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First of four bruising battles starts

FRANCISTOWN: The invincible Ostriches resume the first of their seasonĺs four encounters against defending champions Township Rollers with a BTC Premiership top of the table clash billed for the National Stadium this evening. Kick off is at 8pm.

The two teams will meet twice in the league before two other encounters in the semi-final of the Mascom Top 8 cup.

Orapa United are the only club yet to taste defeat in the Premiership with seven wins and six draws after 13 games and they sit at the summit of the log with 27 points, two points better than tonight’s opponents.

The duo met seven times since the Ostriches were promoted to the elite league back in 2013/14 season and Rollers won three times, lost twice and drew twice.

The Ostriches will look to avenge the 2-0 loss in their last fixture against Popa, but it is the latter that is after a measure of revenge after bitterly losing last season’s Mascom Top 8 cup final 3-1 to the Ostriches. Both clubs come into this fixture buoyed by wins in their last encounters.

Rollers beat unsettled Gilport Lions 3-1, while United beat bottom-placed Green Lovers 2-1. Since joining the top flight the Ostriches have matured like wine and today, stand as an established powerhouse.

The Orapa side has done good business in the off-season with the acquisition of Tendai Nyumasi, Zebron Njobvu and Omaatla Kebatho amongst others. The new arsenal has reawakened sleeping combinations, a former Notwane partnership of

Njobvu and Lemogang Maswena has been re-ignited in Orapa and so is the former dreaded ECCO City Greens Tendai Nyumasi and Patrick Lenyeletse combination. The quad has formed a relentless attacking conglomerate that has proven a thorn for many defences and the Blues’ back four will have to be awake to these attacking combinations.

Picking a passage through the Orange’s back four is also going to be an onerous task for the Blues.

The Ostriches’ defence has formed an unremitting force that has let in the least of goals by far despite having missed their number one goalkeeper Mosimanegape Robert since November due to an ankle injury.

Nonetheless, Robert has returned and the whole squad is available for selection save for Kemmy Pilato who is serving suspension after picking a red card in their past game against Green Lovers.

The team’s assistant coach, Zacharia Mudzadzi said they have prepared well and are ready for Rollers. “There has been talks about a number of times we are meeting (Rollers) this season but we remain focused on the game at hand,” he said. “The players have responded well after the festive break and they are working hard, it is one game at a time for us as usual.”


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