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Mascom Top 8: The contestants: The orange corner

CHAKALISA DUBE
Versatile: Ndunga has been instrumental in Orapa's run PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
While Rollers will occupy the blue corner, Orapa United are familiar faces at the orange end. The Ostriches have already claimed the scalp of Rollers in the 2016 final, and pose an even greater threat this time around, as Staff Writer, CHAKALISA DUBE previews the Oranges

Player to watch

Lawrence Nduga is arguably the in form player for United in the tournament. Nduga has scored two vital goals in both legs of the Mascom Top 8 semi-final clashes against Jwaneng Galaxy. He is a strong attacking player, capable of capitalising on pockets. He packs a strong shot, and can play as both an attacking and defensive midfielder.

The coach

Since taking over nearly three years ago, Teenage Mpote has turned United’s fortunes around. He has transformed the team into a side that does not only prefer to soak up the pressure, but also strikes when opponents are not aware.  Mpote favours a high pressing game, attacking style of football. He even applied the system while with the national team.

Although it is relatively hard to give a hint of United’s possible lineup it is not farfetched to expect a very aggressive attack and an organised defence, something that has taken them to the final.

The return of defender, Thabang Mosige has also allowed the team to build from the back. Mpote could tactically triumph against Rollers as Popa have often struggled with opponents who use a quick-pressing system. Early this week Mpote made it clear that his side will play a very attacking game on Saturday. “I also expect Rollers to play a very attacking game. They are good

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going forward as much as we are. It will be a very interesting game,” he said. “We have been working very hard during the week. Winning the cup means everything to the club. Winning the cup will ultimately mean that we have qualified for the CAF confederations cup where we will have an opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the continent,” he added.  Winning the final will also be one way of saying ‘thank you’ to the club’s loyal supporters, according to Mpote.

Strengths and weaknesses

The only doubt about Orapa is whether they are well equipped to deal with Rollers physical defenders. With the exception of Kebatho most of United strikers have often struggled with defenders who mainly rely on their physical strength. The other main challenge for Orapa is that they have experienced a dip in form of late. They have lost two of their three games, leading to the final. Even Mpote recently admitted that his team needs ‘a reality check’ ahead of the weekend clash.  Mpote goes into the match with a full strength squad. Only Onkemetse Powe has a knock, but it is anticipated that he will be available on Saturday.

Probable line-up

Lesenya Malapela, Mothusi Johnson, Thabang Mosige, Mooketsi Hlabano, Mpho Kgaswane, Tapiwa Nyamanjiiva, Lawrence Nduga, Onkemetse Powe, Allen Ndodole

Mbatshi Elias , Gofaone Mbaya



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