On a cheerful Monday evening at the Molepolole Sports Complex, the Mascom Top 8 draw gave the football fans what they hoped against as it paired city rivals, Township Rollers and Gaborone United (GU) against each other.
The ‘final before final’ means one of the tournament’s two most successful teams would miss out on a chance to lift it for a historic third time.
The Blues and the Reds have four titles between them in the seven seasons of the prestigious tournament. GU became the first to win it twice in 2015 before Rollers matched the feat last season. Ahead of this season’s edition of the competition, both Rollers and GU set their eyes on a third Mascom Top 8 title. However, one of the football giants will miss out due to the ‘unkind’ draw.
Popa have reached the final more than any other side, with five appearances in seven seasons while Moyagoleele have been more clinical, reaching the final twice, and winning on both occasions. Popa reached the semifinals after cruising past tournament debutants, Black Forest 4-0 on aggregate in the quarterfinals. Popa found their scoring boots in the second leg of the two-legged tie after being forced to fight for a 1-0 in the first leg. In the return leg Mapalastina hammered their opponents 3-0, courtesy of goals from Kamogelo Matsabu, Galabgwe Moyana and Tumisang Orebonye. On the other hand, Moyagoleele
Obonye Maome’s goal from the spot in the away leg was the difference as the teams played to a goalless draw in the second leg played at the Molepolole Sports Complex on Monday evening. However, the ‘final before final’ presents a golden opportunity for both Jwaneng Galaxy and BDF XI who meet in the other semifinal. The two teams have won the cup once each and have an equal chance to record their second successes. Galaxy won the cup in their first attempt in 2017 while Matebele won it in 2014 in a final where they beat Rollers after a penalty shootout. Matebele had been unlucky in the previous edition when they went down 2-1 to GU in the final.
This season, Galaxy reached the semifinals beating another tournament debutant, Sharps Shooting Stars 3-0 on aggregate while like GU, BDF XI benefited from first leg goal from the spot by Moatlhodi Ralesotla as they advanced on a 1-0 win over 2016 champions, Orapa United.
Previous Top 8 winners
2011/12: Township Rollers
2012/13: Gaborone United
2013/14: BDF XI
2014/15: Gaborone United
2015/16: Orapa United
2016/17: Jwaneng Galaxy
2017/18: Township Rollers