Three seasons ago, this meeting would have been dismissed as a mismatch. It was difficult to fathom a top of the table clash featuring Township Rollers but at the other end, missing their regular sparring partners, Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
But Chiefs have spectacularly spurn out of the radar, for the moment at least, allowing a modest yet venomous Orapa United to emerge as Rollers’ new bete noire.
Chiefs had, for the past six seasons, been the traditional and fitting foe for Rollers, with the two sides monopolising the league titles since 2009.
But a seismic shift has allowed Orapa United to emphatically gate crush the party, and remove Chiefs from the festivities.
As second placed Rollers face the undefeated log leaders at 8pm tonight, Chiefs will be distant memory, playing BDF XI in an encounter reduced to a secondary matter on the same evening in Molepolole.
Chiefs are way down the ladder, leaving the Rollers-Orapa clash to assume a significant meaning in this season’s title race.
Orapa are two points ahead of a Rollers side that has failed to consistently hit top gear for a team that possesses arguably the finest collection of football talent in the land.
But the Gaborone giants began the post Mark Harrison era brightly, swatting aside a battling but troubled Gilport Lions 3-1.
Terrence Mandaza has been in and
Under Harrison, Rollers appeared to tinker with the line-up quite often, with match winners, Maano Ditshupo, Mandaza, Tshepo Motlhabankwe, at times forced to be content with a spot on the bench.
On paper, Rollers appear to carry sufficient arsenal to sweep the Ostriches off their mighty legs.
But Rollers have at times been in sixes and sevens for a squad of prime quality.
They are vulnerable at crucial times, which might pave way for a quick thinking Orapa to plunge the knife.
Newly appointed coach, Mogomotsi ‘Teenage’ Mpote is relishing holding the country’s ‘most wanted’ club job after succeeding Harrison.
He is acutely aware of the importance of a win tonight, as defeat would send Orapa five points clear at the top.
“Our preparations are going on well. Our only injury concern is Bogosi Keakwe, otherwise we are fine. Orapa is a good side and we have no option but to attack. If we lose we will find ourselves five points behind.”