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Teams talk tough ahead of Top 8 semis

KABELO BORANABI
Laying their hands: the four teams' representative with the prized possession PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
The stage has been perfectly set-up for what should be humdingers of the Mascom Top 8 semi final first leg clashes on Saturday and Sunday.

Township Rollers, BDF XI, Jwaneng Galaxy and Orapa United have previously won the Mascom trophy before and each side is looking to create history, by grabbing the new trophy, which carries an improved P1.4 million prize money.

Two-time champions, Township Rollers host BDF XI at the Royal Aria Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The fixture is a repeat of the 2013 final where Matebele emerged as victors.

The pair meets with Rollers in an imperious form while BDF are having a topsy-turvy campaign. Matebele have conceded four in their last game while Popa scored seven, the highest in this campaign.

BDF XI’s coach, Letang ‘Rasta’ Kgengwenyane is aware of the threats posed by his opponents but said the pressure would be on Rollers.

“It has been a while since we have gone to the final. The last time we went to the final and won the cup was in 2013. So the Rollers game is important to us, they remain the only obstacle between us and the final,” Kgengwenyane said at a press conference Wednesday.

“The truth is we will come in as underdogs. Our loss to Orapa reduced the pressure on us, the players looked relaxed and calm, we have healed. Popa are on a high, they expect to win after their last game, so the pressure is on them.”

His Rollers counterpart, Frank Nuttall is eager to continue the club’s winning history early on into his Rollers’ stay.

“It is an important competition for the club and fans. Like any other competition, we want to go all the way and win the cup. We are all aware of the history and success of Rollers and like any other big club they want to win every competition,” he said. “However, I do not regard this as any form of pressure. It is a challenge and you have to welcome the challenge to overcome the hurdle. I do not see it as any form

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of pressure, we will go out there and do our best.” 

The Blues will miss Segolame Boy, Maano Ditshupo and Simisane Mathumo due to injuries while new Ghanaian striker, Francis Afriye is available for selection after receiving his work permit. Kgengwenyane on the other hand will miss left back, Othusitse Mpharitlhe who is out with a long-term injury.  

On Sunday afternoon, defending champions Galaxy welcome United at the Galaxy Stadium. A showdown that will remind the fans of the 2018 final and is expected to produce fireworks as both sides are having a splendid season. United have lost their last two encounters against their ‘mining brothers’ and are ought for revenge this Sunday.

“We want to win the final but the journey starts with the semis, which I believe is the most difficult stage. We face a side with a strong technical team and very good players. It is always going to be a difficult one to play the champions but we are up for the fight. We lost two of the last three games against Galaxy. I believe we should not struggle against them since we are on level footing. This Sunday we will be out there to get our revenge,” United’s assistant coach, Gadimang Tiiso said.

Galaxy’s Miguel da Costa said title defence is important and said the team is ready for the United challenge.

“We do not want more than we did the last time, we want the same. The ambitions are the same. Last year we had our journey, now we have started a new one with a new mentality. We just need to be better for results to come. We are not under pressure, we are not in a panic, we just want to go out there and win the tournament,” the Galaxy coach said.

Kick off for both games is at 3:45pm with the cheapest ticket costing P30 while the grand stands cost P50.



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