By Tuesday, four Premier League sides will be out of this season’s Mascom Top 8 with the second leg encounters of the quarterfinals kicking off tonight. Staff Writer, BOITUMELO KHUTSAFALO previews the potentially explosive encounters
Extension Gunners vs Orapa United (National Stadium)
A tight contest is on the cards with the two sides tied at 1-1. Both teams are making their maiden appearances in the knockout competition this season. Gunners would hope their away goal works for them, but Orapa United have proved once again this season that they are a force to reckon with. Gunners will go into this game after a week in which their players failed to report for training over unpaid salaries. It was not the first time it had happened this season. Now coach Daniel Nare faces a difficult task of trying to motivate his soldiers ahead of the game.
Key Players: Both sides without doubt have interesting and highly skilled players in their squads. Gunners will look to Tshegofatso Chimuku to try and unlock the Ostriches’ defence. Chimuku with his pace and skill has been an outstanding performer despite Gunners’ losing streak. He won the man of the match award in the first leg. Orapa United, on the other hand, will rely on the pace and skill of Lemogang Maswena. Maswena has settled in well at Orapa since joining the team from Notwane this season. Ronald Chikomo is also proving that he still has the legs to carry him through after being released by Gaborone United last season.
Gaborone United vs BDF XI (Molepolole)
Defending champions, GU have a difficult task ahead of them against stubborn BDF XI having lost 1-0 in the first leg. Patrick Kaunda’s solitary strike was enough to hand Matebele a home victory. GU now have a difficult task of trying to come back and win without conceding a goal, having failed to score an away goal in the first leg.
Key players: Kaunda has proved to be one of the lethal foreign strikers to have graced Botswana football. Another defensive lapse tomorrow could see GU getting punished once again. GU have been boosted by the return of skillful winger, Mpho Kgaswane, who has been sidelined with injury. He however played in the first leg, but was closely monitored by BDF XI full backs, Pelontle Lerole and Othusitse Mpharitlhe.
Police XI vs Rollers (Molepolole)
Police XI have made it clear they have nothing to lose in this game and are likely to take the game to Township Rollers. They have met twice already in less than a month with Rollers winning both times. They meet again this Sunday in what is likely to be an interesting game. Tapiwa Gadibolae and Bobby Mathe who both missed the league encounter will be back for Police XI following an agreement reached between the two clubs. Gadibolae was on the score sheet when they lost 4-2 in the first leg.
Key Players: Rollers’ midfielder, Segolame Boy will once again lead Rollers attacks. Another player who has been an unsung hero for Rollers in their unbeaten run has been Tshepo Motlhabankwe. The former Zebras defender is in good shape this season and has been a key figure for his team. Police XI will also rely on the leadership of Betsho Pius who scored a stunning goal in the first leg. They will be without Kawashu Makai who is serving a suspension.
Chiefs vs Gilport Lions (Molepolole)
As things stand, Chiefs hold the advantage since any stalemate below a 2-2 score line will be enough to send them through. They managed to get two away goals in Serowe in the first leg although they let Gilport come back. The Kgatleng giants have never reached the final of this competition. Lions have proved to be a difficult opponent in recent weeks despite a slow start to the season.
Key Players: Lions are pinning their hopes on the towering striker, Tendai Nyamadzawo to put at least one past Chiefs once again on Monday in Molepolole. Chiefs will not only have Nyamadzawo to deal with but also their former players, Kenamile Mani and Sekgabo Molebatsi.
However, Magosi also have exciting players including Zimbabwean midfielder, Tendai Nyumasi, who is capable of single handedly carrying the team with his shoulders. Dirang Moloi also seems to be slowly returning to form if his performance against BDF XI in the league game is anything to go by.