With so much uncertainty over the prize money for this year’s BTC Premiership, the Mascom Top 8 presents football’s richest purse, as Township Rollers and Orapa United prepare to tango at the Itani Obed Chilume Stadium tomorrow.
The Top 8 tournament has made significant strides towards claiming the country’s most prestigious local football competition.
The two giants, Rollers and United battle each other tomorrow not only targeting records and pride but also looking to cash in as the league struggles to make assurances on the prize money.
With the number of spectators continuously dwindling for other sporting competitions, the Mascom Top 8, probably because of its format and fierce competition, has managed to maintain the zeal.
This year’s final once again promises fireworks on the field as well as a full house on the stands.
The winner for this edition takes home P1.4 million following an increase of P100,000 at the beginning of the season.
Rollers would look for their third success in the competition while Orapa United’s win will put them in the same league as Jwaneng Galaxy, Gaborone United (GU) and Rollers who have each won it twice. Rollers hold the most appearances in the final (six) with Orapa United second with four appearances, GU are third with three appearances while BDF XI and Galaxy appeared two times.
Francistown City Greens (formerly ECCO City Greens) together with Rollers, were the first finalists when the tournament kicked off in 2011.
David Bright remains the only local coach to have clinched the Mascom Top 8 title with GU in its second season. Mogomotsi Mpote would join him if he succeeds against Franck Nuttall.
Only Mike Sithole has managed to win it twice as a coach, but with different teams.
He first did it in 2012 with Rollers and again in 2017 with Jwaneng Galaxy. Interestingly, no team has managed to defend the title.
Both Orapa United and Rollers have been blowing hot and cold this season although Orapa go into the match
Prize money breakdown
Semi finalists- P315,000
First round losers- P180,000
MASCOM TOP 8 FACTS AND FIGURES
League position: 1st
Top 8 record: Champions (2015/2016)
Last season's record: Semifinalist
Current Form: L W W L W
League position: 2nd
Cup record: Champions (2011/2012, 2017/2018)
Last season's record: Semifinalist
Current Form: L W W W L
ROAD TO THE FINAL
Quarterfinals first leg
City Stars 0-3 Rollers
Orapa 1-1 Systems
Quarterfinals second leg
Rollers 2-0 City Stars
Systems 1-2 Orapa
Semifinals first leg
Rollers 3-1 BDF XI
Galaxy 1-1 Orapa
Semifinals second leg
Orapa 1-0 Galaxy
BDF 1-0 Rollers
PREVIOUS EIGHT FINALS
2011/12: Rollers 3-1 ECCO City Greens
2012/13: G/United 2-1 BDF XI
2013/14: BDF XI 1-1 (aet; 5-4 penalties) Rollers
2014/15: G/United 2-1 Rollers
2015/16: Orapa 3-1 (aet) Rollers
2016/17: Galaxy 4-3 (aet) Orapa United
2017/18: Rollers 4-2 Orapa United
2018/19: Galaxy 2-0 Gaborone United
PREVIOUS WINNING COACHES
2011-12: Rollers Mike Sithole (Zambia)
2012-13: GU David Bright (Botswana)
2013-14: BDF XI Elijah Chikwanda (Zambia)
2014-15: GU Rahman Gumbo (Zimbabwe)
2015-16: Orapa Madinda Ndlovu (Zimbabwe)
2016-17: Galaxy Mike Sithole (Zambia)
2017-18: Rollers Nikola Kavazovic (Serbia)
2018/19: Galaxy Miguel da Costa (Portugal)
PREVIOUS TOP GOAL SCORERS
2011/12: Mogakolodi Ngele (Township Rollers): 6 goals
2012/13: Ronald Chikomo and Tebogo Sembowa (Gaborone United), Lemponye Tshireletso (BDF XI): 4 goals each
2013/14: Jerome Louis (Township Rollers): 5 goals
2014/15: Benson Shilongo (G United): 5 goals
2015/16: Maano Ditshupo (Township Rollers) and Ronald Chikomo (Orapa): 4 goals each
2016/17: Kumbee Rogers Katjiteo (BDF XI) & Tendai Nyumasi (Orapa United): 4 goals each
2017/18: Obonwe Maome (G United): 5 goals
2018/19: Thero Setsile, Tebogo Sembowa (both Jwaneng Galaxy) & Kamohelo Matsabu (Township Rollers): 2 goals each