FRANCISTOWN: Township Rollers proved why they are considered the powerhouse of local football by producing a very dominant performance against Orapa United in the Mascom Top 8 final over the weekend at the Francistown Sports Complex.
Popa won the tie 4-2 to cement their record as the most successful football club in the country.
It was sweet revenge for Township Rollers who watched in agony as the Ostriches walked away with the cup two seasons ago in a pulsating encounter that was also played at the Francistown Sports Complex. Then United beat Rollers by 3-1 in what was their maiden final.
An electrifying atmosphere from the spectators complemented the exciting weekend clash.
Popa, who recalled most of their key players rested in a midweek league clash against BDF XI, were stronger than the Ostriches in all departments for the entire match.
Rollers found themselves in the lead in the 10th-minute. Lemponye Tshireletso beat an advancing United goalie, Mosimanegape Robert with a low shot that found the bottom left corner. Tshireletso had received a neat defence splitting pass from the man of the match, Maano Ditshupo.
The ‘Blues’ as Rollers are also affectionately known were two goals clear in the 20th-minute. Robert failed to deal with what appeared to be a less threatening header from Edwin Moalosi. The ball eventually went into the net.
Chances were not plenty in the first half for the Ostriches, but they could have at least found the back of the net once.
In the 26th-minute attacking midfielder, Tendai Nyumasi had an opportunity to pull one back for United, but he sent his shot inches over the bar with the goalkeeper, Keogile Kgosipula the only man to beat.
Just past the half-hour mark Tshireletso combined well with Moalosi but the latter failed to connect with the ball and fell down.
Moalosi dislocated his elbow in the process and he was eventually replaced. Moalosi was the speedy winger who was very influential until his injury was rushed
United striker, Omaatla Kebatho missed another notable opportunity to reduce the deficit two minutes before the end of the first half. He shot straight at Rollers goalie Kgosipula.
That was after Kgosipula had mistakenly given the ball to former ECCO City Greens marksman.
Just before the referee blew his whistle for the break, Segolame Boy had his goal-bound shot a goal cleared by defender, Thabang Mosige after the former had dribbled past Robert.
The Ostriches showed much improvement when going forward in the second half and enjoyed better possession in some instances although Rollers maintained their dominance.
United suffered another heartbreak again in the 58th-minute when substitute Bogosi Mfila who replaced Moalosi banged in the third. His goal was almost identical with that of Tshireletso. A sublime Ditshupo turned the provider again.
In the 65th-minute another substitute Kaone Vanderwesthuizen took the match beyond reach for United with a neat flying header after connecting well with Boy’s free kick.
Kebatho pulled one back for United in the 71st-minute when he raced to tap Gift Moyo’s shot home.
United’s woes worsened with 10 minutes left to play when Ronald Chikomo was shown a straight red for a rough tackle on Kgosipula. Chikomo had just been introduced into the match.
Two minutes later Moyo found the back of the net with a diving header after he received a cross from the left.
United’s two late goals could not set up a frantic finish as Rollers dominated the final proceedings of the match.
Rollers together with Gaborone United are now the most successful teams in the Mascom Top 8 competition. Both sides have won the competition twice.
Township Rollers won the inaugural Mascom Top 8 Cup in 2012 after beating ECCO City Greens in the final.