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Gaborone divided

KABELO BORANABI
Calm before the storm: Rollers coach, Nuttall (left) and GU's Moloi will come face-to-face on Sunday PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The capital city will be split on Sunday as rivals Gaborone United (GU) and Township Rollers clash in the battle for Gaborone spoils at the National Stadium.

The rivalry between the two giants dates back to the 1970s as reputation for both clubs soared on and off the field. The two sides boast 22 league titles between them.

There has been admiration for the each other over years, but Blue and Red have always split the city into two. The Sunday game promises to produce the best of the rivalry, as both sides still have a realistic chance of landing the money-less title. Popa are top of the standings and seven points ahead of Moyagoleele who sit fifth with 11 games remaining. The Blues have a chance to extend their lead while The Reds can reduce the deficit to just four points ahead of the final 10-game lap.

GU’s coach Pontsho Moloi has, however, shot down title ambitions but stated the importance of a derby win for his side.

“It is not in our hands, we are outsiders on this one. So we will do what we have to do on Sunday and try to win the game, that’s what we always do whenever we play, try to win,” he said.

“Even if we win on Sunday and we are four points behind, it would still not be in our hands. As GU we would like to be there and win the league, but at the moment it is not in our hands.”  Rollers’ coach, Frank Nuttall respects the magnitude of the game, but said the aim was to stay atop.

“We would like to be there and give our best and try to get the results. It is a derby of course, a game of history. The atmosphere is going to be great, so

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it is our duty to try bring a result in that kind of atmosphere, for the fans, we know how much it means for them,” Nuttall said on Wednesday after a press briefing.

“We have been preparing well, we have been going on with our business, regardless if the game is a derby or not, we just want to get results and stay where we are at the moment, hopefully remain there until the end of the season.”

GU are unbeaten in three league games, without conceding while Rollers lost once in five league games. Popa will miss midfielders, Ivan Mbowa and Mothusi Cooper, while Segolame Boy is in contention for a starting place after a long-term injury. 

The Reds on the other hand, welcome back Thatayaone Kgamanyane to the team. It has always been an even tie between the two sides, but Popa dominated the fixture in 2018 registering a double over GU. The Reds will hope to achieve the same feat after an emphatic 3-0 over their rivals in December.  Rollers’ last derby win was in November 2018.

Meanwhile, in other games, this evening bottom placed Miscellaneous play fellow strugglers, TAFIC at the Serowe Sports Complex.

Notwane take on second placed Orapa United at the Molepolole Sports Complex. On Saturday afternoon, Morupule Wanderers and Jwaneng Galaxy meet at the Selebi-Phikwe Stadium.

The Serowe Sports Complex will host a clash between Mahalapye Railway Highlanders and Police XI. Prisons XI meet Molepolole City Stars at the Otse Stadium while title chasing Security Systems take on Extension Gunners in an evening kickoff at the National Stadium. Afternoon games kickoff at 3.30pm while the evening matches start at 7pm.



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