hands of Orapa United  at the Itekeng Stadium. But the race is too close to call, in both semi finals, providing a perfect platform for fans to enjoy 360 minutes (or more) of pulsating football spread over two nights.

Rollers and Galaxy will be the first to drag each to the National Stadium turf for a fight that starts at 8.30pm, evenly poised. Popa have a slight advantage due to the two away goals, but that can be wiped off, if the visitors score early.

Patrick Kaunda poked home late in the second half on Sunday, to ensure the tie heads to Gaborone delicately balanced.

The direction of the tie will be dictated pretty early if either side scores, but it is likely to remain a tight affair, giving reason for a good crowd.

Galaxy will pin their hopes on Gilbert Baruti who was a handful for Rollers. At the same time, the diamond miners will keep their fingers crossed that Thero Setsile will return to form after a miserable outing on Sunday.

Veteran striker, Terrence Mandaza, who came in as a second half substitute, looked a touch  heavy although he asked a few uneasy questions. The home side have Mosha ‘Fanta’ Gaolaolwe who has been in good form of late finding the net

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with regular ease.

Rollers have not been at their dominant best, but they still have sufficient quality within their ranks, including Segolame Boy and Maano Ditshupo, who diligently pulled the strings in the first leg.

The league champions will be deprived off the services of suspended Joel Mogorosi and Mthokozisi Msomi, who were part of an ugly brawl during the BTC Premiership match against TAFIC last week Tuesday.

However, Rollers coped well in their absence in the first leg, but that incisive touch in the box was missing. On Saturday, colourful GU coach, Rodolfo Zapata gets the perfect opportunity to reach his first final since arriving from Buenos Aires two seasons ago. Zapata’s side, at times play irresistible attacking football, with Dirang Moloi coming to the party. Upfront, all eyes would be on the man of the moment, Tumisang Orebonye who has been banging the goals.

But GU are up against a rejuvenated side, Orapa United who have signed well in January. Jerome ‘JJ’ Ramatlhakwana and Lesego Galenamotlhale add to an already star-studded side, but the two are cup-tied after representing their former sides, Rollers and Mochudi Centre Chiefs respectively in the previous rounds.

But there is still enough arsenal in Tapiwa Nyamanjiva, Thato Kebue, Tendai Nyumasi and the returning Onkabetse Makgantai, to gun down the Reds. Kick off is 8pm.

The fans’ dream final remains a GU, Rollers clash, but the diamond mining sides are more than ready to upset the applecart and spoil the simmering Gaborone party.

The winners of the Mascom Top 8 receive P1.3 million and there is the added incentive of representing the country at the CAF Confederations Cup.

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