FRANCISTOWN: Fresh from a miserable weekend, Township Rollers travel to Sowa Town tomorrow where they face high riding First Division North side Sua Flamingoes in an Orange FA cup last 16 encounter.
Popa were on the receiving end on Saturday when they lost to Orapa United in the Mascom Top 8 final. Based on their performance last week it would not be far fetched to assume that they would throw everything at the hosts in a bid to emerge victorious.
Until extra time on Saturday, Popa were dominant and created several opportunities. They were let down by poor officiating.
Their most notable plus is that they hold a very good record of not losing against minnows in the FA cup. Two weeks ago they humbled First Division side Tonota FC 5-0, in the last 32 of the competition.
Perhaps as a sign that Township Rollers intend to win the fixture at all costs the club’s coach Frank Nuttall and his technical team travelled to Sowa Town to watch Flamingoes’ league clash on Sunday.
This week, Rollers assistant coach, Zacharia Muzadzi outlined plans to beat Flamingoes. “Our game against Orapa is water under the bridge,” he said. He added that since Monday the technical team has been working on fine-tuning the mental strength of the players following their loss in the final. “The good thing is that all the players have been responding positively. They played well against Orapa. They did not deserve to lose which is why they are very optimistic that they will do well against Sua Flamingoes.”
“The technical team watched Sua on Sunday and gathered all the necessary information needed to prepare for the weekend match.”
Rollers would be without first choice goalkeeper, Kabelo Dambe, who has been ruled out of the match due to a groin injury sustained during the Mascom Top 8 final. Dambe sustained the injury late in the first half while clearing a ball that eventually led to a Township Rollers goal in the final.
“At the moment we are still waiting for communication from team doctors about
Second choice goalkeeper, Wagarre Dikago who replaced Dambe in the final, is expected to start. Defender Ofentse Nato is out of commission ahead of the match while Ivan Mbowa is serving suspension.
Flamingoes have shown effort and ambition this season and they might cause a serious upset. They lead the First Division North league and are on course to win automatic promotion to the elite division. Flamingoes coach, Rapelang Tsatsilebe yesterday promised they would go all out against their fancied opponents.
“Our target was to reach the last 16 of the competition and we have achieved that. Going beyond that will be a bonus. We will, however, not approach the match in a very casual manner. We will be competitive like in all our previous games. We are more than ready for Rollers.”
Tsatsilebe added that their main objective is to win promotion to the elite league.
Elsewhere, defending champions, Orapa United host Gaborone United (GU) at Itekeng Stadium in the headline fixture of the round. GU triumphed against Orapa United in the league two weeks ago.
However, this time around the match has extra-added importance to GU. It will not be about maintaining some positive momentum. A loss for the Money Machines presents the probability of finishing the season without silverware.
On the other hand, the Ostriches are chasing a domestic treble that has proven to be elusive in recent seasons. Fresh from winning the Mascom Top 8, Orapa are in contention to win the league and FA cup.In another match tonight, Notwane face BDF XI at Molepolole Sports complex.
Saturday: Mochudi Rovers vs Jwaneng Galaxy, Police XI vs Prisons XI
Sunday: Broadhurst United vs Mahalapye Highlanders, Calendar Stars vs Jwaneng Fighters.