The biblical story of David vs Goliath will come to life in the dusty Chobe Primary grounds in Kasane when Township Rollers take on Kazungula Fighters in the quarterfinals of the Orange FA Cup.
The Saturday afternoon fixture has pitted sides with contrasting tales this season. The ‘Zulu Boys’ have just qualified for the First Division North promotion play-offs after winning the Chobe region Division One league while Popa are chasing their fourth consecutive and 16th elite league title.
Administratively and financially, the two clubs are miles apart, but they find themselves at the same level in the FA Cup.
Fighters are the surprise package in the quarterfinals, as they remain the only third tier team, which means they have played more games than any other team in the last eight.
The Kazungula-based side knocked out White Diamonds 7-6 after a penalty shootout in the first round before edging out Calendar Stars 2-1 in the second round. The Zulu Boys were given their biggest task in the round of 16, but emerged victorious over 2002 champions, TAFIC, winning 2-1.
The side has rather been shy in front of goal with just four in three games, but proved to be solid at the back. The team’s backbone has been their 22-year-old goalkeeper, Mike Masule.
The youngster has conceded just two goals in open play and played a crucial role in the penalty shootout win over Diamond and the defeat of TAFIC.
Their biggest task is the tournament’s most successful side tomorrow afternoon in their fortress, where they are yet to lose a game in the competition. In preparation for the clash to be played on hard ground, Popa have opted for a return to their traditional Mma Masire training ground at Gaborone West instead of the Tlokweng training ground. Rodolfo Zapata’s troops want to get used to a hard pitch, ahead of their 900km trip to Kazungula. Rollers have had a good run in the cup as they edged out Santa Greens 3-0 in the second round before knocking out Extension Gunners with a controversial 1-0 win.
The Blues are the only team yet to concede in the tournament and have scored four goals in the competition.
The team will welcome back vice captain, Joel Mogorosi who missed their last league encounter due to suspension.
Mogorosi has proven to be the key man at the Blues with 17 goals in all competitions this season. Ahead of the game, the Chobe grounds have been given a major facelift to accommodate the high profile fixture as the hosts will be looking to upset the six-time champions.
Last week, Kazungula coach, Ishmael Chuma warned Rollers against undermining his team. And Zapata is aware of the threat that the minnows pose.
“We this week moved training to Mma Masire ground to adapt to Kazungula pitch. At Rollers, every game is important because everyone wants to beat us. As their name indicates, they are fighters and it will be a very tough game.” In other games, Orapa United and Security Systems will aim to reach the semifinals of the competition for the first time when they meet at the Itekeng Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon.
The Galaxy Stadium will host a double header, starting with the Jwaneng Fighters and Police XI clash before Jwaneng Galaxy take on BDF XI in a late kick-off.