FRANCISTOWN: Township Rollers coach Rodolfo Zapata believes that he has endeared himself to the club’s supporters after a string of good results in the past few weeks.
A month ago, some Rollers supporters wanted the Argentine mentor out of the team. That was after Rollers were eliminated from the Mascom Top 8. At the time some supporters felt that Popa were not that convincing in the league.
There were also reports that the team’s senior players did not embrace Zapata’s coaching philosophy and wanted him out.
However, the Argentine believes the players have now grasped his philosophy, which is why some supporters are now backing him.
Zapata even received a standing ovation from supporters after watching his side totally dismantle BDF XI at the Francistown Sports Complex on Saturday with Rollers romping to a 3-0 victory. At one point during the match, Rollers exchanged 24 passes without any interruption from their opponents.
“Rollers supporters want to win. I understood their frustrations when the team was not doing well. I also want to win. The players have now grasped my philosophy and the team is now doing well. We are playing a very entertaining game, which is why a majority of our supporters are now fully backing the team. I am impressed with the support they have been giving me and the team of late,” Zapata said.
“It is now easy for everyone to see that the team is on the right track,” said the former Gaborone United coach.
A well-taken header from defender Ofentse Nato gave Rollers the lead in the 34th minute.
Nato had connected with a well-taken cross from left-winger Galabwe Moyana. Attacking midfielder, Segolame Boy could have given Popa the lead on two occasions prior to Nato’s opener. His free kicks, taken in quick succession, hit the post.
Moyana doubled the lead for Rollers
BDF XI was poorly positioned to deal with what appeared to be an innocent shot that found the top right.
BDF XI were very lively in the first 25 minutes and forward Moathodi Ralesotla had a few chances to give them the lead. He was twice denied by Rollers goalie, Keagile Kgosipula from close range before he sent his other shot wide. Rollers would then take total control of the remaining minutes.
In the second half Popa continued to dominate possession with most moves orchestrated by Boy and Mothusi Cooper, who was recalled into the team after serving a one match suspension.
Rollers got their third 10 minutes from the break when Mogorosi cleverly looped the ball over an advancing BDF XI goalie, Tumisang Mashakola. Boy set up Mogorosi with a neat pass from the middle.
Matebele never looked like a side that could get back into the match although they did exchange a few neat passes.
Rollers have now amassed 64 points, in the league a point ahead Galaxy. Rollers only need a single victory in their last two matches to clinch the league for the third time in a row. Galaxy is only left with a single game against BR Highlanders.
BDF XI: Michael James, (Mashakola) Onkgolotse Tsimako, Onthusitse Mpharitlhe, Kennedy Taukobong, Onkabetse Seforo, Onkgolotse Motlhabankwe, Keeagile Kobe, Pelontle Lerole, Ralesota, Abi Ramodiane, Phenyo Serameng
Rollers: Kgosipula, Motsholetsi Sikele, Mosha Gaolaolwe, Nato, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Maano Ditshupo, Cooper, Moyana, Mogorosi, Boy, Tumisang Orebonye