Black Forest will make their Mascom Top 8 debut by facing Township Rollers in the first leg of the quarterfinals at the Molepolole Sports Complex at 8pm tonight.
Forest were forced to anxiously wait to make their first appearance after the match was rescheduled from last Saturday to this evening.This was due to Zebras’ travel difficulties following their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mauritania.
Rollers had four players in the national team setup and the game was postponed as per FIFA regulations.The two sides meet just a week after Black Friday, and Forest present themselves as a team sold at a cut-rate price.
Magoleng have thus far failed to replicate last season’s form that saw the rookies qualifying for the competition for the first time. With just two wins from 13 games played this season, the Mmankgodi-based side is the exact opposite of their counterparts who have lost just once this season. Forest parted ways with coach, Murphy Maseko last week and are winless in the last six games.
However, Magoleng have a good record of impressing on their debut as they blunted Rollers’ most fancied attack in a 2-2 draw in October 2016 in what was their first elite league football game.The team will be pinning their hopes on former Rollers’ midfielder, Mogomotsi Kerebotswe to lead them from the dark phase this evening.
The skipper, who is one of the few players remaining after the June transfer window overhaul, is an influential figure in the squad.
He has started all the team’s games thus far
On the other side, Popa will enter the encounter with a CAF Champions League trip to Lesotho, on the back of their minds.
The Blues have also not been very impressive after failing to win their two games, which ended in a loss and draw in both the league and the CAF Champions League.
However, the defending champions have not lost a Mascom Top tie since March 2016 when they were knocked out in the semi finals by Orapa United.
The Blues will be under the tutelage of Thabo Motang as Rodolfo Zapata still watches from the stands as he awaits his work permit.
A technical change has seen Rollers’ goals dry up. The team has never scored more than a goal since their 2-1 win over Prisons XI in a league encounter back in October.
Joel Mogorosi will hope to increase his goal tally from eight. The 34-year-old’s strike partner, Tumisang Orebonye scored four goals in the first six games, but has faced an eight game drought.
The first three Mascom Top 8 quarterfinal matches produced just four goals with two coming from the spot. Jwaneng Galaxy are the only side to have won at home and score from open play while BDF XI and Gaborone United won away.